In December 1941 Japan invaded Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as U.S. military and naval bases in the Pacific. Soon the Japanese conquered the Dutch East Indies for their valuable oil reserves. Dutch civilians, military and government representatives from the Netherlands East Indies (N.E.I.) were transported to Australia, where a N.E.I. government-in-exile was established first in Melbourne, then later moved to Queensland. Members of their army, navy and airforce worked with the Allies from January 1942. Three joint Australian-NEI squadron were formed. Several Dutch ships were based in Australia and 17 submarines operated in the Pacific. Dutch army units were attached to Australian Army units fighting in Borneo. Presumably the buttons above were produced by Stokes and Sons of Melbourne during this time.