Bringing the boys home: the massive task of repatriation
Free public talk
BAE Systems Theatre, 12.30pm
By the end of the war some 170,000 Australian soldiers stationed in France, England, and Egypt still had to be brought home. Many had taken English wives, and these, together with the resultant children, were adding to repatriation numbers. Beyond this, the Repatriation Section of the Australian Imperial Force Headquarters in London was also juggling the return of thousands of guns, horses, stores, and luggage. Those waiting to come home had to be fed, housed, and entertained. Ships had to be acquired in a world where shipping was stretched to its thinnest returning men to every corner of the globe while trying to maintain global trading obligations. This enormous undertaking was a magnificent feat of organisation, and Australia’s last true operation of the Great War.