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August 18, 2020

Thelma ‘Shirley’ Grinyer

Nurse, Australian Army Medical Women’s Service

“Most of our patients were servicemen, and they were the best patients you could find”

 

Shirley was an apprentice bookbinder at Waite and Bull and Norman Grinyer was a printer at Penfolds when their romance began. Shirley and Norman became engaged, but then World War II broke out and Norman enlisted.

Norman Grinyer joined the 7th Australian Division Cavalry Regiment and began his war service in tanks in the Middle Eastern desert. When the Japanese threatened, his division returned to Australia for retraining as infantry.

“Norman had seven days’ leave,” said Shirley. “He called me and said to arrange a wedding for the Saturday. I went shopping in my lunch hour to find a wedding dress. Things were scarce, but there were two available and the first one fit.”

Norman and Shirley Grinyer were married on the Saturday, but there was no honeymoon. Norman’s division was sent to the Atherton Tablelands for jungle training. Shirley briefly joined the other new wives “camp chasing” in Queensland before returning to Sydney to enlist.

“We had no idea when our husbands would come back,” said Shirley. “We had to organise our own lives.”

Shirley joined the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service and was posted to Concord Hospital as an assistant nurse. “Four assistants would work with one nurse. There was a great camaraderie at Concord.”

For the full article Click Here.

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