Given it’s the final month of another chilly winter here in Canberra, I felt it was fitting to share with you one of the cosiest objects on display at the Memorial: Corporal Clifford Gatenby’s embroidered blanket. Its unique design has captivated visitors with its richly embroidered images from across the globe, as well as the more familiar symbols of Australia. It is also a rare example of an object of its size to have been created in a prisoner of war camp and to have survived.

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On the 19th November 1941, Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney II was lost, with all hands, off the coast of Western Australia after engaging with the German raider HSK Kormoran. The discovery in March 2008 of the final resting place of the Sydney and the Kormoran attracted much attention. Understandably, there has been much discussion over the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Sydney; however the story of the Kormoran’s Commander, Theodor Anton Detmers, and that of his crew, continued long after the battle.

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Friday 17 July 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments.
Collection, Military Heraldry and Technology, Personal Stories Prisoner of War

Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945.Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945. REL38251

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Wednesday 9 July 2008 by Dianne Rutherford. 7 comments.
Collection Maps, Prisoner of War, How To...

Prisoners in German POW camps were very resourceful. My favourite items to have come out of POW camps in Europe are the maps they made for escape attempts. Early in the war men would draw their maps by hand, but this took a long time and at the end you would have only one copied map.

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