A Time to Reflect on Remembrance Day

on the Friday, November 2, 2018

For Mercy Place Lathlain resident Ivy Ballentine, Remembrance Day holds particular significance. The 99-year-old immediately joined the army during World War II, after she received news that her childhood sweetheart had been killed on HMAS Sydney. The warship was sunk in battle on 19 November 1941 off the coast of Western Australia, in what remains the most terrible loss ever suffered by the Royal Australian Navy.

Ivy undertook her training at Northam Army Camp in 1942. She then went on to work at Monument Hill in Fremantle on anti-aircraft assignments, plotting where enemy planes were flying, and passing on the coordinates to gunners for targeting.

In her early 20s, Ivy met her future husband, George, at the ANZAC Club on St George’s Terrace. The couple married soon after, however, heartbreak struck again when George was posted overseas and became a prisoner of war. Ivy did not see George for four and a half years, and when he returned home he was a very unwell man.

“Both Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day hold a special place in mum’s heart,” says Ivy’s daughter Margaret Grant.

“As well as being in the army, mum worked in a repatriation hospital for veterans, and volunteered for the Red Cross for more than 40 years. The Second World War had a major impact on her life and 11 November is certainly a day for her to remember and reflect.”

Mercy Place Lathlain Service Manager Surabh Nair said Remembrance Day is a significant day for the many Mercy Health residents whose loved ones, family members and friends served their country, as well as those who have childhood memories of what life was like during the war years.

“Our Mercy Place Lathlain community will mark Remembrance Day by commemorating the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service of our country during war,” he said. “We will always remember them.”    

Residents at Mercy Place Lathlain will commemorate Remembrance Day with a small service at the home on Sunday 11 November.

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