Blog: First World War Centenary
Many people tend to associate embroidery and needlework with women and the comfort of the homefront, but men are also known to pick up the needle and thread, especially it seems during times of war. Whether stitched as a way to pass the time in a prisoner of war camp, to record events, places and names, or as rehabilitation therapy in military hospitals, embroidered items have many interesting stories to share. To celebrate World Embroidery Day, 30 July, here are some examples of First World War rehabilitation embroidery from the Memorial’s National Collection, and stories of th
General John Monash is considered one of the war’s outstanding commanders. Monash was an avid collector, and his papers held at the Memorial give a comprehensive view of his wartime military career: from his command of the 4th Australian Brigade on Gallipoli to the Australian Corps in 1918, and then his role as Director General of Demobilisation and Repatriation of the AIF at war’s end.
On June 10 the Memorial participated in a Twitter event as part of International Archives Day, organised by Ask Archivists and Follow an Archive. Archives, museums and libraries from all over the world searched their collections for archive material relating to the First World War and posted it on Twitter using the hashtag #ww1archives.
This is the second in a series of blogs about First World War uniforms and covers the basic aspects of the Australian Imperial Force other ranks uniform during the First World War.
At 11pm, on 4 August 1914, English time, Britain declared war on Germany. Australia immediately pledged her support and offered an initial force of 20,000 men. The offer was quickly accepted.
Last Thursday the Photograph Section was given the opportunity to host two recently returned veterans of the war in Afghanistan, as part of an ongoing Soldiers in Residence program. The program is designed to familiarize soldiers with the work of the Memorial, at the same time exposing Memorial staff to aspects of ADF culture and practices that might enhance staff’s understanding of the modern Defence members’ experiences in war and other operations.
On the eve of landing at Gallipoli, 99 years ago, Sergeant Apcar De Vine of the 4th battalion took pen to paper to write of his preparations for the landing. Under orders to sail at 12am he records a meal of tea, bully beef and eggs. He describes packing iron rations for three days. “Two tins of Bully Beef, tea, sugar, biscuits, 2 cubes of Bovril, also rations for the first day of landing, bully-beef and biscuits, we had to rearrange our packs to get all the food in, also an extra ration of water ... in an empty lemonade bottle”. He also packed a billy to boil water for tea.
Private Cecil Anthony McAnulty was barely able to stand. Exhausted from the intense fighting of the previous two days, he used a brief period of respite to pen his experiences of the past few days to paper. Cecil had written in his diary every day since he had left Australia. When he had completely filled his first diary he began a second, writing on whatever scraps of paper he could find and often using the backs of envelopes sent from home. For many soldiers writing helped them make sense of what was happening.