NOT many would have noticed it, but when World War 2 veteran, Olive Pugh, led the Ipswich ANZAC Day March this year she was not wearing any medals.
Olive had served in the Women’s Air Force Auxiliary as a secret code breaker signing on when she was just 18.
When she resigned in 1946, she thought she wasn’t eligible to get any service medals because she was working in a secret department and she hadn’t been posted overseas.
It wasn’t until this year that her daughter Robyn started to query why her mum didn’t have any medals. Ipswich RSL President, Paul Rogers, took up the case and discovered that Olive should have been assigned the medals 77 years ago.
“The Defence Honors and Rewards office said they would mint Olive’s three medals and they’d send them to her daughter, but it would take six months to do it,” he said.
RSL secretary, Debbie Wadwell, then took over and told Defence that Olive was 98 years of age and needed to be given her medals now.
They agreed and in three days the medals were sent and on Monday of this week they were pinned to Olive’s chest by RAAF Amberley Group Captain, Dennis Tan.
In a moving acceptance speech, Olive said she was honoured to receive the medals which brought back wonderful memories of her many friends in the WAAAF who had now all passed away.
Group Captain Tan said he had bestowed medals on many servicemen and women, but this time it was special.
“To stand here and present the medal to a veteran who served more than 78 years ago is very moving, I have never had the honour to present a World War 2 medal before, it is just amazing to finally hand Olive her medals.”