During World War Two, many women wanted to get luxury items to the men on the front line, as they might have in World War One. At the beginning of WW2, the Australian Comforts Fund (ACF) was revived, because it was a massive success during WW1.

The majority of Australian volunteers during World War II worked for either the Australian Red Cross or the Australian Comforts Fund. Both of these were officially recognised by the Australian government to assist the Australian troops in WW2. The ACF was mostly run by women. They did both the administrative work and manual labour.

A poster trying to persuade people to donate to the ACF.

The ACF aimed to get free comfort items to as many soldiers overseas as possible. These were items that they wouldn’t have otherwise, such as singlets, socks, pyjamas, cigarettes and tobacco, razor blades, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and reading material (newspapers and magazines).

The ACF also provided various amenities to the soldiers, such as restrooms, sporting equipment, and gramophones and records. The soldiers would also frequently be supplied with pencils, paper, postcards, and other stationary supplies, so they could write home to their family.

Christmas hampers were provided to soldiers by the ACF. The soldiers that were overseas couldn’t celebrate Christmas with their family, and the women working at the ACF wanted them to enjoy the holiday. The men were usually provided with plum pudding, cakes, small tins of fruit, tinned cream, razor blades and tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars. Usually, the items in the Christmas hamper were donated by members of the public. They were supplied to each army unit, and then an ACF commissioner would distribute the hampers within the units. By the time it closed, the ACF had made 1.5 million Christmas hamper for Australian troops abroad.

The ACF relied on donations from the public, and money made in fundraisers to supply all these items to the soldiers. They raised thousands of pounds by doing various things, such as door knock appeals, fetes and button days. The ACF raised a considerable amount of money through these methods; therefore, they delivered a lot of luxury items to Australian soldiers.

The ACF provided a source of comfort and support to the troops and acted as a link between their home, and the battlefields. It greatly increased the morale of the men and kept their spirits up. The ACF officially closed on the 27th June 1946, nearly ten months after the end of the war. It didn’t get revived for any subsequent wars as it did for the First World War.

Two badges given out by the ACF. They were probably given out or sold in a fundraiser.

Sources:

Australian Comforts Fund. 2018. Australian Comforts Fund. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-conflicts-periods/ww2/acf.htm. [Accessed 16 December 2018].
ACF gives and can keep on giving! | The Australian War Memorial. 2018. ACF gives and can keep on giving! | The Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C101850. [Accessed 16 December 2018].
Museums Victoria Collections. 2018. Australian Comforts Fund, World War II, 1939-1946. [ONLINE] Available at: https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/10608. [Accessed 16 December 2018].
ABC OPEN: Australian Comforts Funds Dominoes Set || From Project: Object Stories. 2018. ABC OPEN: Australian Comforts Funds Dominoes Set || From Project: Object Stories. [ONLINE] Available at: https://open.abc.net.au/explore/57003. [Accessed 16 December 2018].
Guide to the Australian Comforts Fund Souvenir Collection | The Australian War Memorial. 2018. Guide to the Australian Comforts Fund Souvenir Collection | The Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/accessing-records-at-the-memorial/findingaids/special/souvenirs/comfortsfund. [Accessed 16 December 2018].
Red Cross parcel - Wikipedia. 2018. Red Cross parcel - Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cross_parcel. [Accessed 16 December 2018].