Memorial exhibition tells the stories of survival against all odds

27 November 2019

During times of war, courage, determination, and sometimes luck can be all that stands between a person and death, wounding, or capture. The Australian War Memorial’s latest temporary exhibition, Against all odds, explores amazing stories of near misses and survival from the First World War to Afghanistan.

The exhibition focuses on 17 compelling stories of survival, and features objects such as the webbing worn by Sergeant Frank McCristal which stopped a bulletas he raced across no man’s land in 1918, and an an improvised snorkel used by a Viet Cong sapper trying to blow up the USS Meeker County in 1970.  Also on display are original maps used to evade the enemy, and objects such as a water measurer and a pair of scissors, tangible reminders of desperate battles for survival.

Memorial curator Dianne Rutherford said Against all odds is a powerful exhibition that illuminates personal stories of escape and endurance from the beginning of the twentieth century through to contemporary conflicts.

“This exhibition is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Australian nurse Claire Trestrail, for example, was one of the first Australians to face the horrors of the First World War,” she said.

“Nurse Trestail was tasked with caring for wounded Belgian troops in October 1914. After surviving the harrowing shelling of Antwerp by hiding in a basement with her colleagues and patients, she narrowly avoided capture by the Germans escaping over the last bridge out of Antwerp before it was destroyed to stop the advancing German Army.

“Her story of survival is just one of many brought to life by this exhibition.”

Against all odds will be on display in the mezzanine level of Anzac Hall until June 2020.

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