• “Gott Strafe England!”: Walter Koch in Holsworthy Camp 1918

    Tuesday 9 February 2016 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Kochs coat on display in 2015 During the First World War several thousand people of “enemy origin” were interned in Australia. This included sailors removed from prize ships and merchant navy vessels,Australian residents born overseas – even some that were naturalised, and others born in Australia of “enemy” background. There were also about 1200 people interned from overseas from places like Singapore,British Indiaand the …

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  • SS Cumberland’s place in maritime history

    Friday 5 February 2016 by Jennifer Milward.

    Wreckage of SS Cumberland off Gabo Island,7 July 1917

    If you were compiling a list of maritime “firsts”, you might want to include the SS Cumberland: she has the distinction of being the first civilian ship to be lost in Australian waters due to an enemy mine. The SS Cumberland was a four-masted steamer owned by the British Steam Navigation Company. Early in the First World War, she was being used to transport cargo around Australia and to England. In July 1917 she was heading for …

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  • Uniforms of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force

    Wednesday 13 January 2016 by Craig Blanch.

    Cadets in Universal Training Pattern uniform circa 1913.

    At the outbreak of the First World War Australia immediately pledged a contingent of 20,000 men in support of England. Within days Britain forwarded a request for an additional force to capture and occupy German possessions in the Pacific, particularly the wireless stations instrumental in communications used bythe powerful German naval squadron based in the area. Nine days later, on 19 August 1914,a hurriedly equipped force of 1500 …

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  • The German Officer's Corset

    Monday 4 January 2016 by Dianne Rutherford. 1 comments

    Corset taken from a German prisoner of war by French troops in Belgium, 1916.

    This corset was worn by an unknown German officer on the Western Front during the First World War. It was removed from him by French troops when he was taken prisoner at Dickiebusch, Belgium in 1916 and collected by Captain Louis de Tournouër, an officer in the 9th Regiment de Chasseurs who served in Marshal Petain's Staff in 1915-1916. Corset taken from a German prisoner of war by French …

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  • Sabotage!

    Thursday 5 November 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    An army marches on its stomach, or so the saying goes. Certainly the supply of food, equipment and weapons was such an important aspect of the First World War that it was targeted by both sides. German ports were blockaded throughout much of the war, leading to a decline in quality and quantity of German clothing, equipment and food as the war progressed. The Germans disrupted the supply of items to Britain through sinking ships bound …

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  • The merchant and the butcher: A Western Front story

    Wednesday 4 November 2015 by Craig Blanch. 2 comments

    Walter Wally Brown

    This is a revised blog first published in 2009 as “The butcher and the grocer: A Western Front story”. The revision covers Wally Brown VC’s pre-war employment and, additionally, his eventual fate. I would like to thank Wally’s daughter, Pamela Gould, for the previously unpublished material. The Western Front was epitomised by the brute force of men against machine and each other. Tens of thousands were lost in the maelstrom of …

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  • The German Aviator's Leg

    Monday 26 October 2015 by Dianne Rutherford. 9 comments

    Luck can sometimes be a researcher’s most valuable asset. This is certainly the case for one item held by the Memorial that has fascinated many of the staff in my section – an artificial right leg worn by a German aviator during the First World War. RELAWM07698 The German pilots artificial leg The fact someone managed to continue on active service during the war after losing a limb is fascinating and fairly rare. There were only a …

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  • Pattern 1908 Web Equipment

    Tuesday 14 July 2015 by Eleni Holloway. 1 comments

    Pattern 1908 web equipment with water bottle and bayonet frog. The entrenching tool helve which should be positioned next to the bayonet frog is missing. This set of equipment was issued to Private William George Hoffman, 32 Battalion. Private Hoffman wore this web equipment during an attack on the Hindenburg Line near Bellicourt on 29 September to 1 October 1918. He returned to Australia in 1919. RELAWM07759.001

    Pattern 1908 web equipment with water bottle and bayonet frog. The entrenching tool helve which should be positioned next to the bayonet frog is missing. This set of equipment was issued to Private William George Hoffman, 32 Battalion. Private Hoffman wore this web equipment during an attack on the Hindenburg Line near Bellicourt on 29 September to 1 October 1918. He returned to Australia in…

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  • Understanding Australian Identity Discs Part 1 : First World War

    Friday 22 May 2015 by Dianne Rutherford. 8 comments

    Pattern 1907 identity disc with August 1914 format details stamped.

    OFFICIAL IDENTITY DISCS During the First World War there were threetypes of identity discs issued to those serving in the Australian Imperial Force [AIF]. Those serving in the Royal Australian Navy were not issued with identity discs (excluding members of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, who do appear to have been issued with official identity discs), although somewore private purchase or improvised ones and I have come across …

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  • Welcoming Loved Ones Home

    Tuesday 5 May 2015 by Alexandra Biggs.

    The Welcome Home banner made by Jessie and Alice Middleton in 1919 to welcome home Private J.T.B. Elderfield. REL40074.

    This ‘Welcome Home’ banner was made by Jessie Mary Middleton and her mother Alice in 1919 to welcome Jessie’s fiancée John Thomas Bracey Elderfield back to Australia from active service in France. Banners welcoming loved ones home from overseas were common at the end of the First World War (and in conflicts since), but few have survived to this day. While it only has a few ‘Welcome Home’ banners in its First World War …

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