FAMILY PRIDE: Fred Bainbridge and granddaughter Bailee Baldwin hold the badge that was presented to the mothers who had sons serving in World War II.
FAMILY PRIDE: Fred Bainbridge and granddaughter Bailee Baldwin hold the badge that was presented to the mothers who had sons serving in World War II. Mike Knott BUN050418BAINBRIDGE1

WAR HISTORY: Five stars on mother's badge

ONE war, five brothers and five stars.

Bundaberg mother Josephine Bainbridge was presented with a Second World War Female Relative Badge, which is a badge her son Fred Bainbridge said a lot of mothers for them but very few people know about them today.

It's inscribed with the words "To the women of Australia” with a suspended bar displaying stars below - the stars represented the number of relatives involved in the war effort, for Mrs Bainbridge she had five stars.

Fred Bainbridge said of his brothers, John George, Gunner Walter, Sapper John and Henry James, he was only one to be wounded in combat.

"We all enlisted at different places in Queensland and I served in New Guinea and North Bougainville,” he said.

"It was the 25th of March '45 and I was shot in the left shoulder at 10am in an ambush, I don't know anything accept it was an ambush and I remember hitting the ground and then they woke me up to say they were going to put me on the barge.

"It was 10 hours between getting shot at 10am and getting seen at 6pm.

"When I got to the hospital they said you're next and I don't remember nothing except a couple of seconds of them cutting into my shoulder and then I woke up the next day.”

He said when he got to the hospital he has to wait because "there was a guy getting seen who had been shot in the stomach and he was getting seen and I was second”.

Mr Bainbridge was part of the 26th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Having all of her sons fighting abroad made every trip to the mailbox a frightful step out of the door.

"When we got home she said for six years there was a tear in my eye every time I'd see the postman,” Mr Bainbridge said.

"Because she didn't know.”

But thankfully all of her boys made it back to home to see their mother at her Beatrice St home.

He said when he asked several different RSL's about the badge and they said they know of two or three stars but not it's not often to see five.

"She said she felt proud to wear it,” he said.

"She only wore it on Anzac Day and my wife wears it on Anzac day now.

"All these years we've never really seen anyone else wear one - no one really knows about the badge.”

According to the Australian War Memorial in World War II there was only one badge issued to the nearest female relative of members of the RAN, the Australian Imperial Force (including members of the Australian Army Nursing Service), and the Royal Australian Air Force on active service abroad.



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