Sweetheart brooch : Lance Corporal T H Clissold, 2/2 Field Company, RAE

Place Oceania: New Guinea1
Accession Number REL33875
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Metal, Perspex, Silver
Maker Clissold, Thomas Henry
Place made New Guinea1
Date made 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Rectangular perspex brooch with bevelled edges inset with a silver plate inscribed 'MOTHER' from which is suspended, via a fine chain, a heart shaped pendant with bevelled border inset with an silver heart inscribed 'NEW / GUINEA / 1944-45' and decorated with a date palm and a saw-tooth border. Reverse of silver heart is visible through rear of perspex and is inscribed 'LOVE / FROM / TOM'. A separate safety chain and pin is attached to the suspension chain loop. The brooch fitting is hand made from aluminium and pinned to the reverse of the 'Mother' brooch.

History / Summary

Made by VX38285 Lance Corporal Thomas Henry Clissold, 2/2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE). Born on 29 January 1919 at Hawkesdale, Victoria, and employed as a plumber and foreman contractor, Clissold enlisted at Melbourne Town Hall, Victoria on 24 July 1940. He embarked for service in the Middle East on 10 April 1941, arriving on 14 May and saw service there until returning to Australia on 28 March 1942. After over two year’s service and training in Darwin, NSW, South Australia and Queensland (during which he was awarded the Australian Efficiency Medal on 19 July 1944) he sailed with his unit from Cairns on 28 October 1944, bound for Aitape, New Guinea. Clissold did not manage to return to Australia until late January 1946. Although due for discharge, he was transferred to 2/1 Field Company in March 1946 and then to 7 CRE Works (Commander Royal Engineers Works) and worked at Murchison POW Camp, Tatura, Victoria until August. He was finally discharged on 8 January 1947. Clissold displayed a high degree of expertise with designing and casting souvenirs made from aluminium and perspex, materials freely available as salvage from wrecked aircraft in the New Guinea theatre. Souvenirs such as these were either sent home as sweetheart gifts, or sold to other servicemen and Americans for profit.