• 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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  • An Australian in the Air Transport Auxiliary

    Tuesday 15 December 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Some members of the Air Transport Auxiliary

    The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) played an important role in the air war in Europe during the Second World War and the Memorial is pleased to add to the collection the uniform of an Australian, First Officer Ian Robert Llewellyn, who served in the ATA from 1943. Some members of the Air Transport Auxiliary 006308 A civilian organisation, the ATA was responsible for ferrying…

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  • How to make a "Butterfly" belt

    Tuesday 24 November 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Butterfly belt made in New Guinea late in the war.

    Butterfly belt made in New Guinea late in the war. REL/21579.002 One thing I like to try and do with items held in the Memorial's collection is to get an understanding of how they were made or how they were used. So thought I would investigate how Australian soldiers made the beautiful butterfly belts we hold in our collection. Made from pieces of butterfly wing, cigarette …

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  • A lucky find: Warwick Bracegirdle's 1928 King's Medal

    Friday 25 September 2015 by Kerry Neale. 3 comments

    Miss Cayla Johnston presenting the Kings Medal to Head of Heraldry and Technology, Nick Fletcher.

    Twenty-two years after it had been lost to the family, the King’s Gold Medal awarded to Cadet Midshipman Warwick Seymour Bracegirdle in 1928 was presented for loan to the Australian War Memorial on Wednesday morning. Miss Cayla Johnston presenting the King's Medal to Head of Heraldry and Technology, Nick Fletcher. At 14 years of age, Warwick Bracegirdle entered the Royal Australian Naval College on 1 January 1925. In 1928, he …

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  • Understanding Australian Identity Discs Part 3 : Second World War, Army

    Thursday 20 August 2015 by Dianne Rutherford. 6 comments

    A member of the Second AIF wearing his compressed fibre identity discs, Australia c 1944.

    WEARING IDENTITY DISCS During the First World War, the army came to realise the importance of issuing two identity discs to each person so one could remain with a body and the other be collected for record keeping. In the Second World War, the identity disc remained the primary, and frequently only, method of being able to identify the dead. It was noted in various General Routine Orders (GRO) that not wearing identity discs would be …

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  • Understanding Australian Identity Discs Part 2 : Second World War, Royal Australian Navy

    Tuesday 28 July 2015 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

    Members of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the First World War were not officially issued with identity discs. However, they were in the Second World War. In June 1939 Commonwealth Navy Order (CNO) 97 ordered that the RAN would follow the Royal Navy procedure laid down in Confidential Admiralty Fleet Order (AFO) 805/1939 that a single red circular compressed fibre disc would be issued to all naval personnel. Not everyone used the red …

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  • Second World War Escape and Evasion compasses

    Friday 10 July 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Continuing from the blog about Escape Evasion mapsissued during the Second World War, escape compasses were the next important piece of equipment to be developed by MI9. These compasses were produced in a vast variety and were issued as part of escape kits, hidden in uniforms, in buttons or inside innocent looking everyday items. Below are examples of the main types of escape compasses issued during the Second World War. Swinger …

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  • Second World War Escape and Evasion maps

    Wednesday 8 July 2015 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

    Lamp shade made from MI9 maps.

    Quite a few people have examples of Second World War Escape Evasion (EE) maps in their homes. This document covers some of the basic aspects of the creation and issuing of EE maps during the Second World War. It is not a definitive history but is a starting point for those who hold or are interested in Second World War EE equipment. Lamp shade made from MI9 maps. REL34276…

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  • Military vehicle records at the AWM

    Monday 19 January 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck.

    Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck. REL31736 One question we are regularly asked is for information about the history of a particular military vehicle owned by a collector, wanting to know about where the vehicle served and when. Unfortunately, we are generally unable to provide this information as we hold few records relating to specific military …

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  • Perspex trench art sweetheart jewellery

    Monday 15 September 2014 by Dianne Rutherford.

    An unusual, carved Perspex necklace.

    While most people imagine that ‘trench art’ items, including sweetheart jewellery, were each individually, handmade by a soldier, sailor or airman for his loved ones far away. While some was made this way, the reality is often a little bit different. Large quantities of trench art were made in small cottage industries during the First and Second World War. Known also as the ‘foreigner’ trade during the Second World War, the items…

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