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.
These tours are advertised elsewhere on our website, but just in case you've not seen them, either Robyn or myself are running tours of the exhibition at 10.45 am on the following dates:
14, 21, 24 and 27 February
5, 10, 12, 19 and 26 March
2, 9, 16, 23, 24* and 30 April
7, 14, 21, and 24 May
They usually last around an hour, unless we get carried away. Of course you can always download the audio tour and bring it with you on an MP3 player.
Work is underway to clean and repair the fuselage of the Albatros.
During the course of the last nine decades, a significant amount of grease, dust and general grime has built up inside the fuselage of the Albatros, particularly in the engine bay.
The Large Technology Conservation Section are currently working on five aircraft for the upcoming First World War exhibition "Over The Front" due to open in November 2008.
The Albatros D.Va was last restored in the mid 1960s and there are a number of areas which need attention.
On display in the Memorial's First World War Gallery is this damaged trench mortar barrel. The explosion that damaged this Stokes 3" trench mortar barrel in 1918 also sadly killed two young men from the 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery.