• The first guns captured by the Australians on the Western Front – July 1916

    Friday 22 July 2016 by .

    Figure 1 An Australian soldier examining a destroyed Belgian howitzer at Pozieres. The howitzer is an ‘Obusier de 15 cm A. Mod. 1887 - 1890 FRC sur affût métallique de siège’.

    Jagged chunks of white-hot metal shrieking through the air, concussive blasts sending shockwaves through the earth, spumes of soil, filthy gore, and dust spreading over the landscape, and the acrid chemical residue of spent explosives. Pockmarked wastelands stripped of vegetation and horribly disfiguring injuries dealt out without discrimination to all classes, ranks and creeds. These were (and still are) horrors that come …

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  • Perth to Fremantle to Fromelles

    Tuesday 19 July 2016 by Craig Blanch. 3 comments

    The Battle of Fromelles by Charles Wheeler

    In the late afternoon of the 19th of July 1916 near the small German held village of Fromelles, Australians advanced across 300 metres of open ground in broad daylight toward the enemy. By the next afternoon over 5500 Australians were dead, wounded, or missing. Over 1000 of those killed have no known grave. It is regarded by many as the single largest disaster in Australian history. With 24 sets of brothers and at least one father and …

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  • Dr Stening's dental instruments

    Sunday 17 July 2016 by Amanda Rebbeck.

    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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  • The Anzacs of Brightlingsea

    Thursday 23 June 2016 by Amanda Rebbeck.

    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 . 2 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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  • Decoration from Destruction: the First World War Trench Art of Sapper Pearl

    Thursday 28 April 2016 by .

    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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  • The Famous Military Costume Comedy Company, The AUSSIES!

    Tuesday 15 March 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    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 mystery comforter

    Thursday 3 March 2016 by Eleni Holloway. 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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  • Welcoming home HMAS Sydney from the Gulf War, 1991

    Friday 26 February 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    HMAS Sydney IV crew February 1991.

    This year marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the Gulf war on 28 February 1991. One of the Australian vessels who served during the Gulf War was HMAS Sydney IV. On 3 December 1990 HMA ships Sydney and Brisbane arrived in the Persian Gulf to relieve the Adelaide and Darwin as part of Operation Damask. They participated in surveillance and boarding operations and after Operation Desert Storm began, Sydney was assigned to the escort …

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