When former POWs from 2/4th MGB arrived home after the war ended, met with their long awaiting families, nearly all were hospitalised, some very ill, (Perth and interstate if travelling via another city). In time the Battalion was finally able to confirm those who had survived and those who had not.
Nearly half of the Battalion of 960 men had perished. Although there were large numbers of unmarried men, there was an extraordinary number of young women now widowed, many with children and large families.
Who took care of these widows?
‘Circular silver coloured War Widows’ Guild badge. The obverse shows a raised image of a Kookaburra alighting in flight on to a eucalyptus tree. Raised lettering around the edge of the badge reads ‘WAR WIDOWS GUILD’ as well as the designer’s name ‘AMeszaros’ and the date ‘1951’. The reverse has a horizontal hinged securing pin and raised lettering which reads ‘PROPERTY OF WAR WIDOWS GUILD’ and ‘K.C. LUKE MELBOURNE’. The number ‘2483’ is impressed between the two inscriptions. The badge was attached to an original issue envelope (.002)’
‘Membership badge issued to Mrs Ivy I Cameron, the widow of NX52530 Staff Sergeant Samuel Edward Cameron of 2/19 Battalion. Cameron was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, on 4 May 1909 and enlisted in the AIF on 3 July 1940. He served in Malaya before becoming a prisoner of war of the Japanese, when he was sent to work on the Burma-Thailand Railway in Thailand. He was unofficially promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer while interned. Cameron returned to Australia after the war but died on 21 October 1945, from illness contracted while he was a prisoner, only days after his repatriation.’
Information from AWM