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HMAS MELBOURNE sweetheart badge

Date: c 1915
Overall: 5 x 28 mm, 6 g
Medium: Sterling silver, enamel
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Marjorie Thomson
Object Name: Badge
Object No: 00046510

User Terms

    Officially titled a Female Relative Badge but known as a sweetheart badge, badges like this were given to close female family members of servicemen on overseas deployment. This badge is associated with the family of Joseph Kirkman who served in HMA Ships SYDNEY and MELBOURNE shortly after the formation of the Royal Australian Navy. Such badges recognised the importance of moral support provided by families to servicemen in their duties.
    SignificanceSweetheart jewellery offered the wearer an opportunity to show patriotism and loyalty during a period when the world was dark with war. As well as brooches, bracelets, buttons, necklaces and lockets were designed for female friends and relatives. Some were official; many were homemade. They provided a link between those serving and those who waited at home.
    HistoryThe Royal Australian Navy issued badges such as this to the wife and/or mother of those on active service overseas during World War I and World War II. They are called Female Relative Badges. If the sailor had no wife or mother, it was issued to the nearest living female relative (sister, aunt, grandmother etc). The badge here was issued for naval service in World War I under Military order 280 of 1917. In World War II a single badge was issued encompassing all the services.

    HMAS MELBOURNE (I) was a light cruiser which served in the Royal Australian Navy 1913 to 1929 being deployed in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and then the Atlantic during World War I. Many RAN ships had enamelled badges or brooches designed for special relatives and friends.

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