• The first guns captured by the Australians on the Western Front – July 1916

    Friday 22 July 2016 by Shane Casey. 3 comments

    Figure 1 An Australian soldier examining a destroyed Belgian howitzer at Pozieres. The howitzer is an ‘Obusier de 15 cm A. Mod. 1887 - 1890 FRC sur affût métallique de siège’.

    Jagged chunks of white-hot metal shrieking through the air, concussive blasts sending shockwaves through the earth, spumes of soil, filthy gore, and dust spreading over the landscape, and the acrid chemical residue of spent explosives. Pockmarked wastelands stripped of vegetation and horribly disfiguring injuries dealt out without discrimination to all classes, ranks and creeds. These were (and still are) horrors that come hand-in-glove with …

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  • Recording the music of the First World War - do you know these musicians?

    Friday 22 July 2016 by Meagan Nihill. 4 comments

    As part of the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War, the Memorial is undertaking a project to record selections of sheet music held in the collection. These selections are representative of the music that was performed at concerts attended by soldiers during the First World War, referenced in diaries and letters, written by soldiers themselves or indicative of home front songs. These recordings will be attached as a sound file …

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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - V: The town that was Pozieres

    Friday 22 July 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM26 39/1 [/3]

    In June and early July 100 years ago, the newly arrived Australian Imperial Force moved into their allocated positions for the coming British offensives on the Western Front. On The Eve of Battle presents a select group of documents highlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. The final blog in this series provides a background into the town whose attack by soldiers of the 1st Australian…

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  • Perth to Fremantle to Fromelles

    Tuesday 19 July 2016 by Craig Blanch. 5 comments

    The Battle of Fromelles by Charles Wheeler

    In the late afternoon of the 19th of July 1916 near the small German held village of Fromelles, Australians advanced across 300 metres of open ground in broad daylight toward the enemy. By the next afternoon over 5500 Australians were dead, wounded, or missing. Over 1000 of those killed have no known grave. It is regarded by many as the single largest disaster in Australian history. With 24 sets of brothers and at least one father and son killed,…

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  • Dr Stening's dental instruments

    Sunday 17 July 2016 by Amanda Rebbeck. 3 comments

    Three improvised dental instruments used during the Second World War in Taisho Prisoner of War Camp.

    On display in the Australian War Memorial’s Second World War Gallery are three objects that at first glance seem quite small and unassuming. After just a little digging however, you find that they help to illustrate the extremely harrowing conditions experienced by Second World War prisoners of the Japanese and one man’s near impossible task of trying to provide hismen with basic medical and dental care.…

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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - IV: Patrols and Raids

    Friday 15 July 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM26 39/1 [/3] image 1

    In June and early July 100 years ago, the newly arrived Australian Imperial Force moved into their allocated positions for the coming British offensives on the Western Front. On The Eve of Battle presents a select group of documents highlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. Patrols and raids Trench raids were a common feature of the fighting on the Western Front. Usually …

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  • Video message from The Director - First World War - battle of the Somme

    Friday 1 July 2016 by . 1 comments

    More than 100 years ago the Gallipoli campaign ended, leaving 8,700 dead, but the worst was yet to come. Beginning on 1 July, the purpose of the Somme offensive was to bring an end to the deadlock of trench warfare, and to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun. The campaign was massive, and included troops from Britain, Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and Newfoundland. Later in July the AIF joined the Somme …

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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - III: Eavesdropping

    Friday 1 July 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    Source: AWM26 38/4

    In June and early July nearly 100 years ago, the newly arrived Australian Imperial Force moved into their allocated positions for the coming British offensives on the Western Front. On The Eve of Battle presents a select group of documents highlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. Eavesdropping The provision of special telephone wires began at an early stage in trench warfare by …

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  • Rothberg the Spy: Rumours in the 24th Battalion, 1916

    Thursday 30 June 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Cloth patch for the 24th Battalion - all participants in the raid removed their cloth patches, identity discs and any other identification before taking part.

    On the night of 29/30 June 1916, 2456 Private Albert Roth, 24th Battalion AIF went missing while taking part in a trench raid near Armentieres. This was one of a series of raids Australians undertook in late June /early July 1916, before the AIF fought at Fromelles and Pozieres. His mysterious disappearance led to a rumour spreading through the battalion - that he was a German spy! Cloth patch for …

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  • The Carnage of the Somme

    Monday 27 June 2016 by Aaron Pegram. 6 comments

    Like most Australian soldiers who fought in the First World War, Private James Makin did not fight on Gallipoli. The 22-year-old bank clerk from Middle Park in Melbourne had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in July 1915 and left Australia with a reinforcement group for the 21st Battalion two months after the last troops were evacuated from Anzac. Makin’s war began in Egypt, where for months he tramped on pack marches and …

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