Christmas messages from the AWM collection
The audio you hear playing at the beginning of this video is S05008, a Christmas message from Lieutenant Colonel William John Victor Windeyer (later Major General Sir William John Victor Windeyer, KBE, CB, DSO & Bar). Lieutenant Colonel Windeyer was stationed in the Middle East as the commanding officer of 2/48 Battalion when he recorded this very personal Christmas message to his family. He makes no mention of the war as he speaks to them “from the land where the first Christmas was”.
Messages such as this were recorded by the ABC Field Recording Unit to be broadcast by radio stations in Australia. In 1942 the ABC recordings were made available for purchase by families in aid of fundraising for the Red Cross.
Some of these fragile metal-core discs have survived seventy years since they were made, kept as precious mementoes by families. On occasion, the families have decided to donate their discs to the Australian War Memorial, where we preserve them for all Australians to hear.
-Jennifer Selby, Assistant Curator - Sound.
The footage in this light-hearted Christmas video has been selected from 22mins of rushes and offcuts from F01123, film taken by Frank Hurley in Palestine in November, 1941. The footage was originally intended to be edited together into a comic Christmas story for friends and family back home entitled, Xmas Greetings from the AIF overseas.
It stars troops from the 6th Division Cavalry Regiment and the four ‘leads’ in the pudding making scene (from left to right) are troopers D. Inglis, J. Emmell, M. Brady and S. O'Leary. Reasons for the film never being completed are unclear, though technical issues with parts of the footage is a possibility. However, detailed records in the collection do outline Hurley’s intended final cut of the film. The film was to have an introduction by General Sir Thomas Blamey, substantially more adventures surrounding the cooking of the Christmas pudding, further scenes in Jerusalem (including footage of the carolling nuns who can be heard in this video) and songs from the troops themselves and a number of nurses. The unedited footage of all these scenes, including people forgetting lines and multiple takes, is retained in the Australian War Memorial collection under F01123.
-Daniel Eisenberg, Assistant Curator - Film.