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Former Air Force Member Marks 100 Years in Style

Former Air Force Member Marks 100 Years in Style

Former Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) member Ethel McIndoe received plenty of congratulations from high places yesterday as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

As well as a letter from Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark recognising her service, Miss McIndoe received a number of cards, including from the Queen, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

A celebration for the significant birthday was held at Epsom’s Aria Park rest home in Auckland, attended by Miss McIndoe’s friends, family and rest home staff.

Three RNZAF personnel, Flight Lieutenant Andrew August, Warrant Officer Martin Elford and Sergeant Portia Havill, also attended the party, to deliver the letter from Air Vice-Marshal Clark and a large bunch of flowers to Miss McIndoe.

Miss McIndoe was delighted to see the uniformed personnel and said they brought back fond memories of her time in the RNZAF.

She was a member of the WAAF during the Second World War, based in Auckland working in the radar environment (Group 528), and was discharged in early 1946. She then reenlisted in 1954 and served three years as a radar plotter, attaining the rank of Sergeant.

Warrant Officer Elford read Air Vice-Marshal Clark’s letter, which acknowledged Miss McIndoe’s “exceptional milestone” and recognised her service.

“You served at a crucial time in the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s history … and laid a foundation for our service people,” the letter read.

Miss McIndoe said it was lovely to receive the letter.

Joining Miss McIndoe at the event was fellow WAAF and good friend Moire (Bobby) Colwill.

Sergeant Havill said it was inspirational to see the friends still so close after such a long time.

“It’s very special to be a part of this big day, especially seeing such an enduring friendship between Ethel and Bobby,” Sergeant Havill said.

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