Letters from World War Two

The Stonnington History Centre holds a collection of more than 1000 letters sent to Malvern Council from servicemen and servicewomen or their families during World War Two. They were written in response to the cards, canteen orders, books and wallets Council sent to residents serving in Australia’s defence.

Each piece of correspondence identifies or recognises an individual WWII veteran from the local area. Together they form a collective record of wartime experience, providing evidence of Australian troop presence in various battles, and the esteem in which service personnel were held by their local council. They talk about comradeship, the ‘boys’ they serve with, of a sense of responsibility to ‘get the job done' but also about isolation, homesickness, and their fears for Australia.

The collection also tells lesser-known stories of WWII, including letters from prisoners-of-war, women in auxiliary services, and families of those serving overseas. At least one letter has blacked-out or redacted text, showing the hand of government censors concerned about revelations of sensitive locations.

These letters have been digitised as PDFs to recognize the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. Search for a letter from your relative by typing in their surname in our catalogue.

The ‘Digitisation of WWII correspondence’ project was supported by the Victorian Government.

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