• In deep respect - Bede Tongs OAM MM

    Wednesday 28 January 2015 by Garth O'Connell. 6 comments

    Captain Bede Tongs (centre) with his wife and his brother Reginald after being presented his Military Medal by the Governor-General in Canberra, July 1947. Reginald was captured in Singapore with the 2/20th Battalion AIF and along with tens of thousands of others suffered under Japanese captivity on the Burma-Thai death railway and at Changi until his release in 1945.

    Yesterday at the Christ Church in Queanbeyan NSW the funeral of a local community stalwart, Bede Tongs OAM MMwas conducted. Amongst the many mourners inside andoutside the Churchwere several current and ex-members of staff and senior management of the Australian War Memorial including yours truly. It is tremendously hard to put into so few words what a positiveimpact Bede had not just on me personally and professionally, but on my …

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  • Daily Digger: Narrating the First World War

    Tuesday 20 January 2015 by Theresa Cronk.

    We all wished everybody the best of luck in the New Year particularly those at home. The above words were penned on 1 January 1915 by Captain Charles Albert Barnes in a letter that he had started to write to his mother on Christmas Day 1914. The letter was continually added to on a daily basis, along the lines of a diary, until the last addition on 17 January 1915. This letter has been digitised as part of the Memorial’s major …

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  • Mettle and Steel: the AANS in Salonika.

    Tuesday 13 January 2015 by Ashleigh Wadman. 4 comments

    Thanks to increased interest in the experiences of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) during the First World War, I recently attempted to redress the lack of focus on the nursing outpost of India. It would be a great shame to then omit the service of our girls in Salonika, who likewise faced extreme difficulties with remarkable courage and professionalism. Such hardships would eventually come to mark this theatre of war as one of…

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  • Christmas at Templeux-la-Fosse, France, 25 December 1917

    Thursday 18 December 2014 by Theresa Cronk.

    You wouldn’t think it possible to have a Merry Xmas in a place like this, would you? Well forget it...Thanks to a good lot of fellows du vin and the Almighty spreading a fog over the landscape we had Peace, Goodwill and a good time. Captain Reginald Harriman Heywood, 4th Infantry Brigade Headquarters, 25 December 1917 25 December 1917 dawned at Templeux-la-Fosse, France as another wintry day. It was a day that was reportedly not so …

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  • Les Wasley: Capturing Vietnam

    Monday 8 December 2014 by Gabrielle Considine. 1 comments

    “You can’t convey, as I call it, the fear of the unknown”, Les Wasley 1928 - 2014 In this showreel Leslie Martin Wasley describes what it was like to be camera man in a war zone. Inducted into the Cinematographers Hall of Fame in 2013, he was renowned for his evacuation footage shot in war torn Vietnam in April 1975, at the fall of Saigon. Parts of oral interviews, held in the Memorials collection, with Les Wasley and Journalist …

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  • ANZAC voices : The Pflaum brothers

    Friday 21 November 2014 by Dianne Rutherford. 3 comments

    ANZAC voices : The Pozieres and Fromelles display case, featuring the Pflaum story The temporary exhibition, ANZAC voices is only open for one more week. It contains a number of interesting stories, including that of Ray and Theo Pflaum who served on the Western Front. Theo Pflaum P09521.001 Ray Pflaum P09291.453…

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  • Brothers: the story of Alec and Goldy Raws

    Thursday 20 November 2014 by David Heness. 4 comments

    How does a son tell a father whom they love that they’re about to leave them, possibly forever? How does a father persuade a son not to leave, a son they have watched grow into a fine young man, a son they have nurtured and loved from the moment their boy opened his eyes, a son who they watched as he learnt to walk and now watched again as those same legs prepared to march him to war? The Raws family. As John Alexander …

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  • White’s Turkish Odyssey

    Thursday 13 November 2014 by Daniel McGlinchey.

    “One Arab, whom I mistaken at a distance for a soldier in blue uniform, proved to be a naked fanatical savage…” Captain Thomas Walter White, sitting second from the left, July 1915, Basra. Captain Thomas Walter White, Australian Flying Corps, had just landed, damaging his aircraft in the desert close to the ancient city of Baghdad. His observer, Captain Francis Yeats-Brown, Royal Flying Corps, jumped out to blow the telegraph …

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  • A Last Letter from Gallipoli

    Wednesday 12 November 2014 by Melissa Cadden.

    “I build castles in the air every day about our reunion.” Private Thomas Anderson Whyte, letter to Eileen Wallace Champion, AWM Private Records collection (PR04722). Circular silver frame with velvet backing, the front face of the frame has a decorative pattern running the entire circumference of frame. Displayed inside the frame is a black and white photo of Thomas Anderson Whyte smoking a pipe, dressed in blazer. A blue velvet …

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  • A sombre duty.

    Wednesday 5 November 2014 by Daniel McGlinchey. 1 comments

    Graves Registration Detachment, Australian section, of the Imperial War Graves Unit

    “We will be a hard headed crowd when we get back, after the sights we see…” This is a line from a letter written by Henry George Whiting, who volunteered for the grisly but vitally important task of exhuming dead allied soldiers, identifying them and reburying them into organised cemeteries. Whiting was born on 27 March 1889 at Adelong, New South Wales, one of eighteen children born to James and Annie Elizabeth Whiting (née …

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