Yesterday at the Christ Church in Queanbeyan NSW the funeral of a local community stalwart, Bede Tongs OAM MM was conducted. Amongst the many mourners inside and outside the Church were several current and ex-members of staff and senior management of the Australian War Memorial including yours truly. It is tremendously hard to put into so few words what a positive impact Bede had not just on me personally and professionally, but on my colleagues, my fellow soldiers and our community.
Perspectives of Parit Sulong
Today marks the 73rd anniversary of a tragic chapter in the history of the Australian Defence Force - the first documented massacre of Australian troops by the Imperial Japanese during the Second World War at Parit Sulong in Malaya on 22 January 1942.
We all wished everybody the best of luck in the New Year particularly those at home.
The sending of a traditional Christmas card has diminished in popularity with the advent of mobile phones, email and social media. The Australian War Memorial has a large collection of postcards and greeting cards sent to and from Australian service personnel engaged in conflicts from the South African War (1898 – 1902) to Afghanistan (2001 – present). During the First World War, a very popular design of greeting card was the woven or embroidered silk postcard.
“You can’t convey, as I call it, the fear of the unknown”, Les Wasley 1928 - 2014
The Australian War Memorial is seeking copyright permission to reproduce in detail the following embroidered squares from the Australian Changi quilt for a publication.
Some 400 women and children were taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. The Australian Changi quilt was made by women interned in Changi prison, and is made up of 66 individual squares with different designs and messages.
This year an excellent set of 12 photographs of Xena, an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD), was donated to the Memorial. Following an inauspicious start to life in the military, Xena proved her true worth serving in Afghanistan. A Malinois (Belgian Shepherd), Xena was the runt of the litter in an RAAF breeding program. Deemed too timid to have a future as an attack dog, her future was uncertain. She was allocated to a trainer, however her high energy levels created havoc and her next transfer was to the pound.
How does a son tell a father whom they love that they’re about to leave them, possibly forever? How does a father persuade a son not to leave, a son they have watched grow into a fine young man, a son they have nurtured and loved from the moment their boy opened his eyes, a son who they watched as he learnt to walk and now watched again as those same legs prepared to march him to war?
In part 1 of this Blog I talked about the Vietnam Battle Intelligence Computer which was used by 1 Australian Task Force at Nui Dat in 1971. This had resulted in a set of tapes called DECtapes being used for data storage. In 1987 these tapes were backed up onto a 9 Track tape in Canberra. In this part of the Blog I will be talking about the process of retrieving data from these tapes.
A single 9 Track backup tape had ended up with the Memorial as part of Official Records Series AWM347. This was its description: