News

Shirley recognised

by
May 25, 2018

Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan presented Colin with the certificate at a ceremony held at Cooinda last week.

Benalla’s Colin Handcock, 97, has received a ‘‘Saluting Their Service’’ certificate on behalf of his wife Shirley, who served in World War II.

Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan presented Colin with the certificate at a ceremony held at Cooinda last week.

Mr Handcock and RSL Benalla Sub-Branch president Jeff Lewis had been working to have Shirley recognised for her two year’s services during the second world war.

Shirley, who died in November 2015, was officially recognised for her work in the senior role of Inspector for the Department of Aircraft and Production at Fisherman’s Bend during the conflict.

Mr Lewis said Mr Handcock had asked him more than two years ago if it would be possible to organise a Civilian Service Medal for Shirley’s contribution to the war.

‘‘It’s taken a combined effort between Colin, myself and Cathy McGowan’s electorate officer, Peter Kenyon, to finally give Shirley the recognition she deserves,’’ Mr Lewis said.

The Saluting Their Service certificate is signed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Veteran Affairs Minister Darren Chester and Ms McGowan.

At the presentation, Mr Handcock spoke about meeting his wife in Melbourne in 1938 and the important role Shirley undertook at the aircraft manufacturing factory in Fisherman’s Bend.

‘‘If the part didn’t have Shirley’s inspector stamp on it, it wasn’t used on the plane being constructed,’’ Mr Handcock said with pride.

‘‘This recognition has been a few years coming, but receiving it today means a lot to me and the family.

‘‘I’m certain Shirley would have felt very proud for recognition of a job she really enjoyed.’’

Cooinda’s quality and customer service manager Julie Folan said the ceremony was a special day for Colin and his family.

‘‘To have his fellow RSL members, family and familiar residents at the presentation meant a lot to him,’’ Ms Folan said.

‘‘The certificate has already taken pride of place in his room, where we’ll ensure it’s well cared for.’’

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