Lest we forget where we buried it…

As Remembrance Day falls during this month, we'd like to share this engaging tale we found in our collection of World War II records. It is essentially however, about the love of a boy for his dad.

Almost 20 years after being discharged, David James Bailey wrote a letter requesting a reissue of his Returned from Active Service Badge. The badge in question had mysteriously disappeared 18 months earlier.

Bailey revealed in his letter that in an act of unfailing loyalty and devotion the former gunner’s three-year-old son – as only three-year-olds can – planted his father’s badge in the garden believing it would grow into a red flower, after misinterpreting his hero’s explanation of Poppy Day:

he told me he PLANTED my Badge in the garden somewhere … my son cannot remember where he put the Badge but tells me that when the Poppy grows he’ll be able to show me.

While the National Archives can confirm that the Army Records Office did reissue Gunner Bailey with his badge, we are unsure as to whether poppies ever did start sprouting in his garden.

  • read caption below
    David James Bailey in 1943
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    Letter from David James Bailey requesting a reissue of his badge, 11 May 1964
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017