• Conservation of the Mark IV tank

    Wednesday 1 April 2009 by Laura Kennedy. 3 comments

    The sponson on the left hand side of the Mark IV tank was removed last year for inclusion in the Memorial’s exhibition, “1918, Advancing to Victory”. The tank was relocated to the Memorial’s Large Technology Workshop in order to safely remove the sponson.  This provided an excellent opportunity for Conservation to undertake a preservation treatment of the tank which would include a full repaint, back to it’s original colour scheme. One…

    Read on

  • Infantry Battalion Regimental Marches

    Thursday 19 March 2009 by . 7 comments

    What do a concert pianist, an Indian bandmaster and an Australian militia bandmaster have in common? Each of these individuals composed a march that would eventually be adopted as the regimental march of an Australian Imperial Force infantry battalion during the First World War. Many were popular songs of the period. The 23rd Battalion March was composed during the First World War by Miss Una Bourne at the request of Mrs Doris Carter. Una Bourne …

    Read on

  • WWI - For this Sydney family it was "on for young and old".

    Wednesday 18 March 2009 by Sue Jamesion. 23 comments

    When Leonard Walter Jackson of Neutral Bay joined the AIF on the 6th of August 1915, he must have been one of the youngest Australians ever to enlist in our military services. Using the assumed name Richard Walter Mayhew, and claiming to be an 18 year old orphan, young Leonard, who was born on 27th August 1901, was actually 13 years 11 months and 10 days old on the day he "signed up". Len's older brother, Harry Melville Jackson, had enlisted in …

    Read on

  • Red Cross Records from the First World War

    Monday 16 March 2009 by Craig Tibbitts. 1 comments

    In the last few days has come news of an important discovery for First World War historians (especially family historians), in the archives of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.  British historian Peter Barton, commissioned by the Australian government to conduct further research into a mass grave at Fromelles in France, made the find.  The records consist of ‘card indexes and registers compiled between 1914 and 1918; …

    Read on

  • The Coronation Contingent of 1953

    Wednesday 11 March 2009 by Annette Gaykema. 7 comments

      Cover of "Coronation Cruise of HMAS Sydney" (RC07761)   After the death of King George VI in February 1952, planning for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth began. Tradition demanded a procession of all the Queen’s troops be present and so plans were put in place to form an Australian contingent. There were 250 official representatives from the armed forces sent to the festivities. These official delegates, along with their …

    Read on

  • The Indefatigable Florence MacDowell

    Thursday 5 March 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

      Florence MacDowell in 1912 (from Private Records collection 2DRL/1138) Florence MacDowell was born in the mid 1870s, the daughter of Swanston Hay MacDowell and Kathleen Champ. She trained as a nurse at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria and the Queens Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia. She opened her own hospital called ‘Windarra' at Toorak in Victoria, but later moved abroad, living mostly in Italy. She was …

    Read on

  • More wings for the Raj: RAAF in India during Second World War

    Friday 27 February 2009 by Tim Roberts. 6 comments

    Although outside main combat areas during the Second World War, India became an important region for the RAAF, and for many RAAF personnel attached to RAF units. In some RAF squadrons, ten percent of the crews were Australians, many of them transferred from training or bomber units based in England. Most RAAF and RAF activity happened in the northern half of India. The Eastern division of Bomber Command used various bases in Bengal (now …

    Read on

  • Puddings on the Veld and kangaroos in the Gulf: Christmas in the Memorial’s collection

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Rebecca Britt.

    Christmas plum pudding, Trooper T Ashford, 2 New South Wales Mounted Infantry

    Miniature pink underwear, artistic biscuits, autographed handkerchiefs – these may seem like odd Christmas gifts, yet these are just a few of the objects that Australian soldiers have sent home while serving overseas and which are now held in the Memorial’s collection. They include items from the South African War (1899–1902) and the two world wars, as well as from more recent operations, such as the Persian Gulf, and they range from the …

    Read on

  • Lockheed Hudson A16-105 and Ray Kelly

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Chris Goddard.

    Early in 2001, the Australian War Memorial acquired a Second World War Lockheed Hudson (A16-105). Since then, curatorial staff have been trying to contact crew members they had identified as having been associated with this aircraft during its war service. In November 2001, they discovered that Canberra resident Flying Officer Ray Kelly, who trained with No. 1 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Bairnsdale during late 1941 and most of 1942, had …

    Read on

  • First Aboriginal commissioned officer – Reginald Saunders

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Garth O'Connell. 4 comments

    Many thousands of Australian Aboriginals have enlisted and served in Australia’s defence forces since 1901, and several have won decorations, but the first to be promoted to a commissioned rank was Reg Saunders of Victoria. Reginald Walter Saunders was born a member of the Gunditjmara people, just outside Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve in the western district of Victoria on 7 August 1920. His …

    Read on