Merhaba - after a marathon plane flight we made it. Istanbul is awesome – huge, fast- paced, chaotic and full of people. A cruise on the Bosphorus was a great way to experience the city from the relative calm of our boat. We saw many palaces and mosques, and noted that nearly everything has a Turkish flag. Amazing houses right on the water, just like the OC but older and more expensive. We also cruised Istiklal St, just down from the hotel, and managed to avoid getting run over by trams, cars, bikes and pedestrians – quite an achievement.
My colleague Robyn Van Dyk and I have probably taken well over 1,200 people on guided tours of the Memorial's current special exhibition Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse. As ANZAC Day 2008 approaches it is interesting to reflect on which Light Horse images have resonated most profoundly with our visitors. This week, I also took some veterans from the Vietnam War through the exhibition.
Upon removal of the fabric from the upper mainplane it was discovered that an extensive number of the ribs were damaged.
It turns out that Rod Stewart, one of our fellow travellers on the tour, is also a fellow blogger. Rod's grandfather Edward John Howells served at Gallipoli where he was evacuated injured.
Reaching Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the objective of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. An objective that failed. The battlefield tour, however, managed to arrive safely at Istanbul airport in high spirits and only slightly crumpled from the long flight. We checked into the Marmara hotel to ‘freshen up' and in the afternoon we set off to cruise on the Bosphorus followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice Market.
Those of us travelling with the Memorial on the Gallipoli battlefield tour arrived in Istanbul today following a long journey from our various home ports. On a flight of over 22 hours it is inevitable that conversations would be struck and I met several Australians also travelling to Gallipoli. For the first leg of the trip I sat next to an Australian Vietnam war veteran. He was planning on touring the battlefields and to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.
The Australian War Memorial is encouraging Australians to look through their family wartime photographs to find images of the more than 102,000 men and women who died while on active service, and whose names are on bronze panels of the Roll of Honour.
The photographs will allow all Australians to remember these individuals as their families did. An online version of the Roll of Honour is available on the Memorial's website. Photographs are linked online to the entry on the Roll, which personalises the information.
The Memorial has been able to gain access to substantial amounts of the original fabric, which was removed from the Albatros during the 1960's restoration with the exception of the rudder and the ailerons. Significant analysis of this material has been carried out in order to determine the correct details for fabric colours, panel widths and orientations, seam widths, rib stitching and the dimensions of rib tapes.Photographic evidence shows the starboard aileron to have been covered in lozenge on both upper and lower surfaces.
The Memorial's annual battlefield tour commences this Sunday with several members of the Memorial preparing to set off for the trip. Ashley Ekins, Head of the Military History Section will lead our Gallipoli tour and Nick Fletcher, Senior Curator in Heraldry and Technology will lead the Western Front tour. We will be walking many of the historic battle sites and commemorating Anzac Day with the Dawn Service at Gallipoli and the Australian National Ceremony at Lone Pine. This year is the 90th anniversary of many major battles fought in 1918.
This honour roll was recently rediscovered in the Memorial's Research Centre during a cataloguing project focusing on documenting our oversize maps and souvenirs. Almost two metres in height and one metre in width, the honour roll consists of over 1,100 signatures, unit names, and hand drawn colour patches, insignia and medals of World War I veteran sailors, soldiers and nurses of all ranks.