In the lead up to Anzac Day on 25 April, the thoughts of many Australians often turn to members of their own family who served during the First World War. The Australian War Memorial's databases hold a rich source of detail for families who may want to learn more about the service of their relative.
Blog: Family history
A donation came to my desk in the days following Anzac Day that caught my attention. It was a maroon and white identification badge that featured the image of a young girl, her name, an I.D. number and the words, 'C.S.I.R. Radiophysics Division'
Fortunately the depositor of the badge provided details of the original owner and I was soon speaking to Valerie Briggs who at 79 years of age still possessed all of the enthusiasm and intelligence that I saw in the eyes of the girl on the badge.
As an assistant curator at the Australian War Memorial, I deal with many personal stories of Australians and other nations during war time. One story has really inspired me lately, that of Ludwig Marx.
As with other special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, having to spend Valentine's Day apart from loved ones would have been sad and distressing for many serving men and women, and for those at home eagerly awaiting the safe return of their sweethearts and friends.
Fortunately, there is little that can stand in the way of love and many people overcame distance and time to send messages of love and admiration, not only for Valentine's Day, but throughout the course of wartime.
In the Research Centre, we receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to know how and where their relatives died in the First World War. Finding out this information can be a difficult task. Quite often families know no more than that their relative died on a particular date in a particular country, and they'd like to know if we can help them narrow that down.
What does a twenty-three year old wag of a soldier say in his defence, when facing yet another court martial for going AWOL during the First World War?
If you're Private Albert Stipek, the words come easily: "I met some friends and went away with them. I had no idea the Battalion was going to the Line. I thought it was going out for a spell". Nevertheless, he had absented himself from the 51st Battalion for nearly two months.