• Medals of a Rat

    Wednesday 31 August 2011 by David Gist. 4 comments

    Visitors to the Memorial’s exhibition Rats of Tobruk 1941 will have noticed the unofficial Rats of Tobruk medal presented, according to its engraving, by Lord Haw Haw. Around twenty of these medals were made at Tobruk, which illustrates one of the earliest examples of the town’s defenders reclaiming the title ‘Rat’, bestowed on them by the propaganda radio program ‘Germany Calling’. Visitors may also notice the brasso caked …

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  • Digging For Victory For Floriade

    Tuesday 16 August 2011 by Dennis Stockman.

    Do your bit on the Food Front ARTV02452 Floriade (17 September – 16 October) is Australia’s celebration of Spring and Australia’s biggest flower show. This year the Australian War Memorial is creating a Second World War Victory Garden, reminiscent of those grown by Australian families in the Second World War. In 1942 Prime Minister John Curtin launched the “Dig for Victory” campaign, which encouraged Australian …

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  • The bomb: what it meant to Australians

    Friday 5 August 2011 by Emma Campbell.

    The announcement of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Japan brought an uplift of spirit among personnel. The end of the war, hitherto a nebulous source of conjecture, suddenly became a definite possibility within a matter of days, even hours. Crowds imbued with eager anticipation mustered round the unit’s radio sets for each news session and gasped with amazement as statistical information about the potentialities of the bomb were …

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  • Don't forget me, cobber: the battle of Fromelles

    Tuesday 19 July 2011 by Emma Campbell. 4 comments

      It has become known as Australia’s blackest night. On 19 July 1916, the troops of the 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions attacked a strong German position, at the centre of which stood the Sugar Loaf salient, near the small French village of Fromelles. The overnight assault – the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front – was mainly intended as a diversion to draw German troops away from the …

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  • 25 000 images online - AWM78 Reports of Proceedings, HMA Ships and Establishments

    Tuesday 12 July 2011 by Theresa Cronk.

    On Saturday 10 July 1911, King George V gave his approval for the Commonwealth Naval Forces to become known as the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One hundred years have now passed since this event. To celebrate the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, the reports of proceedings for fifty RAN ships and establishments are being made available online via the Australian War Memorial's website. This is part of an ongoing project to digitise …

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  • Beryl Maddock 'Flying Sister'

    Monday 4 July 2011 by Penny Hyde. 3 comments

    While searching through the Memorial’s Research Centre collection looking for stories relating to the upcoming exhibition on nurses I came across the collection of Sister Beryl Maddock (nee Chandler), containing a typed memoir, newspaper clippings, letters and a scattering of photographs. Beryl’s story stood out to me as she was one of a small number of nurses selected to join the RAAF's newly formed Medical Air Evacuation Transport…

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  • The Battle of the Somme – 95 Years on

    Friday 1 July 2011 by Emma Campbell. 4 comments

    In the early morning of 1 July 1916, more than 100,000 British infantrymen were ordered from their trenches in the fields and woods north of the Somme River in France, to attack the opposing German line. Within 24 hours, the British army would suffer almost 60,000 casualties, a third of whom were killed, and record the most costly day in its history. Today marks the 95th anniversary of the start of the Somme offensive, a series of fierce…

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  • Talmadge Johnson and USS Mugford

    Sunday 15 May 2011 by Dianne Rutherford. 5 comments

      Talmadge Johnson in 1940 (Photograph courtesy of L Johnson) The Australian War Memorial recently received a significant donation associated with an American sailor, Gunner's Mate Talmadge Johnson, who served aboard USS Mugford, when she rescued the survivors from the sinking of AHS Centaur on 15 May 1943. The items are two emergency lights with their battery cases. They came from one of the Centaur survivor’s life …

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  • WWI letters & diaries at the Memorial.

    Monday 18 April 2011 by Sue Jamesion. 4 comments

    As the Memorial gears up for WWI Centenary commemorations, AWM cataloguer indexer, Sue Jamesion, begins work on a diary from 1914, With the Centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918 only a few years away, staff in the Research Centre at the Australian War Memorial are busily working on a variety of special projects aimed at supporting the Australian community's commemoration of this momentous occasion.  One such project …

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  • What did we do before Google Earth?

    Thursday 7 April 2011 by Andrew Currey. 2 comments

    One of the many problems trench warfare presented to soldiers in the First World War was finding out what the enemy was doing behind his lines.  The simple solution to this was height, and in a relatively short time many ways of getting men and a camera off the ground were developed. Some are simple and ingenious, others were more complex: two German examples are an observation post disguised as a tree, and a periscope which can extend …

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