• Ypres, the Menin Gate and the Last Post

    Monday 19 May 2008 by Robyn van Dyk. 1 comments

    And the last post for the Battlefield Tour Blog 2008! Ypres Passchendaele Three major battles of the First World War were fought around the medieval town of Ypres. The first battle was a three week attack on British positions on the 18 October 1914. Here the British and French forces halted the German advance a few kilometres before the town. The town became a salient and the Germans continued to shell the town. The cloth hall at Ypres, one of …

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  • N’oublions jamais l’Australie - Never Forget Australia

    Friday 16 May 2008 by Robyn van Dyk. 5 comments

    Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt are two towns on the Western Front that continue to have an ongoing connection with Australia. Due to the warmth and hospitality of the locals in receiving us, the battlefield tour will also not easily forget these towns. The tiny town of Bullecourt includes a pub called Le Canberra and one of the finest private museums in Northern France. The Bullecourt Musée contains a jumble of rare and interesting collection…

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  • The sinking of the Centaur

    Wednesday 14 May 2008 by Karl James. 15 comments

    Today is the 63rd anniversary of the sinking of the 2/3rd Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur. On 14 May 1943 Centaur was en route from Sydney to Cairns when she was sunk by a Japanese submarine south of Moreton Island, off the Queensland coast. From the 332 people on board, only 64 survived. SYDNEY, NSW. 1943. PORT SIDE VIEW OF THE HOSPITAL SHIP CENTAUR. NOTE THE PROMINENT RED CROSSES AND GREEN LINES ON HER HULL. RED CROSSES …

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  • The battles of Coral & Balmoral: May-June 1968

    Monday 12 May 2008 by Mal Booth. 1 comments

    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. The location of FSPBs Coral and Balmoral are marked by blue…

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  • Exhibition catalogue now available for free download

    Monday 12 May 2008 by Mal Booth. 3 comments

    Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse: catalogue cover Our exhibition catalogue has now sold out. You can, however, now download a pdf file of the catalogue and get this printed yourself.

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  • Finding a relative on the Western Front

    Sunday 11 May 2008 by Robyn van Dyk. 2 comments

    Dawn and Geoff Harwood were surprised to find that they had a relative buried at Vignacourt British Cemetery. They recognised him as family by his home town and his unusual surname. Geoff and I sat together after dinner last night and using the memorial's website and databases we were able to uncover a little bit more about George Radnell. Pte. George Duncan Radnell died of wounds 1st June, 1918 and is buried at Vignacourt British …

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  • Lochnagar Crater

    Saturday 10 May 2008 by Robyn van Dyk.

    When walking the battlefields of the Somme it is evident that most of the visible signs of destruction caused by the First World War have disappeared. The enormous Lochnagar Crater is one of the few surviving scars left on the terrain in this region. A monument to the devastation of war, this crater was caused by a 60,000 lbs mine and is 100 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep. It is hard to capture its sheer size in a photograph. The land …

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  • Touring the Somme 1916

    Thursday 8 May 2008 by Robyn van Dyk. 11 comments

    The major battles of 1916 took place on the Somme. The offensive began on the 1st July 1916 and would become one of the most costly episodes of the war. Between July and mid November the losses reached a total of 1,300,000 men. On the 23 July, not long after the Battle of the Somme commenced, the Australians took over and captured the main German line at Pozieres. The Australian 1st Division Memorial at Pozieres stands over this line. At the cost…

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  • Mother’s day message from a crew member of HMAS Sydney

    Wednesday 7 May 2008 by Kathryn Hicks. 5 comments

    PR01950

    When searching through the Memorial's Private Records collection this item was found. The telegram was sent from Able Seaman Rex Cooper to his mother on Mother's Day 1941. Born in 1920, Rex Cooper joined the RAN in March 1938. He became part of the crew of HMAS Sydney as an Ordinary Seaman in September 1938. He was promoted to Able Seaman in 1939 and served on the Sydney until his death in 1941. Also held in the collection is a diary written by …

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  • Don't Forget To Send That Card!

    Tuesday 6 May 2008 by Pen Roberts. 2 comments

    Around Australia this week people will be rushing to the post office to send off their last minute Mothers Day cards. Back in the Second World War, with no nearby stationers' shops, what did servicemen and women in the field do? Obviously they could have written a letter, but it just wasn't the same as sending a dedicated card. A number of philanthropic organisations printed cards to ensure the forces didn't forget their mums on their special …

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