• Australia's Gallipoli Victoria Crosses

    Thursday 23 April 2009 by Craig Blanch. 2 comments

    Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert ART02873 For ninety four years the story of Gallipoli has galvanised Australians to remember, on ANZAC Day, those that have served, and continue to serve, in conflicts around the globe. The description by poet John Masefield in 1917 of the landing on Gallipoli creates an indelible backdrop to the fighting: Those who wish to imagine the scene must think of any rough and steep …

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  • The Gallipoli Landing and the first Anzac Day

    Thursday 23 April 2009 by Annette Gaykema. 5 comments

    As we ready ourselves to commemorate Anzac Day at the Australian War Memorial, we can gain a small insight what it was like at the Gallipoli landing. Personal diaries held by the Memorial describe what it was like landing at Gallipoli on Sunday, 25 April 1915 under the heavy fire of Turkish machine guns. Although the photos accompanying this blog post do not relate directly to the diary entries, they are able to illustrate the stories in…

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  • Red Cross Records from the First World War

    Monday 16 March 2009 by Craig Tibbitts. 1 comments

    In the last few days has come news of an important discovery for First World War historians (especially family historians), in the archives of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.  British historian Peter Barton, commissioned by the Australian government to conduct further research into a mass grave at Fromelles in France, made the find.  The records consist of ‘card indexes and registers compiled between 1914 and …

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  • Valentine’s Day Love Letter

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Nicholas Schmidt. 13 comments

    The Memorial recently acquired a mysterious letter. It is beautifully written and decorated, but we don't know much about it. It seems it was written by a French woman to her sweetheart, and we assume he was Australian, as the letter ended up in Australia. We do not know who they were, but we do know that the letter was written on 25 August 1918 and was sent from Saint-Sulpice-les-Feuilles in France. The writer, Martha (or perhaps …

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  • Happy Valentine's Day from ‘The Love Controller'!

    Thursday 12 February 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 4 comments

    As with other special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, having to spend Valentine's Day apart from loved ones would have been sad and distressing for many serving men and women, and for those at home eagerly awaiting the safe return of their sweethearts and friends. Fortunately, there is little that can stand in the way of love and many people overcame distance and time to send messages of love and admiration, not only for …

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  • The Victoria Cross

    Thursday 22 January 2009 by Nick Fletcher. 20 comments

    Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in time of war The Victoria Cross was instituted by Queen Victoria's Royal warrant in 1856, and the first examples were presented by her in June 1857.  These first 62 awards were retrospective, for gallant actions by sailors and soldiers during the Crimean War of 1854-56.  Throughout its life, the Cross has been manufactured by Hancocks and Co, Jewellers of London.  …

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  • Trooper Mark Donaldson loans his Victoria Cross to the Australian War Memorial

    Thursday 22 January 2009 by Nick Fletcher. 6 comments

    Trooper Donaldson VC with the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Major General Steve Gower In a ceremony this morning, Trooper Mark Donaldson VC loaned his newly awarded medal to the Australian War Memorial for public display.  Trooper Donaldson, who on Friday became the first Australian serviceman in almost 40 years to be awarded the famous medal, is also the first to receive it under the title of 'The Victoria …

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  • Australian Engineers in the First World War

    Wednesday 21 January 2009 by Alessandro Antonello. 21 comments

    The First World War unit war diaries (AWM4) of the Australian Engineers have been digitised and are now available on the Australian War Memorial’s website. The diaries provide a wonderful testimony to the ingenuity and initiative of Australian engineers during the War, and the daily difficulty of building and maintaining structures and machines to ensure the success of the war effort. Engineers, also known as sappers, were essential …

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  • An Unexpected Guest joins Christmas Dinner

    Tuesday 23 December 2008 by Pen Roberts. 6 comments

    On Christmas Day 1918 the Air-Mechanics of No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corp, sat down to a Christmas dinner. Their quarters, located at the Bickendorf aerodrome, just outside Cologne, had been transformed with Xmas decorations. The Squadron was there as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Food for the meal had been sourced by members of the squadron from local supply depots and canteens. A German orchestra had been booked to…

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  • Anniversary of the sinking of HMAS <em>Parramatta</em>

    Thursday 27 November 2008 by Nicholas Schmidt.

     One of the lesser known tragedies of the Second World War is the sinking of the Grimsby class sloop HMAS Parramatta. At the time, Parramatta was serving in the Mediterranean assisting with supplying the Allied garrison at Tobruk, which was under siege by German and Italian forces.   HMAS Parramatta in camouflage c. 1941  In the early hours of the 27th November 1941 while escorting a convoy, Parramatta was hit by a …

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