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Letter - Auntie Lil to Aircraftman Royce Phillips, Personal, 20 Feb 1942 Document Reg. No: SH 960274

Two-page letter is to Royce, a RAAF serviceman, from Lil in answer to his letter, which she had welcomed receiving. She mentions the need to increase production at the factory she works in and getting used to periods of blackouts. She notes that 'the lady? brought along a girl friend for you - well! what has happened to Roma.' She also notes 'Gee the war is looking bad isn't it?'

The letter was found under the floorboards of the balcony level of the Gallery, Great Hall, Royal Exhibition Building, when replaced in 1989 as part of a restoration program. Many other items dating back to the 1940s were also found, providing an insight into the lifestyle and interests of RAAF personnel stationed in the building.

The letter probably relates to Royce Phillips, who served as a Leading Aircraftman (AC1, or Aircraftman) in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, service number 47290. He enlisted on 9 December 1941 at Kilkenny, SA, and was discharged 5 Mar 1946. The letter was probably written in 1942 (it only states 'Feb.20th'), since other letters to Royce all date late 1941-early 1942.

The formal wartime occupation of the Exhibition Building began in October 1940, when it was requisitioned for the RAAF under the National Security (General) Regulations. Partitioning work began in January 1941, and on 15 March the RAAF no.1 School of Technical Training was moved to the Exhibition Building from West Melbourne Technical School. Before long the Great Hall and surrounding areas were crowded with Air Force personnel. About 500 to 700 men lived there for varying periods of time; numbers peaked in 1942, when about 2000 personnel were accommodated. The central part of the building was a mess hall. The arena was occupied by a kitchen, laundry blocks, a storeroom and a playing field. The southern and eastern sides of the building were used for parades and drilling. The RAAF remained in control of the Exhibition Building until October 1946. (David Dunstan,1996, Victorian Icon)
Two-page letter written on blue lined paper with logo: a red `V'/ and blue `for Victory'. Letter is yellowed and has some spotting from mould.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 1991
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 24.00 cm (Height), 19.40 cm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: military aircraft, royal exhibition building, wars conflicts, women s work, world war ii 1939-1945, -1, making history - war diaries and correspondence
Themes this item is part of: Royal Exhibition Building Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Personal Effects
Tertiary Classification: correspondence
Inscriptions: Letterhead: V FOR VICTORY Extensive handwritten text in black ink.
Place & Date Made: Glanville, South Australia, Australia, 20 Feb 1942
Addressed To: Royce Phillips, Kilkenny, South Australia, Australia
References: Information relating to the service record of Royce Phillips is held in The World War Two Nominal Roll - http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=R&;VeteranID=895551 (accessed 12/1/2009). His service records are held in the National Archives of Australia Series number A9301, Barcode 4572657.
  1. [Book], Mr David Dunstan, Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1996, 377-386 Pages

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