Onscreen text: 1 million Australians enlisted to serve in the Second World War. Edith Cox was one of them.
A member of the Women’s Land Army, Edith made it through the war. But her brother, Jimmy, caused the family great concern…
Edith Edwards: My eldest brother was taken prisoner of war in Singapore. We just got a telegram to say he was missing. And all through the war, Dad used to listen and say: “Oh, he’s alive, he’s alive”. And my mother always thought that he was dead. But it was very sad, because my father was the only one that thought that he was alive, had he died just before we found out that he was alive.
Onscreen text: It was a bittersweet homecoming…
Edith Edwards: So Mum and I – we all went up, and we were looking and looking for Jimmy. And this voice: “Mum, Mum, don’t you know me?” And this… oh, I shouldn’t even talk about it. The thinnest man to live in Changi camp – he was only 26 pound. Hard to believe, isn’t it. This poor thing on two walking sticks. This was my six-foot big brother that went away, you know? Ohhh! It was awful.
Anyway, Mum told Jimmy about Dad, and he said: “I’m awfully sorry Mum, I can’t shed a tear. I’ve seen so much death it means nothing to me”. And that hurt Mum’s feelings then, but I knew what he meant. But oh, dear, it was a sad homecoming.
Edith Edwards, 1926 –2018