Serving our Country

My fifth unit with the Diploma of Family History was Writing a Family Saga.  A continuation and expansion on my first unit – Writing Family History.  Each of the six weeks we were to write a 250 word story of a certain theme and this time include a reflective statement about our piece.  Week 1 was History Repeating. 

Serving our Country

As a result of my newly formed addiction to researching my family history in 2009, I discovered I was not a ‘trail blazer’ but just one of many descendants to serve their country!

After reading pages and pages of digitised service records, I came across one that filled my heart with joy.  My aunt and god mother, Chrissie, had like me, joined the Navy. I had no idea of our shared career choice, as due to a divorce from my uncle and a move interstate; I didn’t see her very often while growing up.

I was completely unaware at the time, that when I arrived at HMAS Cerberus in 1989 aged 19, I was walking the same hallowed ground as Chrissie had when she enlisted in the Women’s RAN Service in 1967 also aged 19.   Amazingly we also worked at the same place in Darwin some 31 years apart.

Like so many women, we both gave up our careers for love. After only two years of service, Chrissie chose to leave following her marriage in 1969. After eight years of service and following the birth of my first child in 1997, I also chose to give up permanent service.  Unlike Chrissie, I was lucky enough that I was able to transfer to the Navy Reserves, which I am still a member of today.

I feel no sadness that I am not the ‘trail blazer’ I thought I was.  I am delighted to know that instead, I have many kindred spirits!

Reflective Statement

As the only females in our direct family line to have served, I chose to focus this narrative on my aunt and myself rather than our many male counterparts. Although we have not seen combat, our story deserves to sit alongside that of the generations of our ancestors to have proudly served this great nation of ours.

Although it took me quite some time to decide on a topic once I put ‘pen to paper’ it flowed quite easily.


Service Card of Christine Eleanor Shingles, A6770, National Archives of Australia

Oral/Personal history


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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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