Twelve months ago I went to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) with the Australian War Memorial. I was working on an oral history-photographic project. The core part of the project was interviewing and photographing 19 currently serving members of the ADF - from the army, navy and airforce - before, during and after their deployment in 2013 to the MEAO. In another 12 months time, you should be able to see the results of this work in an exhibition which will travel around Australia.
Blog: Personal Stories
Monday 17 February 2014 by Tamsin Hong. 6 comments.
Collection, Personal Stories Headley Nevile Fowler, Bill Fowler, Colditz Castle, Prisoner of War, Escape Attempts, Military Cross, 615 Squadron, RAF
Unknown to their captors, eight prisoners were huddled in a small office, waiting for the moment when they would finish the tunnel and escape from Colditz. They had been planning for this moment for over a month. But now their chance was slipping. It was midnight, 9 September 1942 and an alarm echoed throughout the castle. They could hear the footsteps of German officers approaching.
On 20 December 1915, Private John Kingsley Gammage of the 1st Infantry Battalion wrote in his diary, This concludes a real experience that money could not buy with an enemy that fought fairly and clean. Gammage was one of the last 10 000 Australian troops remaining at Anzac Cove. These men departed Anzac Cove during the night of Sunday 19 December through into the early hours of Monday 20 December 1915. The preparations for their departure had been carefully planned down to the finest details.
ANZAC Voices is the Memorial’s new special exhibition on the First World War, which opened to the public today. It features treasures from the Memorial’s written archives; the voices of the ANZACs presented through their letters and diaries, and supported by a variety of other official documents, photographs, artworks and historical artefacts.
The curators chose the above photo to be the exhibition’s theme image for obvious reasons, given it’s built around the written record. We also thought it was a good strong image that could carry off the important exhibition ‘branding’ role. Who knows what he’s writing – we might imagine it’s a letter home to the family, but it could just as easily be some routine administrative paperwork.
Wednesday 27 November 2013 by Daniel McGlinchey. No comments.
“We would have rather served under the Australian flag than a fake Japanese one!” said a sprightly Second World War veteran. He had just asked me if an Australian made replica Japanese flag was still on display. It was going to be used on Motor Launch (ML) 814 during Operation Mosquito in 1943 to confuse the enemy if they were spotted. It was around 2009 and I was honoured to find that I was talking to Marsden Carr Hordern a veteran who had sailed on ML 814 during Operation Mosquito.
“Pulled out of bed in the dead of night by a large monster that ultimately turned out to be a man with his gas mask on.” - Captain Robert Grieve of the 37th Battalion.
Gas masks saved lives but also caused fatalities. They were extremely uncomfortable and hampered the movement of the men, inducing fatigue, disorientation, and confusion.
Friday 20 September 2013 by Craig Blanch. No comments.
First World War Centenary, Collection, Collection Highlights, Personal Stories Zeebrugge, Distinguished Service Cross, HMS Iris II, HMAS Australia
The raid on Zeebrugge to cripple the inland port of Bruges in occupied Belgium in April 1918 lasted a little more than an hour. It cost the lives of over 200 British sailors and marines with hundreds more wounded. Artificer Engineer William Henry Vaughan Edgar, late of HMAS Australia, joined the raid on a Mersey ferry steamer and in the process became the Royal Australian Navy’s only Distinguished Service Cross winner of the First World War.
Tuesday 13 August 2013 by Tamsin Hong. 16 comments.
Collection, Family history, Personal Stories badges, family history, Ambon, Rabaul, Female Relative Badge, Mothers and Widows' Badge, Prisoners of war
It seemed like an ordinary day where I was busy researching areas of our collection, when two remarkable badges were offered for donation. They were a Female Relative Badge with seven stars and a Mothers and Widows’ Badge with four stars, both from the Second World War. Some of you will immediately recognise the value and rarity of these badges. However, as I learnt about the story behind these badges, I came to realise the significance of their meaning.