• Understanding Australian Identity discs part 4: Second World War, Royal Australian Air Force

    Monday 17 October 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Some RAAF members wearing their metal identity discs.

    Unlike for the Navy and Second AIF, I havenot been able to locate copies of orders regarding the issuing, marking and wearing of identity discs for members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the Second World War. The information below wascompiled from the inspection of identity discs in the Memorial’s collection and information on comparable items found in publications and online.…

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  • "Your loving father"

    Friday 2 September 2016 by . 1 comments

    REL49046. ‘Pluto’ the toy dog that Marion Mountney received in 1944 when she was only a few months old.

    In 1945, Private Godfrey Mountney took pen to paper and wrote to his youngest daughter Marion for her first birthday.“Hello my darling daughter,Many happy returns of the day and an extra big kiss from Daddy. I wonder as you sit and listen to your Mummy read this to you, do you in your own little mind know what it is all about and who it is from, remember the dark headed man that suddenly came into your life one day not so long ago, …

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  • "I knew by the screams that someone had caught it"

    Monday 15 August 2016 by . 4 comments

    One hundred years ago, on 14 August 1916, brothers Robert (Bob) and Stephen (Steve) Allen, from A Company, 13th Battalion, AIF, picked their way down Tom’s Cut, a communications trench near Mouquet Farm. Part of a group of 10 men, they had been detailed to carry rations to their company near the front line. It was their second trip of the day.The Allens, from Sydney, were part of a close-knit family, united by hardship. Their mother, …

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  • Building Bean’s memorial museum

    Monday 15 August 2016 by Anthea Gunn.

    Art of Nation development

    Initial construction – front façade, as at 27 June 2016, Image: Ortelia “This is the most fun thing anyone has ever paid me to do!” has become something of a refrain for me in recent months. The Art of Nation will present an online, interactive interpretation of Charles Bean’s 1919 drawing of the Memorial building. Taking a fairly simple sketch and translating it into a navigable, 3D space has resulted in seemingly endless …

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  • The Art of Nation and the centenary of the official war art scheme

    Monday 15 August 2016 by Anthea Gunn.

    Chateau St Gratien

    The idea for the Art of Nation emerged from discussions about how to address the centenary of the start of the official war art scheme. Aside from the official portraits commissioned by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, the Memorial holds the first significant art collection established by the federal government. It was the start of what is now the oldest, ongoing art commissioning program in Australia. The collection can be roughly …

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  • Enemy weapons captured at Long Tan

    Friday 12 August 2016 by Shane Casey.

    Figure 1 	Flying Officer John Tyrrell (left) and FO Alan Stephens (right) inspect captured Viet Cong weapons at the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat. The men are handling a Goryunov machine gun.  Behind them are some of the enemy small arms captured. In the background is a 60mm mortar, light machine guns on bipods and two 57mm recoilless rifles.

    On 18th August 1966 a force of up to 2000 Viet Cong advancing through a rain-swept rubber plantation encountered infantrymen from D Company 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. Standing their ground against impossible odds, the Australians prevailed, killing at least 245 enemy, but losing 18 of their comrades in action. Left behind on the chaotic battlefield the next morning was a considerable quantity of enemy equipment – personal…

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  • Wounded and missing : Private William Benton

    Friday 5 August 2016 by . 6 comments

    Studio portrait of 3775 Private (Pte) William Benton, 9th Reinforcements, 24th Battalion, of South Richmond, Vic.

    Studio portrait of 3775 Private (Pte) William Benton, 9th Reinforcements, 24th Battalion, of South Richmond, Vic. DA13672 “I saw a man called Benton wounded on August 5th at Pozieres Ridge. A piece of shell cracked his helmet and wounded him in the head… He walked out with other wounded men. They would have about two miles to go to the Dressing Station. There was …

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  • Relics from Romani

    Thursday 4 August 2016 by Kerry Neale. 1 comments

    A view of Romani. One of a series of images relating to the service of Lieutenant Fred Harold Tomlins, 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment.

    A view of Romani. One of a series of images relating to the service of Lieutenant Fred Harold Tomlins, 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment. P00153.019 The battle of Romani, fought between 3 and 5 August 1916, put a stop to the Turkish threat to the Suez Canal and marked the beginning of the British forces' drive out of Egypt and into Palestine. The British defences were …

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

    Friday 22 July 2016 by Shane Casey. 4 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 …

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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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