To Flanders fields, 1917
To mark the 90th anniversary of the battles of 1917, the Memorial presented an exhibition, To Flanders fields, 1917. The service, courage and sacrifice of Australian soldiers will be depicted through photographs, film and historical material from all the Memorial’s rich collections. A feature of the exhibition will be paintings and film borrowed from museums in Belgium.
In the Australian experience of war, no year has been more tragic than 1917. It was a period that ended much as it had begun with the diggers bogged in the muddy trenches of France and Belgium. In the intervening 12 months great battles were fought at Bullecourt, Messines, and in the third battle of Ypres.
The culmination of fighting was the attempt to take a village whose name – “Passchendaele” – would invoke painful memories of suffering and grief for a whole generation.
A special painting, Menin Gate at midnight by Will Longstaff (1927), features in this exhibition. Tens of thousands of British and Empire troops remain “missing” in France and Belgium. Some lie in nameless graves while the remains of others have never been found. The Menin Gate at Ypres records the names of 55,000 of the missing in Belgium, and a similar number are recorded elsewhere; there are 35,000 names on the Tyne Cot memorial, including the names of 6,000 Australians missing in Belgium.
Why not take home a memento of this exhibition. Purchase the To Flanders fields, 1917 exhibition catalogue. It’s 44 pages, illustrated, and sells for AUD $7.95. It can be purchased at the Memorial’s shop or online.
Where to find more
Use these resources on our site to learn about the Australian experience of the First World War.
Volume IV – The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1917
Volume VII – The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, 1914–1918
Volume VIII – The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War, 1914–1918
Volume IX – The Royal Australian Navy, 1914–1918