• Healing Wounds You Can’t See

    Friday 27 March 2015 by Gabrielle Considine.

    Group portrait of members of 114 Australian General Hospital

    Group portrait of members of 114 Australian General Hospital P11535.001 Shell Shock, Combat Stress Reaction, War Neuroses, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Regardless of the label, many have suffered psychological trauma as a result of war. During the Second World War psychological trauma was treated with electroshock therapy and formaldehyde. This is described by Neta …

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  • "I'm 21 to-day and I've never been 21 before."

    Saturday 21 March 2015 by Meagan Nihill. 6 comments

    How did you celebrate your 21st birthday? Although turning 18 might be the more meaningful legal milestone these days, for many, reaching the age of 21 is still an important rite of passage: a symbolic entrance into true adulthood. As a result, 21st birthdays are usually a big event, celebrated with friends and family, laughter, drinks, and speeches. One hundred years ago today, camped in the desert outside Cairo – half a world away …

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  • So far from home: sending and receiving mail in the trenches

    Wednesday 18 March 2015 by Theresa Cronk. 5 comments

    The arrival of the first AIF mail of 161 bags at Mena, Egypt. The non-appearance of this mail in Egypt caused a great deal of talk and anxiety amongst the Australian troops. It had been labelled to GPO London and subsequently returned from there, 13 January 1915.

    Imagine if you were unable to contact loved ones by telephone, email or via any other communication strategy now available in today’s digital age. No longer is it possible to hop in your car and drive down the road to visit friends and family. Instead, you have sailed for at least 4 weeks aboard a troopship to a foreign land. And there is no indication as to when, or if, you will see loved ones again. In January 1915, an oft-repeated …

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  • Long flights on Black Cats

    Saturday 7 March 2015 by Daniel McGlinchey. 2 comments

    RAAF consolidated Catalina flying boat (A24-362) of no 43 Squadron.

    RAAF consolidated Catalina flying boat (A24-362) of no 43 Squadron. 128022 A Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft, RAAF serial no. A24-40, coded OX-A, of No. 43 Squadron RAAF, up for repairs at Bowen, Queensland. P08233.007 “The flights were long…up to 20 hours flying and we lost friends, but we helped …

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  • Australian Red Devil

    Wednesday 18 February 2015 by Daniel McGlinchey.

    British Paratroops training in England in mid 1941

    British Paratroops training in England in mid 1941 009463 “Nothing can surpass the excitement of jumping from an aeroplane,” Peter Bernard Lalor wrote in a letter home in 1943 to his mother, Mrs Hester Lalor in Melbourne. He had passed his parachute training and was posted to the newly raised British 4th Parachute Brigade. As an Information Assistant at the Australian…

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  • Jack and the Singapore surrender table

    Sunday 15 February 2015 by Garth O'Connell. 3 comments

    The Singapore surrender table as on display in the Second World War gallery of the Australian War Memorial.

    Jack and the Singapore surrender table The Singapore surrender table as on display in the Second World War gallery of the Australian War Memorial. RELAWM32783 This simple teak table is one of the most poignant physical reminders of one the darkest chapters of Australian and British military history, the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. Along with tens of thousands …

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  • 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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