87-year-old Mercy Place Mandurah resident Peta Warren was taken on a trip down memory lane this week with the help of Mandurah’s Returned and Services League (RSL).
Derek Pickering, the RSL’s Memorabilia Officer, has taken on the project of updating Peta’s father’s military uniform which he wore as a serviceman in World War II, and which was recently donated to the RSL in Mandurah by Peta’s daughter, Wendy Sales.
Peta’s dad, Charlie Munyard, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in June 1940 and was sent to Darwin and then on to WA to protect its coastline from the Japanese, before being sent on to serve in New Guinea and the 2/7 Field Ambulance.
As a result of his service, Charlie was awarded several medals, including the 39/45 Star, the Pacific Star New Guinea, the Victory Medal 39/45 and the Defence Medal, as well as the Australian General Service Medal.
But over time, several of the medals were lost and it was discovered that Charlie’s uniform – which had been kept safe from the ravages of time by his family – had never been adorned with Charlie’s rightful military badges.
Now, thanks to Derek and Mandurah RSL’s medal specialist, the uniform has been updated. Several divisional signs and military badges have also been sewn on, which Charlie earned as a result of his years of service, as well as his lost medals replaced.
The updated uniform was presented to Peta this week, prompting her to reminisce about her father and the times she remembers him coming home wearing his military uniform.
“Once Derek started talking about Charlie’s army tunic, mum’s memories of her dad came flooding back,” says daughter Wendy Sales. “Plus after Derek undertook some more research, we discovered that Charlie had been made a corporal during December 1945, despite the war in the Pacific having ended, which was something that we had never known and we were delighted to discover.”
Mercy Place Mandurah Service Manager, Christina Venables, said the experience had been a wonderful one for Peta.
“Whether directly or indirectly, many of our residents have been affected by war,” Ms Venables says. “For Peta, being able to remember and recall details of her father after being shown his service uniform from over 80 years ago, has been a very special experience.”
Find out more about Mercy Health.