Shoulder straps with 'AUSTRALIA' shoulder titles : 2 Brigade, Krithia, Gallipoli

Accession Number RELAWM00356.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Wool
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1914-1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Fragmentary remains of two shoulder straps from an Australian army tunic.

The first is less than half complete and has many holes. The bottom of the strap bears a damaged 'AUSTRALIA' shoulder title attached by a split pin through one lug, and a small piece of wood - possibly from a matchstick - through the other lug.

The other shoulder strap is missing most of the top section, except for some pieces along the side. At the bottom is an 'AUSTRALIA' shoulder title attached by two small split pins.

History / Summary

Relic of the advance towards Krithia made by the 2nd Brigade AIF(5, 6, 7 and 8 Infantry Battalions) on the afternoon of 8 May 1915. Some 500 Australians were killed in this attack, and many of their bodies, being under direct enemy fire, could not be recovered.

Charles Bean and the Australian Historical Mission returned to Gallipoli in early 1919, and visited the Krithia battlefield on 8 March, looking for signs of the Australian soldiers. In his book 'Gallipoli Mission' (1948), Bean wrote that they 'found the remains of Australians everywhere on the plain, as far forward as the two trenches of the Redoubt Line, 400 and 500 yards ahead respectively. We found Australian kit, and the arm patches of the 6th Battalion, red and purple, and the bronze "Australia" from the shoulder strap, right up to the front Redoubt Line.'

A number of these poignant items were collected by the Historical Mission, while the bodies were buried, mostly in Redoubt Cemetery, by the Imperial War Graves Commission.