• On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - III: Eavesdropping

    Friday 1 July 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    Source: 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 documents highlighting the grim and the curious as the Australian and New Zealanders organised to be battle-ready. Eavesdropping The provision of special telephone wires began at an early stage in trench …

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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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  • The Carnage of the Somme

    Monday 27 June 2016 by Aaron Pegram. 6 comments

    Like most Australian soldiers who fought in the First World War, Private James Makin did not fight on Gallipoli. The 22-year-old bank clerk from Middle Park in Melbourne had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in July 1915 and left Australia with a reinforcement group for the 21st Battalion two months after the last troops were evacuated from Anzac. Makin’s war began in Egypt, where for months he tramped on pack marches and…

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  • The Anzacs of Brightlingsea

    Thursday 23 June 2016 by Amanda Rebbeck. 4 comments

    On Friday 17 June 2016 a three-day ANZAC Centenary weekend will begin in Brightlingsea, Essex, England. This ancient maritime town, located at the mouth of the River Colne, was the location of an Australian Engineers Training Depot (AETD) during the First World War. It housed up to ten thousand Australian and New Zealand soldiers between 1916 and 1919. The establishment of the AETD, grew out of the need to find additional locations for …

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

    Thursday 16 June 2016 by Kerry Neale. 6 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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  • On the Eve of Battle: Documents introducing the AIF to the Western Front - II: Lessons from Verdun

    Monday 13 June 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM26 38/1 image 1

    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. Lessons from Verdun Brigade Major Thomas Blamey, then a junior staff officer who later reached …

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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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  • Highlight on official records of the First World War: AWM251 &AWM256 AIF Administrative Headquarters, 1914-18 War

    Wednesday 25 May 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM256 17_1_197 page 1.jpg 2/Lt F M Barry, 10th Battalion

    Highlight on the official records of the First World War is a centenary program of posts highlighting those records created 100 years ago, whythey exist and how we can help make these essential records available for research purposes. Function and provenance In May 1916, the AIF Intermediate Base moved from Cairo to London and amalgamated with existing infrastructure there to form Administrative Headquarters, AIF (under the control …

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  • Influences on the Music and Lyrics Written by First World War Australian Servicemen

    Friday 20 May 2016 by .

    The following blog post was written by Alison Mountain from the Australian National University whilst completing a research internship at the Australian War Memorial as part of her studies. Music has always played a significant role in war; from the use of bugles and snare drums as forms of communication, to the escapism of writing organised melodies to distract soldiers from the barrage of noise that constitutes traditional warfare, …

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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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