If you’re living in, or planning a trip to, the USA you should bookmark this link (also shown below). Compiled by the US Army Center of Military History, which is responsible for recording the history of the US Army, it is a state by state listing of all the US Army museums in the country.
The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is a traveling exhibition that mainly tells the story of Australia’s involvement in the First World War, but also has some additional information about the Australian armed forces involvement in subsequent operations. The latter is restricted to information panels, videos and here in Perth, a Bushmaster provided by one of the local Army Reserve units, the 10th Light Horse.
The bulk of the displays follow a chronological timeline spanning the period just before the outbreak of World War 1 until armistice in 1918, with visitors using an audio guide, which provides contextual information to supplement the items on display.
As can be expected with a traveling exhibition aimed at a general audience, the bulk of the stuff being presented consists of photographs, ephemera and didactic information panels along with (mostly) smaller items that are easy to transport and display. The exhibits are well displayed though and visitors pass through trench-like passageways as they move from one section to the next. For Western Australian leg of the tour most of the items originate from the Australian War Memorial collection but also include artifacts from the Army Museum of Western Australia as each stage of the tour includes a local ‘flavour’ curating stories from the area visited.
Entry is free, although bookings have to be made prior to visiting and entry is controlled to ensure that all attendees have an audio guide. The audio is quite good providing context and automatically updating to reflect where ever the visitor is standing at any given point during their visit. It also provides for an option to have additional information about certain exhibits sent via email should something be of interest.
Overall, whilst I was slightly disappointed by the lack of post WW1 display items, it was quite an enjoyable visit and I think that I will drop by again for another look before the show moves to its next location.
The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is on display at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre until 11 December 2016.
Touring dates and visitor information for the exhibition can be found at http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/events/spirit-anzac-centenary-experience
I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Melbourne and on Sunday afternoon, just before heading to the airport I found that I had a couple of hours to kill whilst ‘she who must be obeyed’ spent some time with her sister. I was at Flinders street station so decided to take a walk down St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance. The walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes and is quite a pleasant stroll, but in retrospect I should have taken the 5 minute tram ride (‘Stop 19 – Shrine of Remembrance’) as it would have given me more time to explore the new Galleries of Remembrance which were still under development last time I visited, back in mid 2014. But, it was a spur of the moment decision and whilst I regret not having more time to look at the exhibits it gave me a taster for my next visit.
Built in 1934, the Shrine is the Victorian state war memorial. It was built to help a grieving Victorian community which lost 19,000 of it’s 114,000 enlistees killed in the First World War. They were buried in distant graves at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad. The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could share their individual and collective grief for the lives that they had lost. Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, both World War 1 veterans, it is located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road and was opened on the 11th of November 1934.
The Galleries of Remembrance were opened to the public on 11 November 2014. It utilizes 1600 square meters in a cathedral-like chamber beneath the Shrine and exhibits over 800 items illustrating the Australian experience of war from the 1850’s until the present day. Because of the time limitations I had, I did not go into the Shrine itself this time, but instead opted to check out these displays. Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t the greatest as they were just snapped on my iphone, but they will give you an idea of what is on the display.
The Shrine of Remembrance is located on Birdwood Avenue and St Kilda Road, 1.3km from Flinders Street Railway Station. It can be reached by a nice 10 minute walk or by any St Kilda road south bound tram except route number 1. Disembark at tram stop 19 or the Domain Road interchange. If you are using the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus, disembark at Stop 13.
Admission is free and it is open from 10:00 until 17:00 (last entry 16:30) everyday except Good Friday and Christmas Day. For more information visit the Shrine of Remembrance website here.
This photograph, showing indigenous Indochinese infantrymen is number 16 in a series that was taken by one Dr Hocquard who was a medical officer stationed in French Indochina in the late 19th century. It was first published in Paris in 1886 as part of a series of works in “Le Tonkin, Vues Photographiques Prises Par Mr le Dr Hocquard, Médecin-Major” which was edited by Henri Cremnitz.
It is a Woodburytype (French: Photoglyptie) print which is a photo-mechanical process developed by Walter B. Woodbury in 1864. The process produces continuous tone images in slight relief. A chromated gelatin film is exposed under a photographic negative, which hardens in proportion to the amount of light. This is then developed in hot water to soften and remove all the unexposed gelatin, then dried. The remaining relief is pressed into a sheet of lead using a press that exerts 5000 psi resulting in an intaglio plate which is used as a mold and is filled with pigmented gelatin. The gelatin layer is then pressed onto a paper support.
The series of images that comprise “Le Tonkin, Vues Photographiques Prises Par Mr le Dr Hocquard, Médecin-Major” is held by the French national military museum, the Musée de l’Armée in Paris.
Sgt Matthew ‘Locky’ Locke MG, Australian Special Air Service Regiment. Killed in Action whilst on patrol as part of Operation Spin Gear in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan 25 October 2007. Lest We Forget.
Sergeant Matthew Locke enlisted into the Australian Regular Army on the 11 June, 1991. After he completed his Recruit Training at Kapooka, he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and commenced his Initial Employment Training at Singleton, New South Wales on the 10 September 1991. At the completion of his Initial Employment Training, Matthew was posted to the 5th/7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
Matthew had a flair for Infantry training and whilst at the 5th/7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, he completed Driver Courses, Basic Mortar Course, promotion courses and became a Small Arms Coach.
It was obvious that Matthew wanted to be challenged as a soldier so in November 1997, Matthew successfully completed the Special Air Service Selection Course. Over the next two years, Matthew completed another 15 specialist courses ranging from patrolling, demolitions, diving, parachuting, and medical. Matthew was posted to the 3rd Special Air Service Squadron.
Sergeant Locke was awarded the Medal for Gallantry, the Australian Active Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the United Nations Medal with the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor Ribbon, the Iraq Clasp to the Australian Active Service Medal, the International Coalition Against Terrorism Clasp to the Australian Active Service Medal, the Infantry Combat Badge and the Returned from Active Service Badge.
During Sergeant Locke’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following Operations:
a. OPERATION TANAGER (East Timor) – 2001;
b. OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – 2002, 2004, 2006 & 2007; and
c. OPERATION CATALYST (Iraq) – 2004, 2005, 2007.
Medal for Gallantry:
Sergeant Locke was awarded the Medal for Gallantry in December 2006. The medal citation read:
“For gallantry in action in hazardous circumstances as the second-in-command of a Special Air Service Regiment patrol in the Special Forces Task Group whilst deployed on Operation Slipper, Afghanistan, in 2006.
During the conduct of an operation, a patrol, with Sergeant Locke as second-in-command, were tasked with establishing an Observation Post in extremely rugged terrain over looking an Anti-Coalition Militia sanctuary. After an arduous 10 hour foot-infiltration up the side of the mountain, the patrol was called into action to support elements of the Combined Task Force Special Forces patrol that were in contact with the Anti-Coalition Militia in the valley floor to their north. After the engagement, Sergeant Locke’s patrol remained in their location and was the only coalition ground element with visibility of the target area.
During the course of the next day the patrol continued to coordinate offensive air support against identified Anti-Coalition Militia positions in order to further disrupt and degrade the enemy’s morale.
During the afternoon, the Observation Post became the focus of the Anti-Coalition Militia who made repeated attempts by day and night to overrun and surround the position. In one such incident the Anti-Coalition Militia attempted to outflank the Observation Post and Sergeant Locke without regard for his own personal safety, led a two-man team to locate and successfully neutralise the Anti-Coalition Militia in order to regain the initiative and protect his patrol from being overrun.
This particular incident was followed by another Anti-Coalition Militia attempt to manoeuvre to attack the patrol Observation Post from another flank. Sergeant Locke, again with little regard for his personal safety, adopted a fire position that was exposed on high ground which dominated the planned Anti-Coalition Militia assault. Whilst deliberately exposing himself to intense rifle and machine gun fire from the Anti-Coalition Militia, he again neutralised the lead assaulting elements whilst suppressing other Militia until the arrival of offensive air support. Whilst still under sustained fire, Sergeant Locke then directed indirect fire to effectively neutralise another Anti-Coalition Militia advance on his patrol’s position. The courageous and gallant actions of Sergeant Locke were instrumental in regaining the initiative from the Anti-Coalition Militia and allowing the successful exfiltration of the patrol on foot prior to first light the next day.
Sergeant Locke’s actions of gallantry whilst under enemy fire in extremely hazardous circumstances, displayed courage of the highest order and is in keeping with the finest traditions of Special Operations Command-Australia, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.“
A little while back I was fortunate enough to get hold of a couple of badges that an Australian soldier brought back on a ‘badge belt’ which he had put together whilst serving in the Western Desert campaign during World War 2. The two badges are a South African Air Force cap badge and a rare sand-cast ‘Winged Boot’ badge, which I believe is related to the SAAF badge.
The ‘Winged Boot’ award was an official award, presented by the Late Arrivals Club which originated amongst members of the South African Air Force members of the RAF Western Desert Group in June 1941. The award was presented to servicemen whose aircraft had crashed or been shot down behind enemy lines and had to walk back to the Allied forces. The badge was sand cast and included varying amounts of silver content. This particular badge appears to me, to be mainly brass, but it’s provenance makes it undoubtedly original.
The award badge was presented along with a certificate, which contained the motto, “It is never too late to come back” was to be worn on the pleat of the left pocket, just below the flap. Whilst predominantly a commonwealth award, it was also adopted by some US servicemen (utilising a bullion variation of the design), primarily in the European and CBI theatres.
There is also a short news clip about the Late Arrivals Club showing both the badge and certificate which can also be seen on the Pathe News site.
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I’ll add this to the links list, but for anybody interested in the conflict in Indochina, the Vietnam War Resource site is probably the best online source for information covering all aspects of the war.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with armies and military history. My parents recall that I was marching around the house as soon as I could walk and there was never any problem with finding suitable birthday or Christmas presents… toy soldiers, toy guns or books about anything military related.
I started collecting militaria whilst still in primary school and this hobby has continued until the present day, although ironically it slowed somewhat during the time that I spent in the Australian Regular Army, when I was more interested in collecting the phone numbers of females of questionable virtue than acquiring the accoutrements associated with my day to day ‘work’. After a decade of ‘playing soldiers’ full time I decided to go back to being a ‘weekend warrior’, go study and eventually get a ‘real’ job. Still haven’t fount that ‘real’ job yet…I’ve done security, worked as a nightclub bouncer and also in a sex shop. I’ve been a private-investigator, photojournalist, commercial photographer and most recently as lecturer in the media department of a highly respected tertiary institution but still no ‘proper’ job as such. But getting out of the army did make me go back to collecting with a passion.
From an early age my focus has been on unconventional warfare units, airborne, commandos and Special Forces. Growing up in South Africa during the 70’s I became fascinated by the famed ‘Parabats’, Recces as well as the Selous Scouts and SAS. Around 1977 my parents, who always indulged my whims, took me to a militaria dealer who owned a shop called Don’s Coins & Medals in Tulbagh Square near the Cape Town foreshore. With my saved pocket money I was able to secure my first set of parachutist’s wings, an Israeli master parachutist badge attributed to a Lt Col Dan Shomron of the IDF. About a year or so later, dad brought a copy of Bragg & Turners first book, “Parachute Badges & Insignia of the World” from the library. I loved that book, I made him photocopy every page of the illustrations and I was hooked. My collecting now had a distinct focus.
Three and a half decades later, collecting parachutist wings and special forces insignia is still my primary interest and I’ve been fortunate enough to earn my own and also serve in some of the units that I collect… Which has proven to be useful, particularly in this internet age where crooks and conmen reproduce and create fantasy insignia on an almost weekly basis in an attempt to make collectors part with their hard earned cash. It kinda helps to have the contacts in the units to verify some of the bullshit claims, but also gives me access to some interesting and unique items for my own collection.
I also travel quite a lot and when I’m on the road I always try to seek out bits & pieces for my own collection as well as visit any places of military interest… battlefields, museums, dealers and flea markets. Which is kind of what this blog is about…my trip reports, insights and rants (not always sober, I warn you) about collecting militaria or things military related. Unless otherwise stated, the content and opinions are my own. I retain the copyright on all my photographs and text, if you would like to use any of the content you see here, please ensure that you contact me before you do so that I can provide the appropriate usage license… otherwise the shit-rain will come down.