• 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 …

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  • A hundred years of the RSL – a history in badges

    Thursday 16 June 2016 by Kerry Neale. 9 comments

    Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League Badge: Lieutenant Colonel J F Donnelly DSO, 1 Pioneer Battalion, AIF

    In June 1916, a conference of state-based returned soldiers associations recommended the formation of The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA). The RSSILA was founded by returning soldiers from the First World War with the aim of continuing to provide the camaraderie, concern, and mateship shown among Australian troops while they were at war. Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria were the …

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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - II: Lessons from Verdun

    Monday 13 June 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM26 38/1 image 1

    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 documentshighlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. Lessons from Verdun Brigade Major Thomas Blamey, then a junior staff officer who later reached …

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  • A Bush hospital in the heart of England

    Tuesday 7 June 2016 by Craig Blanch. 4 comments

    Bishops Knoll

    The Great War had already entered its third year by the time the first edition of Coo-ee!, the magazine of one of the most remarkable “Australian” military hospitals of the war, was released. Coo-ee!, first published in England on 10 November 1916, was the journal of the Bishop’s Knoll War Hospital. The inaugural edition was dedicated “to the first thousand sick and wounded Australian soldiers who were patients at Bishop’s …

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  • Highlight on official records of the First World War: AWM251 &AWM256 AIF Administrative Headquarters, 1914-18 War

    Wednesday 25 May 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM256 17_1_197 page 1.jpg 2/Lt F M Barry, 10th Battalion

    Highlight on the official records of the First World War is a centenary program of posts highlighting those records created 100 years ago, whythey exist and how we can help make these essential records available for research purposes. Function and provenance In May 1916, the AIF Intermediate Base moved from Cairo to London and amalgamated with existing infrastructure there to form Administrative Headquarters, AIF (under the control …

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  • Cold case: What has become of Murphy the donkey?

    Friday 13 May 2016 by Craig Berelle. 4 comments

    [1] AWM255 95.jpg

    A volunteer with the Research Centre's official records section recently came across a document in the collection relating to a search for "Murphy" the donkey in the weeks following the Gallipoli campaign. This post traces the original documentary record, many presented as electronic images for the first time. Charles Bean, Australia's official war correspondent in 1916, was interested in circulating an item of news seeking the …

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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - I: Offensive spirit

    Tuesday 10 May 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    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 documentshighlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. Offensive spirit The tremendous emphasis the Commander in Chief placed on "offensive spirit" …

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  • Decoration from Destruction: the First World War Trench Art of Sapper Pearl

    Thursday 28 April 2016 by Kerry Neale.

    A dump of 18 pounder shell cases at Birr Cross Roads, in the Ypres Sector, where positions were occupied by the 2nd Divisional Artillery, during the battle of Zonnebeke, 20 September 1917, when these shells were used. Photographer: Frank Hurley.

    During the battles that raged between 1914 and 1918, millions of shells were blasted between the fighting forces, leaving the people and the ground around them mutilated. This was a new type of war, yet there was an unexpected by-product of these used shell cases: trench art. A dump of 18 pounder shell cases at Birr Cross Roads, in the Ypres Sector, where positions were occupied by the 2nd …

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  • Highlight on official records of the First World War: AWM352 Miscellaneous records of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF, 1914-18 War

    Thursday 31 March 2016 by Craig Berelle. 5 comments

    AWM352 [7]

    Highlight on the official records of the First World War is a centenary program of posts highlighting those records created 100 years ago, whythey exist and how we can help make these essential records available for research purposes. AWM352 [7] Function and Provenance A Pioneer Battalion was created for each division in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force). On 10 March 1916, the 2nd Pioneer Battalion (Western Australia) was formed in …

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  • Highlight on official records of the First World War: AWM48 - High Commissioner's Office, London, registry files, 1914-18 War

    Friday 11 March 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM48 1640/14 War correspondents to accompany British forces

    Highlight on the official records of the First World War is a centenary program of posts highlighting those records created 100 years ago, whythey exist and how we can help make these essential records available for research purposes. Function and provenance In 1924, Mr T H E Heyes was appointed Australian Representative to the Historical Section (Military Branch) of the Committee of Imperial Defence. His major task was to examine …

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