Blog: Personal Stories
Forty years ago, in May/June 1968 Australian soldiers fought their largest, most sustained and arguably most hazardous battles of the Vietnam War. Units of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) confronted regimental-sized formations of the North Vietnamese regular army in fierce actions around Fire Support Patrol Bases (FSPB) Coral and Balmoral in what was then known as Bien Hoa province.
When searching through the Memorial's Private Records collection this item was found.
Can you imagine receiving a message that signified a momentous event in living history?
Crashes and fires were everyday hazards for the First World War flier. Second Lieutenant Frederick Gulley suffered both when trying to land his aircraft in England on 17 October 1918. Gulley was on a cross country flight and struck a post whilst attempting to land in a field close to Tidworth Barracks, Wiltshire. In the resulting fire Gulley’s clothes, harness, face and hands were burnt. He was taken to Tidworth Hospital with superficial burns to his face, neck and both hands, including all fingers.
It was 10 March 1919, and readers of the London Daily Mail were asked to help solve a wartime puzzle.
As valentine's day was only last week, I thought some would like a glimpse at one of the love letters we hold in our Private Records collection. Lieutenant Colin Douglas Simper of the 2/48 Australian Infantry Battalion met Irene at a dance in South Australian and were married at short notice at her family home in Blackwood on 12 December 1941. Often posted away, Colin regularly wrote to his wife, pouring his emotions, feelings, hopes and fears into his letters.
Mention is sometimes made of personal events in the war diaries of the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF), currently being digitised by the Research Centre.
The aircraft of the 1914-18 period were visibly frail and delicate and quite unlike the capable machines we know today. First World War aircraft were prone to structural or mechanical failures and could easily catch fire. Armament was limited to rifle-calibre machine guns and protection for the crew through armour and parachutes were only beginning to be used in the closing stages of the war. Aircrew operated with few aids to navigation, and were usually exposed to the elements while in flight.