A unique and remarkable ceremony of Australian national significance will be conducted in France on 19 July 2010. It will be the culmination of the long search for those killed, and whose bodies were never recovered, in the disastrous Battle of Fromelles in French Flanders 94 years ago. Now discovered, 250 bodies are finally being laid to rest in the specially constructed Fromelles Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery.
It has been a year since the first blog entry went up about Marthe Gylbert and her letter. In this time, with the help of some very generous people, I have been able to discover much about Marthe and her wonderful love letter. If you have not seen the previous blog entries, they can be found here and here.
In 1944, Yvonne Jobling was a schoolgirl studying shorthand. Every evening at her home in Geelong, Victoria, she practiced her shorthand by listening to the radio. On Friday, 17 March 1944, she happened to be listening to the short-wave broadcast of Radio Tokyo, and heard messages from Australian prisoners of war.
There was movement in the Research Centre yesterday afternoon as news spread about a momentous event in the history of the AWM4 First World War unit war diaries digitisation project. For those who have been involved in this project, space was not an issue as we crammed into the digitisation room to witness the scanning of the final page at 2pm on 5 January 2010.
“’Rock Around the Clock’ took the place by storm,” recalls Doug Lewin. “People in Butterworth and Penang loved it.”
This was 1956 and the global hit by “Bill Haley and the Comets” was broadcast through a small radio station set up by the men of RAAF No. 2 Construction Squadron at Butterworth in Malaysia. The squadron was there to construct an airfield strip in Butterworth for the British during the Malayan Emergency. They were housed in a camp of Attap huts next to the construction site, and rock was sourced from a quarry about 5 miles away.
The notebooks, diaries and folders created by Charles Bean during and after the First World War have immense historic value and are considered to be one of the most significant records created by a single Australian. The collection includes 286 volumes of diaries and historical notebooks recorded by Bean at the time and often at the front line. The diaries are firsthand accounts of the war and offer a unique perspective due to Bean’s status as official correspondent.