The Research Centre receives regular telephone calls and emails from military vehicle enthusiasts – restorers and collectors - from all over Australia. Occasionally they make it into the Research Centre at the Memorial, like the proud Jeep owner I met this week.
Embroidered silk postcards were first made in 1900 with popularity peaking during the First World War. Cards were generally embroidered on strips of silk mesh by French women. They were then cut and mounted on postcards.
Most people like to bring home a souvenir from their travels and soldiers in the First World War were no exceptions. The First World War led to great movements of people across the world, but especially through Europe. Many of these people ended up in Great Britain at one time or another. Despite difficulties in wartime, British companies still managed to produce a myriad of souvenirs for the visitors as reminders of their time in Britain, or as a gift for a loved one.
This week the Research Centre received a call from a fan of Sandy, Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges' favourite charger. November this year sees the 90th anniversary of Sandy's return to Australia, after a tour of duty which included the coast of Gallipoli, Egypt and France. Sandy's fan wished to confirm the information the Research Centre has about this much-loved animal in preparation for a ceremony to mark the anniversary.
Australian armed forces have had a long and proud association with surf lifesaving in Australia as reflected in this copy of ‘Surf in Australia’ magazine. It contains news and extracts of ‘letters from the services’ overseas, honour rolls of members killed in action, a report on the first R.A.A.F. surf lifesaving club at Evans Head run by the No.1 bombing and Gunnery School in New South Wales along with reports of fund-raising activities and news updates from Surf Life-Saving Association of Australia clubs all around Tasmania and across News South Wales.
Prisoners in German POW camps were very resourceful. My favourite items to have come out of POW camps in Europe are the maps they made for escape attempts. Early in the war men would draw their maps by hand, but this took a long time and at the end you would have only one copied map.
One of my favourite items at the Memorial is a tall steel and iron German camouflage tree from the First World War. During the First World War fake trees were one method used for disguising observation posts on the Western Front. This tree is from Oosttaverne Wood (also sometimes spelt Oostaverne Wood), near Messines in Belgium. We don't know when the tree was erected in the wood, but it could have been used by the Germans up until 7 June 1917, when the Oosttaverne area was captured by the British during the Battle of Messines.