Sgt Margaret Gutteridge (Mott)
In 1945, as the War was drawing to a close, it was apparent that specialised Hospital Units and Personnel were needed to be sent to the Islands to treat the steady flow of wounded coming from theatres of war and Prisoner of War Camps.
Margaret joined the AAMWS in 1944 as a laboratory assistant, and when she attained the age of 21 years in 1945, she applied for Active Service and joined the 2/5 AGH. And on the 17 March, aboard S.S.John Hope, set sail for the island of Morotai.
Morotai, a small island in the Celebes, with the hospital on the southern end of the island, while at the same time the Imperial Japanese Forces held the northern end of the island. A distance of about twenty miles. It was estimated that over one thousand troops were treated during the period.
On the 2 nd of November 1945, Margaret was one of twenty eight AANS and AAMWS taken off the island in a Liberator bomber, bound for Melbourne. The aircraft was diverted overnight to Darwin to refuel.
Next morning the Liberator, now with a number of additional RAAF personnel joining the 2/5 AGH staff, crashed on take-off. Miraculously everyone escaped injury, jumping to the ground and racing across the red sand to the fringes of the airstrip as the plane blew up and burnt to the ground.
Subsequently, Margaret spent 2 years in Japan with BCOF and was discharged on the 18 January 1949, and returned to her Scientific Studies, attaining a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Melbourne
She married Murray Mott in 1956, and thereafter lived overseas for approximately 25 years - in London, Scotland, Ireland and the USA, gaining a Ph.D at the University of Edinburgh in Genetics, the same year her first son was born. “My most productive year”! A second son was born in London.
The family returned to Australia and Margaret continued her scientific career at CSIRO Sydney.
Now Murray and Margaret live on the Central Coast of NSW, with both sons married to American girls, and living in the USA.
These photos and story was compiled by Margaret and her husband Murray, with their permission to copy and reproduce this information on the 2/5 AGH Memorabilia Disk and the Unit Website