This collection of letters and cards were sent from Australian servicemen to Australian-born artist and World War II homefront volunteer Margaret Malval who resided in the USA. The correspondence was initiated in response to Margaret's Australian Comforts Fund care packages. The collection highlights the support of people on the home front for Australian servicemen, as well as telling the stories of soldier frontline experiences.
During World War II, Margaret Malval donated and/or sponsored several Christmas hampers through the Australian Comforts Fund. As part of these Christmas hampers, the donor of the hamper included a self-addressed greeting card which the recipient was encouraged to return, conveying thanks for the hamper. In Margaret's case, several of the soldiers who initially received a Christmas hamper wrote her a letter thanking her for the package and from this initial communication, Margaret and these soldiers continued to regularly correspond with each other throughout the War.
This collection consists of twenty one letters (some with original envelopes) and cards which were sent to Margaret from various Australian servicemen, most of whom appear to be serving in the Pacific. These letters generally cover similar topics, such as grateful thanks for a Christmas package and/or a parcel of magazines the solider had received from Margaret, descriptions of their home lives and general comments about what has been happening in the War and their experiences on the frontline. The letters range in date from 21st December 1943 to 7th June 1945. The letters between Margaret and the individual soldiers are generally dated several months apart, which is consistent with the time frame required for delivery and a return letter from Margaret in between.
In this collection, there is regular correspondence from three servicemen: Leo James Pollard, Ivan James Bosel and John Edward William Crutchley. Additionally, the collection includes a single letter from Jim Albert Smith and Roderick Milton Hetherington. Letters between soldiers on the frontline and those back home provide an extensive record of first person and eye witness accounts of war. Wartime letters provide an excellent written record with precise dates covering both the macro and micro scale of conflict.
In addition to these letters from Australian servicemen, the collection also includes a number of cards that were included in the Australian Comforts Fund Christmas hampers and returned to Margaret by the soldiers to thank her, envelopes in which the letters were enclosed and Christmas cards sent to Margaret from the soldiers with whom she she corresponded. These objects are an interesting part of the collection because they contribute additional information. For example, the Christmas cards sent to Margaret suggest an ongoing personal relationship between Margaret and the soldier, and the envelopes bare the marks of military censors which highlights the extent of military censorship.