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100-year-old chocolate a wartime relic

OLD CHOCOLATE: Assistant curator of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch Museum in the Ballina RSL Club, Bill Thompson, with a tin of chocolate which was sent to France in 1915 and has now been donated to the museum.
OLD CHOCOLATE: Assistant curator of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch Museum in the Ballina RSL Club, Bill Thompson, with a tin of chocolate which was sent to France in 1915 and has now been donated to the museum.

A GLASS-and-a-half of full cream dairy milk or not, some chocolate donated to the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch Museum is probably not going to taste great because it is nearly 100 years old.

Assistant curator of the museum in the Ballina RSL Club, Bill Thompson, said no one was game to try it.

The chocolate, in a tin, was donated by Lennox Head woman Dorothy Brumley.

It was sent to her father, Trooper Henry Wharton-Braithwaite, while he was serving in France in 1915. He had served at Gallipoli previously with the Australian Light Horse.

The chocolate came from the Australian War Contingent Association in London.

The tin bears the inscription: "Our gallant Australian kinsmen at the front, with every good wish to one and all, Christmas, 1915."

Dorothy said her dad sent the chocolate tin, with all its contents, to his mum, Sophie Braithwaite, who lived in Richmond, Melbourne.

And the chocolate was never eaten.

"People became sentimental about these things," Dorothy said.

"We saw it (the tin) as children, and even as adults, and wouldn't dream of eating it (the chocolate).

"It was sort of precious."

Trooper Wharton-Braithwaite returned from the war, and the chocolate tin was passed back to him and his family when his mother passed away.

The tin has remained in the family all this time.

Dorothy - a self-confessed hoarder - rediscovered the tin as she prepared to move house, and wasn't sure what to do with it, before learning of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch Museum.

Mr Thompson said the chocolate was one of the more unusual exhibits in the museum.

Sunday, November 11, is Remembrance Day, marking the signing, at 11am in 1918, of the armistice which ended World War I. It is traditional to have a moment's silence at 11am on November 11.

A memorial service will be held at the Ballina cenotaph from 10.45am on November 11.


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