On this day: Arras in Ruins

This image of Arras, France was taken on the 26th of May, 1917. It shows the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) in ruins.

Arras was near the front line of the First World War, and saw significant battles from as early as 1914.

Ruins_of_the_Hôtel_de_Ville,_Arras_on_26_May_1917 Ruins of the Hôtel de Ville, Arras on 26 May 1917.

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On this day: the death of a soldier

Light_horse_walersAustralian Imperial Force prior to their departure from Australia in November 1914. right is Trooper William Harry Rankin Woods, 1st Light Horse Regiment, who died of w

Trooper William Harry Rankin

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The Australian Imperial Force, the Australian Army’s expeditionary force in the First World War, was formed in August of 1914. The mounted Australian Light Horse made up part of this force.

This photograph was taken in November, 1914. The troops – both lighthorsemen – would soon leave Australia to fight.

Trooper William Harry Rankin is pictured on the right. He would go on to fight at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire, where he was killed on the 15th of May, 1915.

Rankin, from the New South Wales town of Mudgee, was thirty-nine at the time of his death.

Anzac Day

Military_cross_and_othersMilitary cross and bar, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45 (L-R) - Australian War Mem

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Today is Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealand’s major day to recognise the military. Australia’s national service takes place at the War Memorial here in Canberra, and we often go to visit the museum afterwards (my father is a veteran).

Of course, this year is a significant one, as it is a hundred years since the First World War ended.

This year is also significant in Australia, as in Canberra and a number of other cities women veterans will be marching together. Why? Because in recent years they have been suffering abuse from strangers who accuse them of wearing their father’s medals – apparently many people still refuse to believe women can serve!

 

Winter 1916

Pow_Winter_Recreation_Art_IWMART17084 German Prisoners of War Recreation Alexandra Palace London 1916 First World War One

This painting, from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, shows German prisoners of war playing in the snow outside Alexandra Palace in London.

At the beginning of the First World War the area housed Belgian refugees, but as the war continued it was transformed into an internment camp for Germans and Austrians.

On this day: Australian Soldiers in Egypt

Group portrait of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force posing on the Great Pyramid of Giza on 10 January 1915, prior to the

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10th January 1915: Members of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force pose for a group photograph on the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Australians did a lot of their training in the country.

In April of the same year they would take part in the infamous landings at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). 378 men in this battalion were amongst the 26 111 Australian casualties, which included 8141 deaths.

The Christmas Truce, 1916.

The_Christmas_Truce_on_the_Western_Front,_1914_Q5072025th December 1916 British and German troops meet in No-Man's Land to bury their dead during an unofficial truce on Christmas Day. Fi

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25th December 1914. First World War: British and German troops meet in No-Man’s Land to bury their dead during an unofficial truce on Christmas Day. The men were killed in fighting on the 18th.

On this day: Australians take New Guinea from the Germans

16th December 1914 Australian flag-raising ceremony in Angorum, New Guinea. Proclamation of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force taking control of the country from the G

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This photograph was taken in 1914, several months into the First World War.

At the outbreak of the war part of New Guinea, a large island in Oceania, was under German control. Australia, whose mainland is about 150 kilometres from the island, raised the Australian flag in a ceremony on the 16th of December.