• Australians on the Western Front 1916 - 100 years ago

    Thursday 26 May 2016 by . 1 comments

    “We thought we knew something of the horrors of war, but we were mere recruits, and have had our full education in one day.”Ronald Alison McInnis 19 July, 1916 This year marks the centenary of Australia’s first year on the Western Front. It was to become a year of terrible sacrifice. The experiences of some Australians who served in 1916 are preserved in the Memorial’s archive and are now available online. From the battlefield …

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  • Influences on the Music and Lyrics Written by First World War Australian Servicemen

    Friday 20 May 2016 by .

    The following blog post was written by Alison Mountain from the Australian National University whilst completing a research internship at the Australian War Memorial as part of her studies. Music has always played a significant role in war; from the use of bugles and snare drums as forms of communication, to the escapism of writing organised melodies to distract soldiers from the barrage of noise that constitutes traditional warfare, …

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

    Thursday 28 April 2016 by Kerry Neale.

    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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  • ANZAC Connections: Centenary digitisation project

    Monday 21 March 2016 by Stephanie Hume.

    The Australian War Memorial is currently undertaking a project to create a comprehensive digital archive of the ANZACs and their deeds, and of the wider Australian experience of war, through the digitisation of collections held by the Memorial. The collections are selected from our extensive archive and reflect the experiences of Australian servicemen, nurses, and civilians during the First World War, not just well-known personalities. …

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  • The Adventurous Maud Butler

    Monday 7 March 2016 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

    Maud Butler in uniform (but with the black boots that helped give her away) on her first attempt to stow away to the war in December 1915.

    In 1915 Maud Butler was a young 18 year old with a bit of an adventurous streak, who wasn’t happy with the type of contribution society decided young ladies could and should make to the war effort. She came to notoriety in the press for her attempts to disguise herself as a soldier and stowaway to Egypt. Maud Butler in uniform (but with the black boots that helped give her away) on her …

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  • Forgotten star

    Friday 22 January 2016 by Stephanie Hume. 6 comments

    Robert Chisholm was born William Leslie Chisholm on 18 April 1894 in Melbourne, Victoria. He was one of six children, born to Annie (née Absalom) and Robert Chisholm. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 23 November 1915, joining the Australian Army Service Corps as a driver. He embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT Persic on 22 December 1916. Upon arrival in France he was attached to the 2nd Australian Divisional …

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  • A ‘fine body of men’: the Kurrajongs recruitment march, January 1916

    Thursday 21 January 2016 by Kerry Neale. 2 comments

    Kurrajong banner - http://harrowercollection.com

    Recruitment Marches The outbreak of the First World War brought an immediate rush of volunteers wanting to serve their country. In 1915, in the central west of New South Wales, a movement began which became known as the 'Gilgandra snowball'. Under the leadership of 'Captain Bill' Hitchen, 20 or so men who had decided to enlist started off to march to Sydney. Gathering other recruits along the way, they numbered about 300 by the time …

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  • Caterpillars, goldfish and guinea pigs: badges of the (un)lucky clubs of the Second World War

    Monday 18 January 2016 by Kerry Neale. 6 comments

    Late Arrivals Club embroidered patch

    Whether walking back to safety from behind enemy lines, parachuting out of a disabled aircraft, crashing into water and being saved by a life raft, or enduring horrible burns from a plane crash, the stories of near misses experienced by aircrew during the Second World War are remarkable. As a symbol of the camaraderie between the men who had experienced these near misses, numerous clubs were formed, each with a distinct badge or patch to…

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  • Final stage of the evacuation from Anzac Cove: narrative from battalion war diaries

    Friday 18 December 2015 by . 3 comments

    The evacuation of Anzac – position at 1.30am, 20th December 1915, immediately before the departure of the “C” parties

    Part 3 in a series of three blog posts about the evacuation from Gallipoli The evacuation of Gallipoli began on 22 November 1915, when a plan was adopted during a conference at General Headquarters, Mudros. This was after Lord Kitchener's visit to Gallipoli in early November, during which he told General Birdwood to start thinking about how to evacuate, and before the recommendation was approved by British Parliament. Charles Bean, the …

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  • Preliminary stage of the evacuation from Anzac Cove: narrative from battalion war diaries

    Monday 23 November 2015 by . 4 comments

    Map of Gallipoli

    Map of Gallipoli SC02009 Theevacuation ofGallipoli began on 22 November 1915, when a plan was adopted during a conference at General Headquarters, Mudros. This was after Lord Kitchener's visit to Gallipoli in early November, during which he told General Birdwood to start thinking about how to evacuate, and before the recommendation was approved by British Parliament. …

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