Gwen Ryan presented with special medallion to honour WWII service

TATIARA VETERAN: Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin presented Gwen Ryan (née Thompson) with her medallion at a special presentation at the Bordertown RSL last month.

TATIARA VETERAN: Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin presented Gwen Ryan (née Thompson) with her medallion at a special presentation at the Bordertown RSL last month.

A previously unrecognised World War II veteran living in Bordertown has been honoured for her service.

Mrs Gwen Ryan, a private, served from 1944-46 at 2 Australian Base Ordinance Depot in Broadmeadows, Victoria, packing tents, camp beds and other essentials for dispatch to troops serving overseas.

It was only after a story appeared in the Border Chronicle about other surviving veterans being presented with a medallion and certificate commemorating the 75th anniversary of the war's end, that the Bordertown RSL became aware of Mrs Ryan's war record.

Mrs Ryan's youngest daughter, Karen Hunt, said she had approached the RSL through vice-president Tony Rout, to see if her mother qualified for a medal.

"Mum's never joined the RSL because she didn't serve overseas and did not think she qualified for membership," Mrs Hunt said.

"However, she did serve in the war, and once I had approached Tony and filled him in on mum's record, he put the wheels in motion and made this happen."

Mrs Ryan was presented with her medallion by Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin at a special ceremony attended by many of her extended family, including 10 of her 26 great-grandchildren.

Mr Pasin noted that there were only around 1000 veterans of the 1939-45 conflict surviving, with around 56 of those in the Barker electorate.

In addressing remarks to Mrs Ryan's great-grandchildren, Mr Pasin noted that her service was just as meaningful as those who served overseas.

"None of that work to defend our country could have happened without a team effort of equipping those who served in the field," Mr Pasin said.

He added that even though we have been through a tough year in 2020, it was nothing compared to what Mrs Ryan's generation went through during the war years.

Mrs Ryan said she was thrilled to receive her 75th anniversary medallion and certificate.

"I didn't expect this as I didn't serve overseas, but it's a lovely surprise and even better to be able to have the family here to be part of it," Mrs Ryan said.

Bordertown RSL branch president Ken McInerney said it the organisation was delighted to find out another WW2 veteran living within a few streets of the RSL Hall.

"It's an auspicious day today," he said.

"We thought we had honoured all the surviving World War II veterans in the area, but it seems we missed one, and today we got to fix that oversight."

While four Tatiara veterans have already been recognised for their service, there is still an opportunity for other veterans to to receive a medallion and certificate.

For more information on how to apply, contact Tony Pasin at: Tony.Pasin.MP@aph.gov.au or call: 08 8724 7730.

The Federal Government created the medallions last year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.