Darge Photographic Company collection of negatives

Accession Number DAAV00006A
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white - Glass original half plate negative
Maker Darge Photographic Company
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Point Cook
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Informal portrait of trainee pilot Captain (Capt) Thomas Walter White, Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at the controls of a Bristol Boxkite at the Central Flying School, Point Cook, Victoria. A manufacturer from Carlton, Victoria prior to enlistment, Capt White embarked with the AFC from Melbourne on RMS Morea on 20 April 1915. A Half Flight including Capt white was sent to India and temporarily gazetted into the Indian Army. Later gazetted into the Royal Flying Corps, he volunteered for a mission to destroy Turkish telegraph lines situated behind the enemy’s position near Baghdad. Due to the difficulty in landing, his aircraft was damaged but, while he held off enemy troops, his observer managed to destroy the telegraph lines. Unable to take off again he was captured by the Turks and held as a prisoner of war at Mosul and then at Afion-Kara-Hissar. After becoming ill he was transferred to Constantinople where, accompanied by a British officer, he managed to escape. They avoided capture and reached Salonika on 10th November 1918. For his conduct while a prisoner he was twice Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his overall service during the operation. He chose to be demobilised in England so that he could return to Australia via the United States. Later marrying Vera Deakin, the daughter of the former Prime Minister, he served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the CMF and wrote a book about his experiences titled ‘Guests of the Unspeakable.” He was elected to the Australian Parliament in 1929 and went on to serve for 22 years. When the Second World War broke out he took leave from Parliament to serve with the Citizen Air Force and while in London, published a ‘story in verse’ titled Sky Saga. Returning to Australia he served at the RAAF staff school as an honorary Group Captain. Later resigning from Parliament he served as the Australian High Commissioner to Great Britain and was knighted. On 13 October 1957 he died from a heart attack and was buried in Point Lonsdale Cemetery. This is one of a series of photographs taken by the Darge Photographic Company which had the concession to take photographs at the Broadmeadows and Seymour army camps during the First World War. In the 1930s, the Australian War Memorial purchased the original glass negatives from Algernon Darge, along with the photographers' notebooks. The notebooks contain brief details, usually a surname or unit name, for each negative.

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