A 100-year-old chocolate bar may not sound like the tastiest treat in the world. But imagine receiving it in the trenches of World War 1.
Bill Thompson, museum curator at the Ballina RSL sub-branch in northern New South Wales, says the chocolate was a Christmas present to soldiers – a small token of luxury during a time of international trauma, courtesy of the Australian War Contingent Association in London.
Now, the chocolate lives in the museum, donated by Dorothy Brumley. The recipient had been her father, Henry Wharton-Braithwaite, when he was in France in 1915, after he had served at Gallipoli.
“It’s still in the tin, [and] it’s in excellent condition – except the chocolate, of course. It looks bloody awful!” Thompson says.
Almost all Australians are familiar, at least by name, with the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and its treasures of memorabilia. But fewer know that their local RSLs often feature their own exhibits, sometimes of thousands of items.
These pieces have the power to touch not only those with personal associations and memories of wartime, but younger generations who have grown up without any kind of equivalent experience.
“We get a lot of visitors from schools, and they all arrive with a great list of questions, and they’re usually more orientated with some of the later conflicts,” Thompson goes on.… Read more..