Thursday 17 April 2014 by David Heness. No comments.
First World War Centenary, ANZAC Connections, Collection, Personal Stories

Private Cecil Anthony McAnulty was barely able to stand. Exhausted from the intense fighting of the previous two days, he used a brief period of respite to pen his experiences of the past few days to paper. Cecil had written in his diary every day since he had left Australia. When he had completely filled his first diary he began a second, writing on whatever scraps of paper he could find and often using the backs of envelopes sent from home. For many soldiers writing helped them make sense of what was happening.

Two days earlier, on the afternoon of 6 August 1915, Cecil had been one of the nearly two thousand men of the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade to charge the Turkish trenches at Lone Pine. He had waited anxiously as the Turkish shells exploded before them, the fumes suffocating and the shrapnel deadly. The whistle had blown three times and Cecil and the others had charged towards the formidable and entrenched Turkish line. He was in the thick of it now. In what he described as a trance, Cecil pushed through the heavy machine gun and rifle fire with shrapnel shells bursting around him. Having crossed the nearly one hundred metre wide gap to the Turkish lines he found himself in an extremely exposed position along with several other Australians. “This is only suicide, boys,” Cecil exclaimed to them. “I’m going to make a jump for it.” Cecil’s account of what happened next ends mid-sentence with the words: “I sprang to my feet in one jump…” There are no further entries after that.

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Wednesday 16 April 2014 by Robyn Van Dyk. No comments.
First World War Centenary, ANZAC Connections, Personal Stories

Bringing historic documents from the Australian War Memorial’s archive to all Australians

The first 150 collections of private records related to individuals who served in the First World War are now online and hold a wealth of stories. In the centenary year of the First World War, the Memorial has launched one of its major commemorative projects to make available the rare historic personal records of Australians who served.

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.. We’ve had seven contacts, and 29 cache finds in the last three to four months.. we’ve killed three insurgents.. so it’s a quite active area.

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Monday 7 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories Dubai, AMAB, Sister Beauty salon

Day 29: homecoming rituals

Today was our final day in the MEAO (Middle East Area of Operations) - tomorrow we start the trek home on a chartered A340.

One of the homecoming rituals is sorting through your kit and cleaning off the dust of Afghanistan. The laundry whirs as people wash and scrub everything so that it will pass the quarantine inspection. Some boots are too down-trodden to be taken home.

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Monday 7 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories dessert, PTSD, AMAB

Day 28: Decompression

My room mate said to me at 9pm last night: "I feel like I should be doing something, that I should be working! I'm all fidgety and I can't sit still". She keeps checking her right hip for her pistol and her left hip for her military ID that she had to carry at all times on base. She has just returned to AMAB (Al Minhad Air Base) after spending six busy months working on logistics in Kabul. She worked 12 hour days that were punctuated by eating, sleeping and going to the gym. This is not "normal" life!

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Monday 7 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories AMAB, Dubai, airfields, mothering

Day 27: Under her wings

Our one hour flight from Bahrain to Dubai turned into an 11 hour endurance test. After spending most of the night in the air waiting for a freak cyclone to ease and in the Bahrain transit lounge, we finally made it back to AMAB (Al Minhad Air Base) safely.

Rain is rare in the Middle East, but it has rained in every place we have visited. We seem to be taking it with us. I wonder if it will be raining in Canberra when we finally get home.

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Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories Bahrain, forts, battle watch, surveillance

Day 26 - Battle watch

We had a few spare hours before our flight departed Bahrain today, so G3 and I went to an old fort.  I was particularly pleased to get away from our accommodation, as I felt like I was under house-arrest. Not being able to leave the house without a male escort was stifling (see day 24).

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Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories Naval intelligence, opium, heroin, Bahrain, Pakistan

Day 25 - Spooks

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Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories Bahrain, human rights, CTF150

Day 24: Bahrain

We arrived in Bahrain today.  This is my third country and my fourth currency (Emirati Dirham, Euros on the ISAF base in Kabul, US dollars on the multinational base in Tarin Kot and Bahraini Dinar) - I think it’s time for the Arab equivalent of the Euro.

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Thursday 3 April 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments.
Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories Afghanistan, education, Dubai, souk

Day 23: 1971

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