On 26 January 1997, June Stone was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to veterans particularly through the Council of Ex-Servicewomen's Associations (New South Wales) and the Royal Australian Air Force Association State Council. She had previously been appointed to the Order of the British Empire (Civil) (BEM) on 12 June 1976.
In October 2002 June Stone became a member of the working group for the "Australian Women in War Project."
After completion of a Commercial Course at Sydney Technical College, June Garside worked as a secretary at an assurance company. She enjoyed going to dances, hiking with a social group at the weekend and going to the movies. This was at a time when the couple would dress formally and the male always had a box of Old Gold or Winning Post chocolates and sometimes a small corsage for the female. Then war came and the girls who were just as loyal and patriotic as the boys, did what their boyfriends were doing – they joined up.
On 29 September 1941 June, aged 19 years, joined the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) as a Clerk General and was posted to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Station Bankstown to join the first WAAAF Recruit Course in New South Wales. She served at RAAF Bankstown and Sydney (underground) at 1 Fighter Sector Headquarters, later known as 101 Fighter Control Unit, in Operations Room and for a short time was attached to Headquarters Southern Area, United States Air Force in Australia: was posted to 6 RAAF Postal Unit, Townsville, in October 1944 as Orderly Room Sergeant and to RAAF Canberra in April 1946 to serve as Confidential Secretary to Rear-Admiral Leighton Bracegirdle, Official Secretary to His Royal Highness the Governor-General, The Duke of Gloucester, until discharge in October 1946.
June married Flight Sergeant Harold Paul Clancy, RAAF Wireless Operator Air Gunner, on 12 October 1942 and was widowed on 21 July 1943 when he was killed in an aircraft crash at Habbaniya, Iraq whilst attached to the RAF. On 21 May 1949 she married William (Bill) Stone, a World War II RAAF Radiographer and the couple had a son, Robert. In her spare time June enjoyed reading mystery stories, good music and travel.
In 1946 June joined the RAAF Association, New South Wales Division, and as a member of the WAAAF Branch held the offices of President, Honorary Secretary and Committee Member from 1960-1992. She was elected to RAAFA State Council in 1960 and held the office of State Vice-President from 1971-1999, received the honour of Life Membership in 1972 and was further honoured by being appointed a Life Vice-President of the NSW Division in 1999. She was Co-ordinator of the Air Force Contingent in Sydney's ANZAC Day March for many years.
From 1973 June served as a National Councillor representing the New South Wales Division on the National Council, RAAF Association.
From 1974 she was the RAAF Association's Delegate to the Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council, a crest veterans' body with a membership of 35 national organisations.
June Stone was the Foundation Chairman at the Council of Ex-Servicewomen's Associations (NSW)'s Inaugural Meeting on 20 January 1975 and continued as Chairman. The Council works promoting the interests of members of the World War II Women's Services (WAAAF, WRANS, AWAS and AAMWS) within Australia's Defence Forces and makes joint submissions on their behalf to Governments. Also it disseminates information to state and interstate ex-servicewomen's organisations on matters affecting female veterans of World War II. It raised money and built 12 self-contained units at the RSL Veterans' Retirement Villages, Narrabeen, for ageing and disadvantaged members of the WAAAF, WRANS, AWAS and AAMWS, in the absence of access to Defence Service Homes Loans and other support. Money was raised for plaques and the erection of a memorial in Jessie Street Gardens, Loftus Street, Sydney, to commemorate the service of the women of New South Wales in the World War II Defence Forces. The Chairman planted a Memorial Tree, a mint leafed peppermint, at the western side of the main building of the Australian War Memorial on 12 December 1991.
Over many years, through the Council, June Stone worked to have eligibility for Defence Service Homes Benefits extended to all members of the World War II WAAAF, WRANS, AWAS and AAMWS irrespective of where they served, as did a number of ex-servicewomen's organisations. In 1993, by lodging a representative complaint under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as an individual woman against the Department of Veteran's Affairs, and with the support of Mrs Val Buswell OAM, a fellow WAAAF, the matter was fully debated at a conciliation meeting on 29 June 1994. The Government announced changes to the legislation in the 1995 Budget to take effect from July 1995 extending full eligibility to all members of the four World War II Women's Services. The complaint was settled!!
In 1995 the incumbent Minister for Veterans' Affairs, The Hon Con Sciacca MP, appointed June to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans' Issues (MACOVI) and she was invited, as the representative of Australia's World War II Australian servicewomen, to join the Committee of the DVA Australia Remembers Task Force organising the National Day for World War II Australian female veterans held at Parliament House, Canberra, on 25 July 1995. She has been a member of a number of other Committees set up by DVA National and State Offices. June was also a member of the Advisory Group for the planning, erection and launching of the Australian Servicewomen's Memorial in the Statuary Gardens at the Australian War Memorial on 29 March 1999.
A particular honour for June was being invited by the Council of the Australian War Memorial to represent the World War II servicewomen as their Official Mourner and to take part in the Funeral Procession at the Entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial on 11 November 1993, a never to be forgotten experience.
As a RAAF Association delegate June was involved in the activities of the World Veterans Federation (WVF) from 1975. She travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. She attended General Assemblies every three years from 1976, and attended associated meetings of Standing Committees. She was Honorary Secretary of the WVF Australian Members Committee and from 1979 to 1997 was General Rapporteur of the Standing Committee for Asia and the Pacific. In November 1997 at Seoul, South Korea, she was elected Vice-President of the WVF and re-elected Vice-President for a further three years in Paris in December 2000. June Stone was the first female to be elected to the Executive Board of the WVF since the Federation was formed in 1950.
The WVF is an international non-governmental organisation bringing together associations of those who have experienced the sufferings of war, fighting side by side or facing each other in combat and who want to contribute to the establishment of a more peaceful, just and free world. Member associations come from 84 countries and their membership covers over 30 million individuals, being war veterans, victims of war and former personnel of peacekeeping forces.
In 1997 June Stone was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to veterans and in 1976 the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for her work on behalf of ex-servicemen and women.
June believed that her sustained efforts for veterans over such a long period and any results achieved would not have been possible without the support, understanding and tolerance of her dearly loved husband, Bill Stone, who died on 24 March 2002.
The information for this entry was supplied by June Stone OAM, BEM
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