Visitors to the Memorial’s exhibition Rats of Tobruk 1941 will have noticed the unofficial Rats of Tobruk medal presented, according to its engraving, by Lord Haw Haw. Around twenty of these medals were made at Tobruk, which illustrates one of the earliest examples of the town’s defenders reclaiming the title ‘Rat’, bestowed on them by the propaganda radio program ‘Germany Calling’. Visitors may also notice the brasso caked around the small copper rat on this medal, the result of many years of cleaning.
On Saturday 10 July 1911, King George V gave his approval for the Commonwealth Naval Forces to become known as the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One hundred years have now passed since this event. To celebrate the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, the reports of proceedings for fifty RAN ships and establishments are being made available online via the Australian War Memorial's website.
One of the many problems trench warfare presented to soldiers in the First World War was finding out what the enemy was doing behind his lines. The simple solution to this was height, and in a relatively short time many ways of getting men and a camera off the ground were developed.
The papers of Field Marshal the Lord Birdwood will be undergoing conservation, rehousing and digitisation for their long term preservation.
The bicycle is a machine that we can all relate to, it’s a common denominator. Be that early childhood memories of the first ride down that steep hill, the freedom to go distances that would be problematic on foot or that flat tyre at the most inconvenient time.
Filet crochet was a popular craft before and during the First World War. Women would make decorative or functional items for the home such as tray cloths, milk jug covers, tea cosies, tablecloths and cushion covers. They also made decorative items for clothing, such as crochet lace collars or cuffs. During the First World War patriotic military themes were popular. Images such as ships, flags, soldiers and medals, along with slogans such as: ‘Success to the Allies’, ‘God bless our brave boys’, 'God bless our khaki boys' and ‘Our hero we're proud of him’ were available.
“I had a very close shave...”
(Pte C H Lester, 1 October 1917)
As many soldiers will testify, war can be as much about luck as it is about training and equipment. Luck can take many forms, such as being in the right place at the right time, and the closely related not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The men listed below are a few examples of these places and the sometimes very short distance between them.
Lt William Henry Guard (2DRL/0879)
Recently, I have been working on the papers of Field Marshal the Lord Birdwood, the First World War British General who commanded the Australian Corps for much of the First World War (including at Gallipoli). Amongst the papers, donated by the Birdwood family in the 1960s, I have found a story I think is suitable for a Valentine’s Day blog entry.
Three months into this phase of the project has seen significant progress on both the external and internal conservation of the tank. Externally, all original armour plate components have been repaired. Replica plating has been fitted to replace inaccurate or missing components, with some plates requiring considerable modification to fit this individual tank, and to correct minor errors in externally supplied fabrications.