Wartime 44 - Australian War Memorial News
Corporal Ray Parry
21 August saw the unfortunate passing of Corporal Ray Parry. He was a valuable friend of the Memorial, attending many events and providing assistance for a diorama in the Conflicts 1945 to today galleries depicting one of his actions at Korea.
He travelled to the Kapyong valley in 2007 with the Memorial’s artists to locate the exact area depicted in the diorama. He provided the artists with an intimate and firsthand account of his experience. Inspired by his humour and humility, Parry’s voice recordings were used as the primary feature of the diorama’s soundscape. Woven together with the sounds of battle, Parry’s recollections help evoke a sense of what it would have been like for the men in Korea that night.
Parry worked for the Westralian newspaper before enlisting in 1942, aged 20. He fought with the 2/2nd Independent Company in Timor and remained in the Pacific area for ART03023the rest of the war. In 1950 Parry joined K Force and for a year, from December 1950, he served with 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in Korea. At Kapyong on 24 April 1951 he commanded an outpost of three other men. They fought off repeated Chinese attacks. For his cool command and decisive actions he was awarded the Military Medal.
Advancing to victory, 1918
This Remembrance Day, 90 years after the end of the First World War, the Australian War Memorial will recall the battles and events in a new temporary exhibition Advancing to victory, 1918.
Exhibition curator Peter Burness believes that 1918 was the year in which Australians made their greatest contributions to the allied victory in the First World War: “The large battles of Villers-Bretonneux, Hamel, Amiens, Mont St Quentin and the breaking of the Hindenburg Line involved large volumes of artillery and new fighting techniques that helped the allies win the war.”
“The exhibition will feature a variety of large objects to tell the story of our troops in 1918, including an inside view of an Mk IV Female tank from the period, an 18-pounder field gun and major artworks including Breaking the Hindenburg Line by Will Longstaff.”
Advancing to victory is the fourth and final exhibition in a First World War anniversary sequence presented by the Memorial. It opens on 24 October 2008 and continues until 12 February 2009.
War bird suspended in time
Completing a program of major conservation work, conservators performed the final cable tension check on the Memorial’s Pfalz D.XII fighter aircraft on 13 August. For the first time since the end of the First World War, the Pfalz – with its accurate wartime markings and camouflage pattern – was viewed by staff and invited journalists.
The cable tension check replicated how the Pfalz will be displayed in the Memorial’s new permanent exhibition Over the front: the Great War in the air. The check was critical to ensure no pressure was placed on the aircraft’s delicate plywood fuselage. There are only four surviving examples of the Pfalz in the world. The aircraft was a fighter used by German front-line air force squadrons in late 1918, and this one was brought to Australia as a war trophy in 1919.
Over the front will feature five restored aircraft, including three allied aircraft (SE5a, Arvo 504K trainer and Airco DH9) and two rare German fighter planes (Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.XII).
The Memorial’s tradition of stunning multimedia displays will be continued, using technology to help visitors experience the risks, actions and drama of First World War aerial battle.
It opens on 28 November.
The Memorial has lost another great friend with the passing of Alec Hill at the age of 92. His funeral was held on 2 September.
Graduating from the University of Sydney in 1940, Hill served as a company commander and staff officer, fighting with the 9th Australian Division at Tobruk and Alamein and then in New Guinea and Borneo. After the war, he became a history teacher and then joined the Department of History at the Royal Military College of Australia, where he influenced a generation of officer graduates.
A distinguished military biographer, he was Chairman of the Armed Services Working Group of the Australian dictionary of biography and contributed many entries to it. He is best known for his masterly study, Chauvel of the Light Horse. For his services to education in the field of Australian military history, Hill was awarded the AM in 2006.
Hill was a true gentleman as well as a fine teacher and scholar. All who knew him were impressed by his decency and integrity. He will be missed.