The end of armed conflict in the European theatre of the Second World War in May 1945 saw tens of thousands of western Allied Prisoners of War from all over the world be repatriated to the United Kingdom for their first steps in their eventual return to their families and friends.
Among them were several thousand Australians, who in the course of the war in North Africa and Europe, found themselves in German or Italian run prisoner of war camps. For these Australians, Gowrie House in Eastborne East Sussex was an official repatriation centre where upon arrival the men were provided with a meal and accommodation. After settling in, they were allowed to send a free cable home and were presented with a Red Cross parcel. The men were presented with new uniforms and pay advances and then given 14 days leave and rail passes to explore Britain. Upon their return to Gowrie House, they awaited embarkation to Australia.