Lorna Phyllis CANNARD

CANNARD, Lorna Phyllis

Service Number: 94101
Enlisted: 2 January 1942
Last Rank: Aircraftwoman
Last Unit: 3 Embarkation Depot (Sandgate)
Born: Broken Hill, New South Wales, 28 January 1919
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Broken Hill North Catholic School
Occupation: Aircraftwoman
Died: Natural causes, Brisbane, Queensland, 1 March 2015, aged 96 years
Cemetery: Pinnaroo Lawn Cemetery & Crematorium, Brisbane
2D-6-266, Portion 2D/Row 6/Grave 266
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World War 2 Service

2 Jan 1942: Enlisted 94101, Brisbane, Queensland
2 Jan 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftwoman, 94101
3 Jan 1942: Involvement 94101, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force
2 Apr 1944: Discharged Aircraftwoman, 94101, 3 Embarkation Depot (Sandgate)

My grandmother

In January 1942, Lorna was called up to join the Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force (WAAAF) and went to Geelong for rookie training. She was then posted to 3 Embarkation Depot at Sandgate with the rank of Aircraftwoman, and was one of the first eleven WAAAFs in Queensland.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

EULOGY - Lorna Shute​​ - 06 March 2015

Lorna Shute (nee Gale, formerly Cannard)

Lorna Phyllis Gale was born 28 January 1919 in Broken Hill NSW, the eldest daughter to Martin and Sarah Gale. The family lived in Lane Street, Broken Hill and Martin worked in the mines. Lorna started school when she was five years old, attending the Broken Hill North Catholic School run by the Sisters of Mercy. Lorna liked school, she learned the violin, and always did well in her school work.

By 1931 there were six children in the family, Lorna, Jimmy, Laureen, Harry, Marjorie and Iris. Martin received notice that they had won a ballot to take up a block of farming land in Queensland, and Martin and Jimmy set out for Queensland in a Rugby van. Having sold up the shop, house and all their furniture, Sarah and the other five children travelled by train from Broken Hill to Sydney, and then onto Monto in Queensland. They took only their clothes in a big timber box. Lorna remembers that going to Queensland was very exciting - a great adventure. Martin met them at the Monto train station and took them to their new home at Runaroo, a farm measuring three miles square. It was part of Rawbelle Station which had originally been one hundred square miles and had since been divided up into smaller parcels of land. The Cannard family had also won land in the ballot.

At the same time as the Gale family arrived at Runaroo, the Cannard family lost their mother Elsie who died at 31 years of age, leaving behind four children, Fred, Elsie, Jean and Ernie who was only two years old. The Gale family lived in tents for the first 12-18 months and then Martin built their home, a four room tin shack. It had a wooden floor in the bedroom, with the remaining floors of dirt. The shack had a corrugated iron roof, bark walls, push out windows with hessian curtains, and a tank for rainwater. Sarah cooked in a camp oven over an open fire and used potato yeast to bake the bread.

From the ages of twelve to sixteen, Lorna remembers hard work. She and her brother Jimmy would help Martin with milking the cows, building fences and ringbarking. Sometimes they did not see town for six months at a time. Food consisted of flour, sugar, tea and some other groceries sent out from Monto once a month, and potatoes, carrots and lettuce from the vegetable garden. All the children were fit and healthy with no major illnesses reported. Two more children arrived, Robert and June Patricia. Lorna did not have the opportunity to further her education once the family came to Queensland. Eventually, she did a dressmaking course by correspondence and started sewing for the family on an old sewing machine.

In 1936 the Gale family moved to Linnet Street Rockhampton. These were the Depression years, and Martin got relief work for the whole week because the family was so large, and Lorna did dressmaking to supplement the family income (six shillings to sew a dress).

Lorna had always wanted to be a nurse, and went to see the matron of the Rockhampton General Hospital about starting her nursing training when she turned eighteen. When she returned home from the hospital, her mother told her she was pregnant again and could not do without Lorna’s help at home, so she would not be able to go nursing. Edward George (Ted) was born in Rockhampton 1936. Although Lorna loved her youngest brother dearly, she never let him forget it for the next 80 or so years!!

Since the Gale and Cannard families knew each other from when they had lived on Rawbelle Station, Fred kept in contact with the Gale family. He would call into Rockhampton to visit when on holidays from where he was working on a property at Aramac, and later when he was cane-cutting at El Arish in North Queensland.

When war was declared on 3 September 1939, Fred was working his second season of cane cutting in El Arish and it was here he enlisted in the Australian Army. He called into Rockhampton on final leave before going overseas to the war, and Lorna and Fred got engaged. As they did not know how long Fred would be overseas, they decided to get married straight away so on 19 March 1940 they were married at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton. After only six days of married life, Fred had to leave to make final preparations, and on 20 May 1940, he left Australia on the “Queen Mary” bound for England.

For the duration of the time that Fred was overseas, Lorna and Fred wrote hundreds of letters to each other (which the family still has today). Fred’s 2/12th Battalion was sent to Egypt and onto Tobruk. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and Australia was threatened, the course of the war changed. Fred would soon be heading home to Australia.

Meanwhile, in January 1942, Lorna was called up to join the Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force (WAAAF) and went to Geelong for rookie training. She was then posted to 3 Embarkation Depot at Sandgate with the rank of Aircraftwoman, and was one of the first eleven WAAAFs in Queensland.

In March 1942, Fred returned to Australia. Lorna remembers that he was able to organise a few hours leave to come and see her at Sandgate, the first time they had seen each other in over two years. Fred then completed jungle training at what is now called Canungra, and was sent to Milne Bay, New Guinea where one of the fiercest battles of the pacific war took place.

On New Year’s Day 1943, Fred was wounded at Buna in New Guinea and returned to Redbank Hospital near Brisbane for convalescence. Fred expected that when he recovered, he would rejoin his unit and return to New Guinea, but he sustained several severe bouts of malaria over the ensuing months and this prevented his being sent away again.

Early in 1944, Lorna fell pregnant. She was discharged from the WAAAF in April and moved into a small flat at New Farm where she prepared for the birth of twin sons, Allan and Ray. In the time since they were married, both Fred and Lorna had been diligently saving for a home of their own. In 1945 they moved into their first home at Fifth Avenue, Bardon. By 1952, three more children had arrived, Leslie, Dalene and Sharon.

In 1956, the family moved to Rockbourne Terrace, Paddington. Lorna had always sewed for the family, first for herself and her brothers and sisters, and then for her children. In the mid-1960s, Lorna took a job as a seamstress at Curtainmakers where she worked as one of the senior staff for several years.

In 1972, Lorna and Fred took the trip of a life time and went on a six month holiday sailing around the world on the ship the Himalaya. They brought back many wonderful memories. In early 1974, Fred suffered a heart attack. He took a few months leave from work to convalesce, but while still recuperating he suffered a fatal stroke. He died 26 March 1974 doing what he loved best – playing lawn bowls. Lorna continued working at Curtainmakers, but the house at Rockbourne Terrace was too large for her to maintain on her own, so in September 1975, she bought a smaller home at The Gap.

Lorna then decided to retire from work, and as more and more grandchildren arrived, she was in demand for babysitting. She also had the time to indulge in her passion for overseas travel. She took trips to New Zealand, Canada, USA, several Asian countries and some cruises to the Pacific Islands. She also travelled extensively in Australia.

In 1985, Lorna’s sister Laureen and her husband Tom invited her to go with them to the Birdsville Races. Also travelling with them was Neil Shute who was visiting Brisbane from his home in Melbourne where he had been living on his own since being widowed several years before. Lorna and Neil returned from the weekend as a couple. Neil moved to Brisbane permanently and in September 1987 they were married here at St Mary Magdalene’s Church. Lorna was 68 years old.

As Lorna and Neil both loved travelling, they bought a caravan and set off around Australia for several holidays. Over the years there continued many other trips to places such as Longreach where Neil was born, Perth, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Broken Hill and an annual trip to Melbourne to visit Neil’s son and daughter and grandchildren. They both enjoyed the caravanning life and had many happy times. Lorna had always loved country music and in these years she added to her considerable music collection of her favorite artists such as Slim Dusty and John Williamson.

Lorna had always wanted to live by the sea, so in 1997 they bought a unit at Redcliffe only one block from the water. They lived there for about three years enjoying the sea air, until health problems overtook them and they decided to move back to Kedron to Delamore Retirement Community. They settled into retirement life but Neil was not in good health and in December 2004, the day after the family Christmas Party, he died of a heart attack. Lorna continued to live at Delamore until January 2009 when she moved to St Pauls Villa at Rainworth, back to the Bardon area where she and Fred bought their first home over 60 years ago. - Leisa Higgins

[Lorna SHUTE], Lorna Phyllis (nee-Gale), Formerly-Cannard, SHUTE; Buried with Former Husband: Frederick Charles Cannard.