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Souvenir flag, HMS VICTORIOUS and Australian war brides

Date: 1946
Dimensions:
Overall: 305 x 260 x 5 mm
Image (Flag only): 170 x 275 mm
Medium: Fabric, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ken Murray
Object Name: Flag
Object No: 00046513

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    Description
    An Australian Red Ensign commemorative flag, waved when HMS VICTORIOUS left Sydney in 1946 with Australian war brides bound for England.
    SignificanceMemorabilia associated with Australian war brides sailing to England is scarce and this represents the great journey on which these women embarked in 1946.
    HistoryIn 1946, 655 Australian women arrived in Plymouth, United Kingdom on board the converted aircraft carrier HMS VICTORIOUS. They were war brides - Australian women who had married British Pacific Fleet Royal Navy sailors and officers they had met during World War II when the ships were in Australian ports for shore leave.

    At the end of war in 1945 the men returned to England aboard their ships. The British authorities took the unprecedented action of offering passage aboard the VICTORIOUS for the women to join their husbands in the United Kingdom. HMS VICTORIOUS had been converted and used as a troop transport at the end of the war. During May 1946 it underwent further alterations - mainly to the aircraft hangars and lift shafts - to accommodate the brides. The ship left Woolloomooloo Wharf and undertook a 36-day passage to Plymouth, arriving there on 7 August 1946.

    This Red Ensign was given to a small boy to wave goodbye to his mother's friend - Joan Mary Smith, aged 18 who had married a Royal Navy engineer.

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