ID number REL34776
Title Eleven Japanese manufactured bread and butter plates : Stoker Petty Officer E B Powell, RAN
Collection Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Maker Unknown
Place made Japan
Date made c 1939-1941
Physical description China


Eleven off-white triple fired fine porcelain bread and butter plates. The plates are glazed in shades of pale green, grey, ochre and dark brown with touches of red. The rims are edged with a fine gold line. The upper side of the plates show a lakeside scene with small houses on stilts, pine trees, cherry blossom, a tori gate, all set against a mountain backdrop. There are no markings on the base.


This complete Japanese tea set, designed for export to the West, was brought back to Australia as a gift to his wife, Mary, by Stoker Petty Officer Edgar Baden Powell in 1945. Powell, born at Longford, Tasmania in 1899, entered the Royal Australian Navy on 17 December 1918 and trained as an engine room stoker. He later specialised further and was employed in providing technical engine room reports. After completing his first seven year's service Powell left the navy and in 1926 enlisted in the RAAF. He was discharged at his own request before he had served three months and re-enlisted in the navy. He was awarded the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1934, and had by this time also been awarded three good conduct stripes. In 1928 Powell volunteered to undertake a submarine course and was sent to England to undertake training. During the Second World War Powell served briefly in 1941 in the minelayer HMAS Bungaree and the cruiser HMAS Adelaide. The majority of his seagoing service was undertaken in the tribal class destroyer HMAS Arunta between October 1943 and November 1945. Arunta acted as an escort and also supported landing operations at Arawe and Cape Gloucester in New Britain before assisting in landings made at Saidor, New Guinea, by the US 32nd Division in January 1944. In March 1944 the ship supported troop landings on the Admiralty Islands, and in April was part of the large naval force that carried out the first large scale landings in what had been Japanese occupied New Guinea, in the Hollandia area. Arunta took part in the seizure of Wadke and Biak Islands in May, landings at Noemfoor and the taking of Morotai in September 1944 before sailing to the Philippines in October, where she participated in the Leyte and Lingayen landings and took part in the Battle of Suriago Strait. In 1945 Arunta supported landings at Wewak before moving to assist Australian landings in Borneo. Following a refit in Sydney at the end of the war Arunta sailed to Japan to join the occupation naval forces, where she remained until March 1946. Petty Officer Powell acquired this tea set in Japan during his brief period of service there. He returned to Australia at the end of 1945 and was discharged.