When Ethel Freeth was told that her son had been killed during the Second World War, she refused to believe it.
Her son, Flight Sergeant John Freeth, was killed when his plane crashed off the coast of Scotland in May 1943, but she was convinced that he had survived the crash, and spent years lobbying officials to find out what had happened to him.
John had been a jewellery salesman at Angus and Coote before the war, and his colleagues created a beautiful gold brooch in his memory for her. They hoped it would help her come to terms with her son’s death, but she refused to believe it, and never gave up hope of finding him alive.
Ethel’s brooch is now on display at the Australian War Memorial as part of the After the war exhibition.
The exhibition explores the consequences of war through personal stories of love, loss, and hope from the First World War to Afghanistan.