Posted: 24 Apr 2010 Print Send a link
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Apr 2010, Steve Meacham: "It was a scene typical of thousands of homes in wartime Australia. Dishes done after their cooked meal, families stayed in the kitchen, listening to the latest news on short wave radio of how the fortunes of war were fluctuating. Sixteen-year-old Yvonne Jobling had recently left high school in Geelong, where she had learned book-keeping, typing and shorthand. It became her evening ritual to take a shorthand note of the nightly news broadcasts. But that Friday, March 17, 1944, was different. The broadcast came from Radio Tokyo, the Japanese propaganda station designed to further deflate a war-weary enemy. Yvonne cannot remember listening to Radio Tokyo before or since that night. But, as five Australian prisoners of war were put in front of the microphone to relate how they had been captured, Yvonne began copying their words in her notebook. ... Yvonne wrote a letter to each of the addresses the five prisoners had mentioned, with a covering note explaining how she had heard them and taken a verbatim account of what they had said. ... Those letters are now in the Australian War Memorial, which recently accepted them as an eloquent symbol, according to the official note, 'of the kindness of strangers on the home front during the Second World War, and the capacity of such kindness to bring hope to anxious families'."