It turns out that Rod Stewart, one of our fellow travellers on the tour, is also a fellow blogger. Rod's grandfather Edward John Howells served at Gallipoli where he was evacuated injured.
Reaching Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the objective of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. An objective that failed. The battlefield tour, however, managed to arrive safely at Istanbul airport in high spirits and only slightly crumpled from the long flight. We checked into the Marmara hotel to ‘freshen up' and in the afternoon we set off to cruise on the Bosphorus followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice Market.
Those of us travelling with the Memorial on the Gallipoli battlefield tour arrived in Istanbul today following a long journey from our various home ports. On a flight of over 22 hours it is inevitable that conversations would be struck and I met several Australians also travelling to Gallipoli. For the first leg of the trip I sat next to an Australian Vietnam war veteran. He was planning on touring the battlefields and to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.
The Australian War Memorial is encouraging Australians to look through their family wartime photographs to find images of the more than 102,000 men and women who died while on active service, and whose names are on bronze panels of the Roll of Honour.
The photographs will allow all Australians to remember these individuals as their families did. An online version of the Roll of Honour is available on the Memorial's website. Photographs are linked online to the entry on the Roll, which personalises the information.
The Memorial's annual battlefield tour commences this Sunday with several members of the Memorial preparing to set off for the trip. Ashley Ekins, Head of the Military History Section will lead our Gallipoli tour and Nick Fletcher, Senior Curator in Heraldry and Technology will lead the Western Front tour. We will be walking many of the historic battle sites and commemorating Anzac Day with the Dawn Service at Gallipoli and the Australian National Ceremony at Lone Pine. This year is the 90th anniversary of many major battles fought in 1918.
On Tuesday 18 March, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs announced the winners of the Simpson Prize for 2008. The Simpson Prize is a national competition for year 9 and 10 students which sees eight students, one from each State and Territory, accompanied by two teachers, flown to Gallipoli to attend the Dawn Service and other ANZAC Day ceremonies. The students travelling to Turkey will be contributing to the Memorial blog to share the experiences of their trip.
The discovery of HMAS Sydney
The recent reported discoveries of the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and the German raider Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia have fulfilled the hopes of many people who for years have grieved, waited and wondered about exactly what happened to these two ill-fated naval ships.
An exhibition on animals in war will open at the Memorial in February 2009. A is for Animals will explore a range of themes relating to animals during times of war. The exhibition will explore stories of the Light Horse; the donkeys, camels, horses and other creatures used to transport soldiers and equipment; the pigeons used to carry messages; the dogs who have located injured soldiers and tracked the enemy, and the many and varied animals adopted as mascots and pets.
The Official Records series AWM 95! A three year project consisting of 47 shelves, 234 boxes and 2575 files. AWM 95s are the Commanders' Diaries of the Australian Army ranging from 1948 to 1975, covering the Malayan Emergency, Malay Peninsula and the Vietnam War. Most diaries consist of a cover with an index, a daily narrative of events, and annexes. The AWM 95 series is the latest digitisation project to be completed by the Australian War Memorial.
First World War 'war birds' will have their covers restored ready for display at the Australian War Memorial tomorrow.
A special team of French vintage aircraft experts will tomorrow make the ‘last stitch’ of their conservation work on rare First World War aircraft, or ’war birds’ as the aircraft are affectionately known. The war birds are progressively being ‘clothed’ as part of the restoration process, in preparation for the upcoming exhibition, Over the Front.