The trauma of war has silenced so many.
Stories, memories, moments never to be heard but imprisoned in the minds of those tortured by the past and now lost.
The Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee strives to preserve the memory of those who sacrificed so much for our country. The Mick Shelly Memorabilia Room at the Circular Head RSL holds moments of our history within its walls, but its latest donation is shrouded in mystery.
Judy Brooks is the daughter of World War II Prisoner of War Levic Baldock and last week donated a silk scarf and mysterious trinket of her father’s to the treasure trove of history.
“No one knows where it came from,” Judy said on Thursday, but suspects it is a pin made of material from an airplane wing.
Inscribed with the number 69 and Japanese scripture which reads ‘Australian Solider’ the donated pin is unlike anything RSL president Jason Chatwin and World War I Centenary Committee president Rod Wells have seen before.
The silk scarf is delicate and clearly aged, reading ‘Nippon Times: Unconditional Surrender by Japs completed at 20 minute ceremony. The End of the Long Road Back’.
The Nippon Times, also known as the Japan Times, was a newspaper independent of the Japanese government and established to allow Japanese to participate in international conversations in English. During World War II the newspaper caved to mounting pressure from the government to publish propaganda. It was known as the Nippon Times from 1943 to ’56 during a ban on English language in the World War II era.
Lev Baldock was born March 20, 1916, and served with the Australian Imperial Force from June 24, 1940 to February 7, 1946. He spent 121 days of active service in Australia and a further 1402 days overseas, where he was captured as a Prisoner of War in Java, Indonesia almost immediately.
“He did tell us some horrible things,” Judy said.
But for the most part, these were memories Judy recognised her father would rather forget.
“As soon as they landed, he was taken prisoner.
“I know he weighed only four-and-a-half stone when he came home,” equivalent to 28.5 kilograms.
The Centenary Committee knows of 17 Circular Head locals who were Prisoners of War during World War II.
Of donating the items to the RSL, Judy said she believes it’s where they belong.
“It’s through donations like this that other people can see the historical significance,” Jason said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before, who knows what this is. But it’s important to preserve it.”
Perhaps one day, we might find out.
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service can be reached for confidential support 24 hours a day on 1800 011 046.
Judy Brooks, daughter of World War II Prisoner of War Levic Baldock, with Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee president Rod Wells and RSL president Jason Chatwin last week donated wartime trinkets of her father’s to the RSL’s Mick Shelly Memorabilia Room.