ISA HICKS, A MEMBER OF THE
AUSTRALIAN WOMENS ARMY SERVICE (AWAS)
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 10 November 2007

 

Isa Marjorie Hicks (WF45933) enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) on 12 August 1942 at Claremont, West Perth in Western Australia and served in the Army Records Office in Perth for over three years as a shorthand/typist. As she and her friends lived at home, they brought their lunch to work each day. This earned the the nickname of the "Cut Lunch Commandos".


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Isa Hicks(WF45933) 

Two of Isa's friends and herself, who were Commonwealth stenographers appointed to the Dept. of Army, joined the AWAS together. At enlistment they requested to serve in "Signals" because they knew they were trained in Sydney. However, after three weeks rookie course, learning to march and peel potatoes, not to mention living so closely to other girls, they were put back into the very positions they had vacated as "civvies". They received less pay and had to wear a uniform. Isa did not regret her time in the AWAS as she learned of a different life and met people she would never have known in civilian life.

Isa was a member of the Women's Army hockey team for some time and then her office formed their own team and called it WALOCS. This was because at the time the office was known as WA Lines of Communication. As well as playing hockey in the civilian hockey competitions, they often played hockey on a Sunday against different men's Army camps, especially at Melville.

Whilst Isa joined under the surname of Hicks she married Gordon George Fellows (VX45773), a Victorian who was originally enlistment in the 2/3 Australian Light Anti Aircraft Regiment (2/3rd Lt. AA Regt.) and had returned from the Middle East after serving in the campaigns leading up to Tobruk, where he was wounded and evacuated after 3/4 months. Gordon Fellows was discharged from the Army on 12 August 1946.

Isa was promoted to the rank of A/Corporal on 22 February 1943. Her promotion to the rank of Corporal was confirmed on 22 May 1943. Isa applied to go to New Guinea in 1945 when AWAS were being recruited for service in these areas. Her husband was serving at Morotai at that time and was at the landing of Borneo. Isa was barred from going to New Guinea because she was married.

Corporal Isa Fellows was discharged from the AWAS on 9 November 1945.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 The earliest photo of AWAS from Army Records. Isa Hicks is the 4th in the front row.
Sitting  next to Isa is Rae Berry and the first girl in the front row, Thelma Charles
(nee
Linton) both joined the Army with Isa from civvies at Army Records.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Back row Phyl Hird. Front row Isa Fellows (nee Hicks), Joan Manners
(nee
Webster), Doreen Pyke (nee Sparrow) and Pat Connell.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 Isa's two sisters were in the WAAAF, Ethel Bennett
(nee Hicks), a Flight Rigger and
Grace Ridgwell (nee Hicks),
a Physical Training Instructor, with Isa Fellows in the centre.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Back row: Doreen Pyke and Joan Sykes (nee Scott) (deceased).
Front row: Jenny Anderson (deceased), Isa Fellows, Joan Manners (deceased).
Doreen and Isa have been friends since she came to work at Army Records and her
husband
and Isa's, together with their kids, have always been friends. They keep in touch
by phone
all the time and go away on holidays together. Doreen is a healthy 85 year old.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Isa Fellows and Phyl Hird. Phyl went to England for the Victory March.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 Isa Fellows and Vera Cowdrey, an old friend of
Isa's from civvies life who worked at
Army Headquarters.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 Isa Fellows in summer uniform (dress). They could either wear
this or long sleeves
without jacket and skirt during the summer.

Actually during the War Years, AWAS summer uniform was a dress in a drill material. Isa said that she "often worked in very hot Nissan huts, with no fans and of course no air conditioning, and of course there were those in the northern part of Australia, so our summer uniform had to be much cooler than the winter one." 

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 Taken in late 1943. The two girls sitting on the grass in the middle are
Thelma
Charles and Rae Berry, the two previously mentioned with whom
Isa Hicks joined AWAS. Isa Hicks
was on leave at the time of this photograph.

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Larger version of above photograph

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Doreen Pyke, Thelma Charles, Phyl Hird and Isa Fellows (nee Hicks).

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

Doreen Pyke and Isa Fellows (nee Hicks) in 1944

 


Photo:- Isa Fellows

 Waylocs Hockey Team. They wore the colours of
their colour patch. Dark red top and navy shorts.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thanks Isa Fellows (nee Hicks) for her assistance with this web page.

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 10 November 2007

This page last updated 10 November 2007