Yvonne Ethel Rentoul was born on 15 Nov 1908. She served in the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II, and was awarded the War Service medal and the Australian Service Medal. Her service number was 350085.
In Townsville the establishment of the RAAF Headquarters, North-Eastern Area, created an urgent need for teleprinter operators and general clerks. Around 20 airwomen were posted to the base between October 1941 and February 1942. Section Officer Yvonne Rentoul was posted to Townsville as Officer-in-Charge of WAAAF in early 1942. She was responsible for the establishment of WAAAF Barracks at St Anne's School (its pupils had been evacuated inland) and also the administration of the WAAAF in Townsville. She oversaw the conduct and well-being of hundreds of airwomen among the thousands of servicemen, many of whom had recently returned from forward areas (AWM: S461/17/9). She had to deal with tensions between Australian and American servicemen and between service personnel and the civilian population.
In April 1942, Rentoul conducted a course for WAAAF recruits from Townsville, aiming primarily to provide twelve drivers for senior American officers. One of the main problems she encountered was the casual way American officers related to their drivers. It was difficult for her to maintain high standards of dress, behaviour and morale. By then Rentoul was responsible for 100-200 women, most of whom worked 24-hour shifts. She was also confronted with cases of dengue fever with only a temporary sick bay, no sick-quarter attendant, plague numbers of tropical cockroaches and shortages of uniforms and clothing. She also had no legal disciplinary code or conditions of service on which to base her administration of the WAAAF, and no specification of her duties (Rentoul, taped interview, 6 December 1984).
Rentoul was discharged at the RAAF Headquarters on 2 Dec 1945.
Thomson, J.A. (1992). 'The WAAAF in Wartime Australia', pp.151-152.
Taped Interview with Rentoul, 6 Dec. 1984.