96730 Aircraftwoman Norma Joan FRASER
Norma was born at Unley on 20 February 1924, the third child of Norman Symon Albert FRASER and Lisette Dorothy FRASER (nee Brookes). In 1934 the family moved from Hamley Bridge and took up new farming land in the Waitpinga area. She attended school in Victor Harbor and attained her Intermediate Certificate and studied four Leaving subjects before commencing work at General Motors-Holden, Woodville as a Schedule Control Clerk on the munitions production line.
Norma enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) on 22 June 1942 at the age of 18, having previously registered with the Women’s Voluntary National Register. She underwent her basic training at No 4 Initial Training School (ITS) at Mt Breckan, Victor Harbor where she was mustered as a trainee radio operator to attend a six-week course at No 1 Radio School at Richmond, Victoria. On completion of her training, Norma was given a five-month posting to Headquarters, Southern Area, Melbourne.
On 30 April 1943, Norma was re-mustered to Radio Direction Finding (RDF) station duties, as a radar operator, initially at Dolans Bay, NSW for six months and then at Swansea, NSW for 15 months. Norma was then posted to No 3 Air Observer School (AOS) at Port Pirie as one of a number WAAAF’s stationed there. The girls were paid two-thirds the rate of pay of their male counterparts. They worked hard, often under trying conditions and in doing so, made a valuable contribution to the war effort.
In early 1945, after having served almost three years as a WAAAF, Norma applied to be discharged to resume a civil occupation at Parkwynd Private Hospital, Adelaide as a trainee nurse. The application was approved and she was demobilised on 14 March 1945. She married John Ayers SKINNER (SX25787 Sapper J.A. SKINNER, 2/14 Field Company, enlisted 12 Aug 1942, demob 23 Apr 1946) in May 1946 and continued her nursing career; there were three children of the marriage. Norma lives in retirement in Adelaide.
Service file of 96730 Norma Joan FRASER purchased from the National Archives of Australia ( www.naa.gov.au ), made possible by a grant from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Correspondence with Mrs N.J. SKINNER (nee FRASER), June 2011.
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team, July 2011.