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Boye, Ruby (Olive) (1891 - 1990)

BEM

Born
1 July 1891
Died
14 September 1990
Occupation
Servicewoman

Summary

In recognition for her work as a coastwatcher during World War II Ruby Boye was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (Civil) on 25 July 1944. She also received the 1939-1945 Pacific Star and War Medal and was made a Life Member of the WRANS Association. In 1985 the Navy named Boye House, one of the accommodation blocks in the Joint Defence Force Academy at Duntroon, in her honour.

Details

Olive and her husband Skov Boye were living on Vanikoro, an island in the Santa Cruz group about 500 miles east of Guadalcanal, when Japan commenced the war in the Pacific. Unlike other white settlers the Boyes decided to stay on the island instead of evacuating to Australia.

Olive Boye decided to 'do her bit' and worked in the highly classified area of coastwatching. Coastwatchers were equipped with short-wave radios through which they maintained contact with headquarters. They reported either by voice or Morse code, all enemy troop and/or ship movements as well as organising native inhabitants to pass information to headquarters.

Under constant threat of capture, Olive Boye received an honorary commission in the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) which gave her enlisted status and protected her from the danger of being treated as a spy (if captured).

The Hon 3rd Officer Ruby Olive Boye was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (Civil) on 25 July 1944 for coastwatching in the islands during the war.

Sources used to compile this entry: Adam-Smith, Patsy, Australian women at war, Nelson, Melbourne, 1984, 386 pp; Fenton Huie, Shirley, Ships belles : the story of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service in war and peace 1941-1985, Watermark Press, Balmain, N.S.W., 2000, 341 pp.

Related entries

Related Organisations

Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office

  • Boye OR (Mrs), 1945, 40A; National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office. Details
  • Boye, Mrs RO (includes NID file 646/43/2), 1943 - 1984, B6161/1; National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office. Details

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Boye, Ruby Olive, 1943 - 1946, BOYE R O; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

Anne Heywood

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