Clive James

A recent addition to our collection is a copy of the KCF News, a small newsletter put out by the Kogarah Municipal Welfare and Comforts Fund, which operated during World War Two.  The Kogarah Comforts Fund, under the guidance of Sydney Bell, Mayor of Kogarah, was dedicated to providing parcels of comforts for local servicemen and women.  Parcels were prepared and packed every Thursday and sent overseas to over two thousand recipients – cake was the most popular item sent.  The KCF News, a short newsletter giving a digest of local news and sporting events, was included with every parcel. 

Issue no 5 of the newsletter, prepared in October 1945, must have been the last to appear, “as we will soon have all our boys back home.”  This issue concludes with a list of local boys who have been freed from Japanese POW camps and who would soon be returning to their families.  It includes the name of Corporal Albert Arthur James.  Readers of Clive James’ Unreliable Memoirs will feel the poignancy in this: his father, Corporal James, of the 2/19th Australian Infantry Battalion, died when the aircraft transporting him and other POWs from Japan was caught in a typhoon and crashed in Manila Bay on 10 September 1945.  Seeing his mother’s grief at the news, Clive wrote “I think that I was marked for life.”

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