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RAN ditty box issued to J. Kiley

Date: 1920s
Overall: 163 x 304 x 193 mm, 1.7 kg
Medium: Wood, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John B Kiley
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Ditty Box
Object No: 00036171

User Terms

    This ditty box was issued to John Berchmans Kiley by the Royal Australian Navy. Ditty boxes were used by sailors to store their personal possessions. They commonly held photographs and letters, as well sewing materials and other personal affects. Once adequate storage lockers were provided, ditty boxes were no longer required.
    SignificanceThis ditty box contains a range of personal items which were used by John Berchmans Kiley while serving in the Royal Australian Navy. It is an important historical record of the daily life of a boy sailor in the RAN in the early 20th century.
    HistoryJohn Berchmans Kiley was born on 29 January 1910 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1925. He began his naval service on HMAS TINGIRA, a ship for boy sailors moored at Rose Bay in Sydney, where he trained for 15 months. He went on to join HMAS SYDNEY and travelled to England, returning home on HMAS AUSTRALIA. Kiley also served in HMAS MELBOURNE, and undertook four years of training at HMAS CERBERUS studying a range of gunnery courses. Kiley reached the rank of Leading Seaman, and to his great disappointment was invalidated out of the navy around 1930 due to respiratory illness.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Ditty box

    Primary title: RAN ditty box issued to J. Kiley

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