• 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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  • Rothberg the Spy: Rumours in the 24th Battalion, 1916

    Thursday 30 June 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Cloth patch for the 24th Battalion - all participants in the raid removed their cloth patches, identity discs and any other identification before taking part.

    On the night of 29/30 June 1916, 2456 Private Albert Roth, 24th Battalion AIF went missing while taking part in a trench raid near Armentieres. This was one of a series of raids Australians undertook in late June /early July 1916, before the AIF fought at Fromelles and Pozieres. His mysterious disappearance led to a rumour spreading through the battalion - that he was a German spy! Cloth …

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

    Thursday 16 June 2016 by Kerry Neale. 8 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Trooper Francis Arthur Groom DCM

    Wednesday 20 April 2016 by Cameron Ross.

    Medals of Trooper Francis Arthur Groom

    The Memorial has recently received a donation that provides us with an important link to Tasmanian involvement in the Boer War. Included in this donation is the Distinguished Conduct Medal that Trooper Francis Arthur Groom received for this battle, one of only five received by Tasmanian forces in the war. Francis Groom was born in the Argentine Republic in 1874 to Francis Charles and Mitty Groom. When he was twelve he settled with his …

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  • The Famous Military Costume Comedy Company, The AUSSIES!

    Tuesday 15 March 2016 by Dianne Rutherford. 1 comments

    The Perham Stars (later called The Aussies), c 1918.

    Concert parties were one of the ways soldiers were able to entertain themselves during the war. They were created on board troopships, within units, divisions, prisoner of war camps, training and convalescent camps. One example was the Perham Stars who later became known as The Aussies. The Perham Stars (later called The Aussies), c 1918. P11238.001 The Perham Stars was …

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  • The Adventurous Maud Butler

    Monday 7 March 2016 by Dianne Rutherford. 4 comments

    Maud Butler in uniform (but with the black boots that helped give her away) on her first attempt to stow away to the war in December 1915.

    In 1915 Maud Butler was a young 18 year old with a bit of an adventurous streak, who wasn’t happy with the type of contribution society decided young ladies could and should make to the war effort. She came to notoriety in the press for her attempts to disguise herself as a soldier and stowaway to Egypt. Maud Butler in uniform (but with the black boots that helped give her away) on her …

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  • The mystery comforter

    Thursday 3 March 2016 by . 4 comments

    We need your help! Do you know what a comforter is? We would like to hear from you if you have any information about how to arrange this knitted comforter from the First World War. The Memorial acquired this hand-knitted wool comforter in 1981. It was worn by Sergeant Leslie Wilson Thompson during his service on the Western Front with 22 and 24 Battalion. He enlisted for service on 6 April 1915 and returned to Australia in early April …

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