• The butcher and the grocer: A Western Front story.

    Friday 28 August 2009 by Craig Blanch. 12 comments

    The Western Front was epitomised by the brute force of men against machine and each other. Tens of thousands were lost in the maelstrom of war. In the horror, friendships were forged that endured even through death. This is the story of one such friendship... Wally Brown was a grocer. He did not necessarily want to be a grocer but neither did he want to follow in the footsteps of his father as a miller. The small Tasmanian community of New …

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  • The Not So Great Escape

    Wednesday 12 August 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 9 comments

    On the 19th November 1941, Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney II was lost, with all hands, off the coast of Western Australia after engaging with the German raider HSK Kormoran. The discovery in March 2008 of the final resting place of the Sydney and the Kormoran attracted much attention. Understandably, there has been much discussion over the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Sydney; however the story of the Kormoran’s Commander, Theodor …

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  • The Cessation of Operation CATALYST

    Tuesday 28 July 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 4 comments

    The 31st of July 2009 will mark the end of Operation CATALYST. CATALYST began on the 20th of March 2003 and defined the role of the Australian Defence Force in assisting multinational forces in the stabilization and security of Iraq. It also involved ADF support in the implementation of the country’s recovery programs. Boatswains Mates, HMAS Parramatta, 2009 During the course of this operation, the Australian War Memorial’s …

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  • The Kokoda “Track” or “Trail”?

    Monday 27 July 2009 by Karl James. 15 comments

    That terrible track which is now known as the Kokoda Trail. George Johnston, New Guinea diary, 1943 In recent years, many hours have been wasted and much ink has been spilt debating whether the foot route across the Owen Stanley Range, in Papua New Guinea, should be called the “Kokoda Trail” or the “Kokoda Track”. Both terms were used interchangeably during the war, and at the time they were not considered to be mutually …

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  • Preserving Gallipoli aerial photographs

    Monday 20 July 2009 by Mel Hunt. 4 comments

    The Research Centre holds a fascinating and unusual collection of aerial photographs of Gallipoli in 1915. The majority of the collection consists of 48 numbered aerial photographs taken over Anzac and South Suvla by the British Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in October and November 1915 at a time when aerial photography was very much in its infancy and highly experimental. Much of the early aerial photography at Gallipoli was conducted by …

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  • The Liberation of Colditz Castle

    Friday 17 July 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

    Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945. REL38251 This 8 cm piece of shrapnel is a souvenir from the liberation of the infamous prisoner of war camp, Oflag IVC - Colditz Castle. It was collected by an Australian soldier, Lieutenant Jack Millett. Millett was an 'incorrigible', one of the prisoners held by the Germans at Colditz for making repeated escape attempts from other camps. In 1942, Millett was caught …

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  • Dr Phoebe Chapple: The first woman doctor to win the Military Medal

    Tuesday 30 June 2009 by Craig Blanch. 15 comments

    Phoebe Chapple (1879-1967) Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. B 25677/34 Phoebe Chapple was always going to be someone special. She grew up in a family of high achievers. Apart from her father, Frederic Chapple, who was headmaster at Prince Alfred College Adelaide, five of her seven siblings held university degrees: Alfred a lecturer in engineering at St John’s University Cambridge; Ernest, another …

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  • First World War diary record series passes 400,000 images.

    Monday 29 June 2009 by Sue Ducker. 5 comments

    The digitisation of the whole series of Australian Imperial Force (AIF) war diaries from the First World War, (Official Records series AWM4), recently passed the 400,000 image mark.   Included in the 400,000 images are all the available diaries for the Australian Flying Corps, (AFC) .  Digitised versions of the diaries are being regularly uploaded to the Memorial’s website as they are completed.  The AIF war diaries are an invaluable …

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  • Valour

    Tuesday 9 June 2009 by Peter Burness. 1 comments

     Valour is a special human quality, usually demonstrated in the performance of extraordinary and unselfish deeds in the face of great peril. It is represented in a variety of words: bravery, boldness, courage, gallantry, and heroism. It can be observed in both peace and war. However, valour is particularly evident in wartime, where the risk to one's life in the service of others is more likely to be observed.  The story is told that when Queen …

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  • The girl on the badge

    Wednesday 3 June 2009 by Paul Taylor. 9 comments

     A donation came to my desk in the days following Anzac Day that caught my attention.  It was a maroon and white identification badge that featured the image of a young girl, her name, an I.D. number and the words, 'C.S.I.R. Radiophysics Division' Fortunately the depositor of the badge provided details of the original owner and I was soon speaking to Valerie Briggs who at 79 years of age still possessed all of the enthusiasm and intelligence …

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