Published: Wed 25 Jun 2014

A collection of private papers from Australia’s First World War corps commander General Sir John Monash was today launched by the Prime Minister, The Hon. Tony Abbott.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson said that Sir John Monash was one of Australia’s most important figures and greatest leaders of the First World War.

“The release today of these papers by the Prime Minister gives all Australian’s a personal insight into the reality of war – the story of devastating defeats and uplifting victories.  As a contemporary analysis of the war and its impact on soldiers and society, it does not glorify the war but gives the reader a clear picture of what was occurring at the time.”

“I encourage all Australians to see and read for themselves the thoughts, personal reflections, leadership, and tactical genius of General Monash.  The papers, official letters, maps, and personal correspondence – over 10,000 pages – document Monash’s experience of the First World War and cover a range of material, from campaign maps to concert programmes.”

“Monash is considered Australia’s most successful First World War military leader – this collection of papers gives a comprehensive view of his wartime military career and his personal reflections at that time,” he said.

“The release of Monash’s papers in an online format allows not only Australians but people from across the world to delve into the life of this most significant historical figure.”

At the outbreak of war Monash was appointed to command the 4th Infantry Brigade. After the Gallipoli campaign he was promoted to command the new 3rd Australian Division, which took part in fighting at Messines, at Passchendaele, and on the Somme.  In August 1918, Monash led the brilliant victory of Australian and allied forces at Le Hamel, the so-called ‘model victory’ which paved the way for the end of the war only a few months later.

By the end of the First World War Monash had been promoted to lieutenant general and was decorated by the French, Belgian, and American governments for his actions throughout the war. He was later promoted to general and knighted in the field by King George V.

The digitisation of Monash’s wartime papers is part of the Memorial’s Anzac connections project, a centenary initiative that delivers First World War private records to the Australian public.

The Memorial has one of the largest digitised collections of personal papers from the First World War freely available online.  Further collections will be uploaded over the centenary years and can be found online at http://www.awm.gov.au/1914-1918/anzac-connections.  Other institutions across Australia are also digitising their First World War paper collections to mark the centenary.

 

Contact:               Diane Morris                      02 6206 9825                       media@awm.gov.au

                            Allan Yates                        02 6243 4383                       0421 150 229

                            Brad Rowswell (Minister Ronaldson)                               0417 917 796

 

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