In 1967 the Australian Women’s Weekly held a Mother’s Day story-writing competition, for ‘The Best Mother’s Day I’ve Had’.

The contest prompted many letters to the editor. One, from Harry Thorpe,  a former Army Padre, wrote about a Mother’s Day he had spent in a Japanese POW camp.

His letter caught the attention of my grandfather’s cousin John de Crespigny (1908-1995).

de Crespigny, who in 1943 had been a Major interned in the same camp, wrote to Thorpe recalling the occasion.

His letter was reproduced in the Women’s Weekly a month later.


Prizewinning letters in our “Best Mother’s Day” Contest. (1967, May 17). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 55. Retrieved from


AN ECHO FROM MOTHER’S DAY, 1943— IN A POW CAMP. (1967, June 28). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 14. Retrieved from

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