Initially established in 2021 as The WOFF-AF Creative Writing Award, The Corporal Margaret Clarke Award (The Award) aims to promote the development of air and space power analysis from within the enlisted aviator workforce. The objective of The Award is to encourage and inspire enlisted aviators to consume, contribute and contest contemporary air and space power issues; and to research, analyse and debate possibilities for air and space power beyond the future force.
CPL Margaret Clarke
CPL Margaret Clarke was a proud member of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) during WWII and continued to show her passion for the WAAAF well beyond her years of service. Margaret created a public Facebook page (WAAAF Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force in WWII) where she shared her own remarkable stories, photographs and personal experiences of her time in service and invited any WAAAF members or descendants to share their history as well.
Margaret Clarke was very excited in 1941 when she learned recruiting had begun for women to be part of the services. She grew up hearing of her father’s and uncle’s stories of why they were awarded bravery medals and developed a strong desire to contribute and “do something to help the war effort”. As soon as she turned 18 she put in an application to join the WAAAF. Although very proud, her father would not sign her enlistment papers so after pleading with her mother, Margaret was off to Rookies in August 1942. After graduating, she was posted to Nowra as a Clerk Stores where she remained for approximately twenty three months. During this time she participated in Equipment Training Course and was promoted to CPL. She then posted to Coolangatta, then to “some office in Brisbane” and eventually to Macrossan which would be her final posting.
Margaret recalls her time in service through many interesting stories she has published online through her Facebook page and other forums. Her words give great insight into the woman she was and shines a light on her sassy yet strong-minded, stubborn and humble personality. She writes in great detail of her memorable experiences from her time in service including stories of heart-break and loss and unforgettable experiences such as the pilots taking her for “flips” in aircraft. She describes her three years in the WAAAF as “difficult in lots of ways” but remembers her service life as a wonderful experience. Margaret’s son Steve says “despite being 98 years old when she died, she still retained all her faculties and her memory was phenomenal on most things. She was a humble person in herself but very proud of her family. She inculcated this mindset into me and I passed this on down to my four children. Whilst it is 4 months since she passed, I miss her greatly and sorely miss our banter with each other.”
CPL Margaret Clarke sadly passed away in June this year. By naming this award in her honour we endeavour to keep her memory and passions alive.
Terms and Conditions
The Document below contains the terms and conditions as well as the submission requirements for entries into the writing competition. Prior to finalising any submission you will be required to acknowledge that you have read, understood and accepted these terms and conditions.
Closing Time and Date:
2300hrs (11:00pm) AEDST 1 Feb 2023
Stuck for a topic?
Why not use Air and Space Power in a Box for some inspiration.