On this day: Australian troops in France

Troops of the Australian 7th Brigade (Australian 2nd Division) pass the former German bunker known as “Gibraltar” in Pozières, France on the 28th of August, 1916.

The Battle of Pozières was part of the larger Battle of the Somme, which claimed around a million casualties. Pozières marked a victory against the German Empire for Australia, with the help of British troops. First World War.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Gibraltar_bunker_Pozieres_(AWM_EZ0098)Australian 7th Brigade (Australian 2nd Division) pass former German bunker known as Gibraltar western end of Pozières 28 August 1916 during the Bat

Advertisements

Fifty-Four Years Ago

New York City Ballet in Amsterdam Suzanne Farrell. 25th August 1965.

Here’s a picture of “baby ballerina” Suzanne Farrell of New York City Ballet, mid-pirouette while on tour in Amsterdam fifty-four years ago. 25th August 1965.

Farrell’s autobiography is Holding On to the Air.

On this day: a bid for independence

a sign “ukraine is leaving the ussr” at the rally in support of the nation_s independence next to ukraine_s verkhovna rada in kyiv on 24 august, 1991.

24th August 1991: Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, people gather in Kyiv, Ukraine to demonstrate in favour of independence. The sign reads, “Ukraine is leaving the USSR”.

Demonstrations for freedom from Moscow broke out across the USSR in 1991. Some were violently crushed by the Soviet Army, on instructions from the communist government, resulting in civilian deaths.

On this day…

eyam_church_derbyshire_1890 england victorian britain

The church in Eyam, circa 1890.

Tomorrow the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England recognises “Plague Sunday”.

The day remembers the decision of the village’s reverend and his wife – in 1665 – to convince the plague-stricken residents to barricade themselves in so that the disease wouldn’t spread to other villages in the area.

Hundreds of people died, but other communities survived.

Below is a picture from last year, when we visited the old well on a hilltop outside the village, which is where others would come to leave the people of Eyam food.

cof

Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of Danger Close – The Battle of Long Tan last night with some Vietnam veterans (including my father) and other members of the Australian Defence Force. They actually had a counsellor there just in case, and now I understand why – it was quite the experience.

Long Tan is the best-known battle Australia (and New Zealand) fought in the Vietnam War, but I was still amazed both by the quality of the movie, and the actors in it. The “face” of the movie is Major Harry Smith, played by Travis Fimmel, of Vikings fame.

In the 1960s my father was an armoured personnel carrier driver stationed in Nui Dat, which is the base under attack in the movie. He later fought another major battle only a few kilometres from the base: Binh Ba, which had its fiftieth anniversary this year.

It was amazing to see people my father knows portrayed on the big screen, and to know people who consulted on the film.

I would strongly recommend this movie, as long as you’re prepared for it. It’s very confronting, and that much sadder because none of it is fiction.

On this day…

Freed Korean “Comfort Women” – women forced to work as sex slaves for the Empire of Japan during the Second World War – talk to US soldiers in a photograph dated the 14th of August, 1944.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of women from Asia, as well as several hundred from the Netherlands and Australia, were treated this way.

Captured_comfort_women_in_Myitkyina_on_August_14_in_1944 Comfort Women - women forced to work as sex slaves for the Empire of Japan - after being freed by US soldiers. 14th August 1944. X

Here is the official caption of the photograph:

“Three Korean “comfort girls” (captured in Burma), photographed while being interrogated by Capt. Won Loy Chan (San Francisco, California), Tech. Sgt. Robert Honda (Hawaii) and Sgt. Hirabayashi (Seattle, Washington), all of the G-2 Myitkyina Task Force of the U.S. Army.”