Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ken Moses - possessions from the Army

Among my father's papers relating to his war service I found a number of artefacts including two leather identity discs threaded on a leather thong.
The soldiers wore the identity discs for identification purposes in case of injury or death. If required the round, often red disc, was kept with the belongings of the soldier while the octagonal, often green disc, was kept with the body. Each disc was imprinted with the soldier's number, surname, initials, religion and unit.
There was a collection of photographs relating to the places where Dad served or went during leave breaks in the Middle East but there was also a small negative album measuring 12 cm x 9 cm.
The album contains a series of transparent pockets holding negatives each measuring 6.5 x 4 cm. A subject index at the back of the album provides information for some of the negatives. I suspect that it is not complete. Some of the sleeves have one negative and holding the page up to the light provides an indication  of the image. Many of the sleeves hold multiple negatives and some are empty - they may have been mixed up when images were being sought for the book, White over green. Dad also kept leave passes, a bus ticket from Cairo, folded concert programs and tickets in the pockets of the wallet.
One of the next projects will be to scan the negatives and try to identify where they were taken.
There is also a brown leather, stitched, wallet measuring 22.5 x 15 cm when closed. An army badge is attached to the top right corner with the words Australian Commonwealth Military Force. A leather strap with press stud closes the wallet.
Inside the wallet, on the left, there is a large pocket on one side for documents. There are two pockets for holding cards or small items and also a pocket which would have had a clear plastic window, possibly to hold an identity card. In the centre there is a small pocket and stitched piece of leather to hold a pen. On the right of the wallet a strip of leather is stitched in place to secure a document or map.
After the war my father kept a number of Army related documents in the wallet including his final medical certificate declaring that he was unfit for service and letter of discharge, copies of telegrams sent to his mother when he arrived back in Australia, a letter re his pension in 1943 and Manly Life Saving Club card.
Other documents important to Ken were kept in the wallet including a passport and international certificate of vaccination, letters of sympathy from when his father died, the invitation to his brother's wedding, the receipt for the hotel where my parents stayed after their marriage, documents relating to the purchase of their house and letter of appreciation from Victorian Branch of the Australian Journalists' Association for years of service on that committee.There were also two articles about criticism he made of the condition of the training track for the Empire Games in Auckland in 1950 plus a cartoon relating to a series of weight loss articles he had written.
The other important item relating to Dad's war service that I own is the book, White over green. This history of the 2/4th Battalion was published in 1963. Dad wrote some of the chapters in the book and was a co-editor. White over green has been a major source for the blog posts that I wrote about my father's experiences during the Second World War. It provides a first-hand account of the life the men experienced when they served in the 2/4th Battalion as well as a record of of the war service of this battalion.

Additional information about the wallet can be found in the following post.


  1. Does anyone know if the wallets were issued or they had to be purchased???


    1. Jeannette, I have just added a new post that provides some additional information about the wallet - http://exploringmilitaryhistory.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/in-december-2014-i-wrote-post-about.html