Flight Sergeant John Freeth of No. 455 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, was killed during a flight exercise off Fraserburgh, Scotland, on May 24, 1943. The aircraft he was piloting and a Bristol Beaufighter collided midair. Freeth’s body was never recovered, but his mother, Ethel, refused to believe he had died. She spent years lobbying for proof of his death. This brooch was crafted by his former colleagues at Angus & Coote and given to his mother in the hope it would help her to accept his death – a symbol of the irreconcilable grief felt by families and friends, especially for those whose loved ones were never found. Ethel died on April 9, 1971, possibly still believing her son was alive. The brooch was donated by her family to the Australian War Memorial. See this, and the rest of the national collection, in Canberra.
For more information on this collection piece visit: awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions/InCanberra