Enlisted Monday 14 December 1942 (9 am)
DOROTHY JEAN GARDINER 809 397 NZ. WAAC. CLERICAL DIVISION 2 NZEF M.E.F & U.K. 1941
Called up in the first 20 year old ballot, and was required to attend an interview etc at the Drill Hall Rutland Street, Auckland City. I was told that I would be required for War work of some kind - e.g. Hospital for the elderly, Jam factory etc etc, and would be advised.
I had heard that the NZ Army was recruiting females for service (the W.A.A.F. - Air Force was already established). On my way down Queen Street from the above interview at Rutland Street, I saw the Recruiting Office (it was in Queen Street, opposite Wyndham Street, where the Farmers buses left from). I went in, and up the stairs and enlisted.
Eventually, on 2 September 1942 I was required to report to the Drill Hall Rutland Street - this time for selection and medical examination.
On 9th September 1942, a large number of girls, who had been accepted, were assembled again at the Drill Hall, and over the next two hours or so, we were marched up and down the Parade Ground, and instructed on how to salute. During this time, the names of several of us were read out, and we were withdrawn. I was sent immediately to "Q" Branch (Army) at the COMBINED HQ (Navy, Army, & Air Force) at Epsom - (the Auckland Teachers Training College), as a clerk.
I lived at home, and commuted daily from my home in St Heliers Bay - by bus to the city, and by tram to Mt. Eden.
Initially we were issued with one men's Army Great Coat (small) and one Forage Cap, and 1 pair of shoes (brown lace-up). Over the following months we were issued with one Dress Uniform, shirts and tie, also the wide brimmed "sombrero" type felt hat, and Khaki stockings (toheroas). Sometime in 1943/44 the Teachers Training College Buildings were handed back to the Education Department, and then as ARMY DISTRICT HQ we were moved into a 3-4 storied building in Quay Street. By this time I had been promoted to Sergeant.
1944 - October A notice came to us of a "preliminary survey of WAAC personnel prepared to go overseas". I put my name forward.
The following six months we lived from week to week waiting for advice from Wellington - WAAC HQ - Would we get o'seas or not - items regularly appeared in the newspapers concerning the end of the war. Not til March 1945 did the advice come, and we were trained to Wellington and on the 14th March 1945 entered Miramar Camp.
We were in Army Huts - 4 in each - Messed in the Rec Hut - marvellous meals.
Most girls who had stripes were demoted.
We spent hours on many days at the Winter Show buildings being fitted for Drill Dress uniforms and other issues:- smocks, tin helmets, water bottles, leather gloves, 2 NZEF hat badges, shoulder flashes, identity discs, etc. We had daily route marches round Evans Bay and the surrounding hills often in gale conditions. (Final leave home 25 March 1945-6 April 1945).
More vaccinations and injections, and made our wills. Lectures on Security (careless talk). Another oath of allegiance. Church parades. Several inspections by Mrs Jewett O.C. WAAC. and Brig Conway.
Day before embarking Lady Newall (G.G. wife) came to camp to address us. Very gracious, charming lady - took time to speak to most of us individually, and left us with 2 C.S. Lewis books on "Christian Behaviour" etc.
Embarkation Day - 20 April 1945 " Empress of Scotland" Cabin 144 A Deck 10 in each cabin (Troops on board - 155 officers and 3391 other ranks). Departure was not 'til next day 0500 hrs - Wellington wharf crowded with well wishers - -flags flying - coloured banners everywhere - whistling and cheering from ship and shore - & Army band booming out "Roll out the Barrel", the Empress slowly moved out into the channel, and down harbour to Sommes Island. A huge Maori guy was standing on the railing near me, and I was able to push in, between his kauri-like legs, to wave my farewells to New Zealand. (From an account supplied to the Armoury by Dorothy Gardiner, February 1999). They sailed 21st April 1945.
In the above account Private Gardiner refers to the 'preliminary survey' of WAAC personal. This notice stated that they were looking for "shorthand typists, typists and clerks". They had to supply their "date of birth, date of mobilisation and experience (Civilian and Army)" by Thursday, 2 November (1944). Those eligible for overseas service had to be "Medical Grade 1 and Aged 23 (approx) to 35 years (incl.)".
Discharged 17 September 1946 (Certificate of Discharge No. 3647)
After the war did mostly office work - Burroughs (book keeping machines and calculators), and also later did a hairdressing course through rehabilitation
Cenotaph record initially prepared with the servicewoman in 1999 AWMM