On this day: an actor in the Air Force

Chips_RaffertyPilot Officer Goffage RAAF (better known as the Australian actor Chips Rafferty) reading the programme for a revue to be held at the RAAF Base at Gili Gili in the Milne Bay

Film star Chips Rafferty is seen here on the 14th of August, 1943, while he was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Rafferty, born in New South Wales to an English father and Australian mother, rose to prominence in the 1940 war movie Forty Thousand Horsemen. Australia entered World War Two on the 3rd of September, 1939, and Rafferty joined the Air Force on the 29th of May, 1941 – the day after he married Ellen Jameson.

He was discharged  from service on the 13th of February, 1945. In the years after the war he was contracted to England’s Ealing Studios, where he found international fame.

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On this day: the Australian Women’s Army Service was formed

AWASwithOwengunsAWAS with Owen guns. Members of the Australian Women’s Army Service being instructed in the use of the Owen gun at Belmont in Queensland.

Instructions in the use of the Owen gun. Belmont, Queensland. X

The Australian Women’s Army Service, created to release more men into forward positions in the military during the Second World War, was formed on the 13th of August, 1941.

AWAS_-_poster Australian Women's Army Service Recruitment poster

Recruitment Poster

Lae, New Guinea, 25 December 1945. The Right Honourable J.B. Chifley talking to Sergeant Pritchard, AWAS, the only woman interpreter of Japanese in the Australian Army.

Sergeant Pritchard (right), the only Japanese translator in the Australian Army. X

The AWAS was preceded by the Women’s Australian National Service in 1940, where women proved they were capable of performing traditionally male roles.

Awas_in_wa_1943Northam, West Australia. 1943-04-20. The Minister for the Australian Army, the Honourable F.M. Forde, inspecting personnel of the Australian Women's Army Service at the We

The Minister for the Australian Army, the Honourable F.M. Forde, with AWAS members in Western Australia in 1943.

24 026 women were enlisted over the course of the war, and several hundred served in New Guinea.

The AWAS was disbanded in 1947.

On this day: Nagasaki Destroyed

These aerial photographs show the Japanese city of Nagasaki before and after the American nuclear bomb attack on the 9th of August, 1945.

Amongst those in the city at the time of the bombing were thousands of conscripted Korean workers and hundreds of Western (Allied) prisoners of war. Not all of them survived.

Nagasaki_1945_-_Before_and_after_(adjusted) Nagasaki, Japan, before and after the atomic bombing of 9th August, 1945.

On this day: Prisoners of War in Ukraine

Lager Winnica, gefangene Russen

28th July 1941: Red Army soldiers captured by the Nazis during food distribution at a  camp in occupied Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

In contrast to their treatment of British and American prisoners, the Germans employed a policy of deliberately mistreating Soviet prisoners of war, which resulted in 3-3.5 million deaths – an estimated 57% of all soldiers captured.

From the German Federal Archives.

On this day: the Australian Women’s Land Army is formed

AWLA_smoko_timeGroup of women from the Australian Women's Land Army smoking at tea break, seated on dry grass out in the country in the height of summer. Tent, trees and clouds in backgr

 Smoko time with the AWLA

Inspired by Britain’s Women’s Land Army, the Australian Women’s Land Army was created on the 27th of July, 1942. The organisation was formed to combat shortages in the farming industry as the Second World War intensified.

Though Australia had been fighting in the war since 1939, once Japan entered the conflict in 1941, threatening the Pacific, many Australian men were drafted into the army, leaving shortages at home.

A_papier-mache_cow_on_Mrs_Mellor_s_car,_1944A papier-mache cow, used for milking demonstrations at the Werribee experimental farm, Women's Land Army Australia Seconnd World War World W

Field Officer Mrs Mellor ties a papier-mâché cow used in milking demonstrations to the back of her car in Melbourne. 1944.

Women who joined the AWLA took over men’s jobs in the agricultural sector. In order to be eligible for the work women were required to be between eighteen and fifty, and to be either of British origin or to be from a member of the Allied nations.

Women were paid significantly less than men for the same work.

The AWLA was disbanded on the 31st of December, 1945.

On this day: anti-invasion training in England

Troops 8th Battalion The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment abandon their bicycles and advance along a country lane anti-invasion exercises Weybourne in Norfolk 23 July 1941. Second Wo

In this image, dated the 23rd of July, 1941, troops of the 8th Battalion, The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, abandon bicycles to advance along a country lane in Weybourne, Norfolk, England.

The exercise, taking place two years into the Second World War, was part of anti-invasion training.

Weybourne was considered to be at serious risk of invasion during the war, and the area was prepared accordingly, including the laying of mines along the coast.

On this day: Dambusters in Britain

617_Squadron_(dambusters)_at_Scampton_Lincolnshire_22_July_1943_TR1126All were killed when their Lancaster was shot down on the night of 15 - 16 September 1943 during the raid on D

Source

This photograph is dated the 22nd of July, 1943, and shows members of Britain’s Royal Air Force  617 Squadron “dam busters” at Scampton, Lincolnshire.

All of the men in the picture were killed a few weeks later, when they were shot down during the raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal in September.

Their names are:

  • Flight Sergeant J H Payne, gunner
  • Pilot Officer T W Johnson, engineer
  • Sergeant W E Hornby
  • Sergeant L G Mieyette, wireless operator
  • Pilot Officer C H Coles, bomb-aimer
  • Flying Officer J A Rodger, navigator
  • Flight Lieutenant W H S Wilson