Author: amwebmaster

YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 14 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia remains temporarily closed for public visits during current COVID-19 restrictions. Army continues to review the situation, on a national perspective, as restriction levels are adjusted.

Each week, the Museum will continue to present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Large Technology Object – 15 Pounder Field Gun 1898

DESCRIPTION

Ordnance BL 15-pounder, otherwise known as the 15-pounder 7 cwt, was the British Army‘s field gun in the Second Boer War.  It fired a shell of 3-inch diameter with a maximum weight of 15 pounds (6.8 kg), [production shell weight was actually 14 pounds] hence its name which differentiated it from its predecessor ’12-pounder’ 3-inch gun which fired shells weighing only 12.5 pounds (5.7 kg). Prior to the Boer War, two Mk 1 versions of the gun were delivered to Western Australia.  In the next decade, the rapid evolution of Quick Fire (QF) artillery technology saw the 15 pounder was replaced by the 18-pounder. This gun was subsequently on outdoor display at the main entrance of Swan Barracks, Perth for many years. The gun was restored by the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA in 2001 and later transferred to the Army Museum for public display.

 HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 The Ordnance BL 15 pounder, (15 pounder 7 cwt) was a modified version of the previous BL 12 pounder 7 cwt gun of 1883. When the modern smokeless propellant cordite replaced gunpowder in 1892 it was decided that the 12 pounder was capable of firing a heavier shell up to 15 lb (6.8 kg). A 14 pound shell was adopted and the gun was renamed a 15 pounder. The switch to smokeless powder considerably reduced “the fog of war” on the battlefield.

In 1897, eight 15 pounder barrels were sent to Australia where carriages were manufactured to Ordnance Board specifications. Six completed guns were assigned to New South Wales and two to Western Australia. As Western Australia provided primarily mounted infantry contingents to the Boer War, this gun saw no operational service.

The Mk I carriage recoil, as present on this gun, was controlled by drag-shoes. These were placed under the wheels and were connected by chains and cables to the wheel hubs and the trail. Later versions had a rudimentary recoil system consisting of a “spade” beneath the axle which dug in when the gun recoiled, connected by a steel wire to a spring in a cylinder on the trail. Although the whole gun jumped and moved backwards on firing, the spring returned it to firing position increasing the rate of fire compared to the old model without any recoil mechanism. “It is said that it checked it [recoil] so well that the gun usually recoiled 1 foot and jumped forward 2 feet”.

Outdoor display at Swan Barracks resulted in considerable deterioration. Conservation works undertaken by the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of Western Australia included fabrication of the missing breech and brakes/recoil system and re-fabrication of the gun wheels.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Extensive glossary of British ordnance terms and technology

https://thereaderwiki.com/en/Glossary_of_British_ordnance_terms

Two customs directly related to the 15 Pounder BL gun originated at Queen Victoria’s funeral – the use of a horse drawn gun carriage to convey the coffin and the hauling of the gun carriage by naval ratings.

https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/queen-victoria-death-funeral-mask-cause/

Opposing artilleries during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War.

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol022dh.html

The breech mechanism was one factor in increased rate of fire.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:QF_15_pounder_gun_breech_mechanism_diagrams.jpg

Ammunition system for the 15 pounder 7 cwt BL gun

https://readtiger.com/img/wkp/en/15pdrShrapnelShellMkVIDiagram.jpg

In the Second Boer War 349 15 pounder BL guns were in service 1899–1902 and fired 166,548 shells out of the British total of 233,714. The gun could fire a shell up to 5800 yards, the No. 56 time and percussion fuze in use in 1899 could only be set for a maximum timed range of 4100 yards because it only burned for 13 seconds. The shrapnel shells in use were usually time-set to burst in the air above and in front of the enemy. Hence the gunners had to get within approximately 4200 yards of the enemy to fire on them. The need to get forward had fatal consequences for British gunners at the battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Colenso

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 10 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

 

Rottnest Island is open again and ready for your visit. Unfortunately, the Museum and West End remain closed due to ongoing renovation and construction. Full tours with social distancing are now being offered Oliver Hill and the Lighthouse, Our family oriented School Holiday program is now underway.

 In the meantime, to help you maintain contact with your favourite Island, the Defence Heritage Committee will continue to present a weekly photo and tell a related story from its collections and archives.

 UNIVERSAL OR BREN GUN CARRIER

DESCRIPTION

The Carden-Loyd series Universal or Bren Gun Carrier  is the common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles. The Carrier was widely used during World War 2 to  transport personnel and equipment, mostly support weapons, or as machine gun platforms. This example was built at the State Engineering Works in North Fremantle. This example featured at the event commemorating the proof firing of H1 and H2 guns in 2013.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The first carriers – the Bren Carrier and the Scout Carrier with specific roles – entered service before World War 2, but a single improved design that could replace these, the Universal, was introduced in 1940. With a crew of 2 to 5 depending on its role and powered by a Ford V8 water cooled engine, it had a top speed of 50 kilometres per hour and a range of 250 kilometres.

The first carriers manufactured in Australia was designated the LP1 (Local Pattern). They were produced in 1940 from plans copied from a single early model Carrier Bren No 2 Mk 1 imported from Britain in 1940. About 160 were built in Victorian before production switched to the improved LP2. Electric arc welding replaced hand riveting and a greater variety of weapons could be mounted instead of the original Vickers machine gun. This included Vickers, Bren, Hotchkiss and Lewis machine guns.

Between 1941 and 1943 approximately 4,800 carriers were built in four states; Ford Homebush in Sydney; Victorian Railways and Gas Works in Melbourne; South Australian Railways at Islington and State Engineering Works in North Fremantle.

The first production of 2,700 LP2 models had tools externally mounted on the left hull plate and the rear apron. Later models had all tools were mounted at the rear. Later models also had a changed interior layout to permit the mounting of a No 9 or No 11 radio at the right rear.

Post-war these carriers were sold off at surplus. Mostly they were purchased for their drive trains which were the same as Ford trucks. On the farm, the carriers proved too highly geared and light weight to be used as bulldozers or tractors.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

This video tells all you would want to know about the Carrier

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nTsnfEAjzI

75th Anniversary Program – Kingstown, Bickley and Oliver Hill, October 2013

https://www.avidevents.com.au/portfolio-posts/rottnest-island-75th-artillery-anniversary/

Bickley Conservation for 75th anniversary

https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/heritage-successes-preserve-history-ng-ya-367029

Build your own 1/35 scale model of a Bren Gun Carrier

https://www.frontlinehobbies.com.au/tamiya-1-35-british-universal-carrier-t35175

Australian camouflage during World War 2

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/journal/j38/camouflage

Camouflage patterns – 13 basic design options

https://www.heddels.com/2015/01/understanding-camo-13-patterns-know/

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION

 

A Bren gun carrier of the 6th Aust Infantry Battalion, landing from an FBE raft (half floating bay), after having been towed to the landing site at Point Walter by a launch of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol [commanded by  Lt Roland Smith, RANVR and operating from HMAS Leeuwin II – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club] during exercises at 3 Aust Corps Combined Operations Training Centre. February 1943.

LP2 Carriers at the State Engineering Works, North Fremantle

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 13 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

28TH Battalion Australian Imperial Force Regimental Colour

DESCRIPTION

Dark green with gold fringe. In the centre the battalion colour patch of a white over blue diamond within a circle inscribed “TWENTY EIGHTH INFANTRY”, the whole surrounded with a wreath of Australian wattle and surmounted by the Crown. In the upper canton the Arabic numeral “28”.
Battle Honours emblazoned on the colour are:
POZIERES, BULLECOURT, YPRES 1917, MENIN ROAD, PASSCHENDAELE, AMIENS, MONT ST QUENTIN, HINDENBURG LINE, GALLIPOLI 1915, EGYPT 1915-16  

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Colour was presented by Lieutenant-General Sir JJ Talbot Hobbs, KCB, KCMG, VD, LLD at a parade held on the Esplanade, Perth, 22 October 1927.

With the re-activation of the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) following the Second World War, the 16th/28th Infantry Battalion (The Cameron Highlanders of Western Australia) was raised as a linked battalion in 1948 to carry on the identity and traditions of the pre-war 16th and 28th Battalions respectively. The King’s and Regimental Colours formerly held by these two battalions were passed on to the new battalion who paraded them in rotation on ceremonial occasions.

The above battalion became unlinked in March 1952 and 28th Infantry Battalion (The Swan Regiment) became an independent battalion within its own right. The former colours of 28th Battalion were handed back at a parade at Northam Camp on 24 August 1952.

Under major reorganisation of the CMF in 1960, all individual infantry battalions that existed at the time within each State were amalgamated to form State regiments, taking effect from 1 July 1960. Thus from that date the 11/44th, 16th and 28th Infantry Battalions were amalgamated to form The Royal Western Australia Regiment. In September 1960, at a ceremonial parade held at Northam Camp, the Colours carried by all former battalions were handed over for safe keeping by the new regiment.

These former colours were subsequently laid up in the undercroft at the State War Memorial, King’s Park on 29 November 1964. These were transferred to the Army Museum of WA in 1988 as part of the Bicentenary Colours Project..

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Discover the Tradition of Regimental Colours in the Australian Army

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/traditions/colours-standards-guidons-and-banners

Ceremonial Parade for the Consecration of Colours 1927

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/79513934?searchTerm=Hobbs&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1927-10-09|||dateTo=1927-10-31|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||sortby

Handover of 28 Battalion Colours to Swan Regiment 1952

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/252532178?searchTerm=Swan%20AND%20(Colours)&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords=Colours|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1952-08-03|||dateTo=1952-08-31|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

Collections Care Manual  Western Australian Museum https://manual.museum.wa.gov.au/book/export/html/127                                   

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Lewis guns on the firing line, the switch from manpower to firepower

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/history-in-focus/a-revolution-in-military-affairs

 The Blue and White Diamond 28th Battalion by Neville Browning

This book contains a history of the 28th Battalion AIF from 1915 to 1919.

https://regimental-books.com.au/product/the-blue-and-white-diamond-28th-battalion-2nd-edition/

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 9 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island is open again and ready for your visit. Unfortunately, the Museum and West End remain closed due to ongoing renovation and construction. Surface only tours are being offered Oliver Hill and the Lighthouse, Other Guide services including a School Holiday program are being progressively implemented.

 In the meantime, to help you maintain contact with your favourite Island, the Defence Heritage Committee will continue to present a weekly photo and tell a related story from its collections and archives.

 PHOTOGRAPH – BUILDING A RAILWAY EMBANKMENT

Horse drawn scoops and hand labour with wheelbarrows constructing the railway embankment from Bickley Swamp to Oliver Hill. Horse scoops are contracted. Most hand labourers are on the Dole. Over 13 kilometres of 3 foot 6 inch narrow gauge rail line were constructed by the end of 1938.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 It would take an average 1930s wheelbarrow 12-15 trips to shift 1 cubic metre of dry sand with a total weight of 1,600 kilos. An embankment 100 metres long, 2 metres wide and 1 metre deep would require 3,000 barrow loads to shift the 32 metric tons (32,000 kilos) of dry sand needed to form the embankment proper not taking into account material in a safe angle of repose on either side to hold it in place.

The construction of roads and the rail line marked the start of the creation of the Rottnest Island Fortress. The 3 foot 6 inch gauge military railway ran from the Army Jetty to Oliver Hill, with spur lines to the Kingstown Barracks and Bickley Battery. Once construction was completed, the engines and support equipment operated from facilities at Kingstown Barracks.

The rail line was particularly important, as it enabled heavy loads to be transported from the jetty to the building sites, and later carried the guns and associated equipment. The tender for construction of the rail line was let to John Dunstan and Son in November 1935 at the contract amount of £13,364. The completion date was set for March 1936, just 5 months.

The original rail line between Oliver Hill and Kingstown Barracks has been maintained, extended to the Settlement, and now carries visitors to and from the gun site. The rolling stock is named after Brigadier Bertram Frank Hussey.  In the lead-up to WW2, as a Captain, he was seconded from the Army to oversee the construction of the railway on Rottnest.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 The Susso or the Dole?

https://lottiehopkins.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/the-susso-the-dole/

Keeping the line operational.

https://www.arcinfra.com/newsroom/Ensuring-the-future-of-Rottnest-railway

Horse drawn scrapper (starts at minute 12:40)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqnDf4piX2w

You do the math: How many cubic metres of sand are required to build a 2 metre wide embankment 3 kilometres long with a starting depth of 1 metre and finishing depth of 2 metres with 45 degree slopes extending either side? (Hint: Break down into component volumes)

The Captain Hussey for whom the train is named –

https://archives.org.au/Bertram_Frank_Hussey

The muddle of rail gauges in Australia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_gauge_in_Australia

Did you know that the original engines for the railway came from an abandoned naval base project at Henderson, hence the suburb name. [A future Virtual Visit will talk about the Crayfish and the Crab]

https://history.cockburn.wa.gov.au/Wartime/Military-and-home-defence/Training-at-Naval-Base-10th-Light-Horse-and-more

https://www.cockburnlibraries.com.au/blog/suburban-history-henderson/

PHOTOS FROM THE COLLECTION

The line begins – early construction at the jetty before installation of the gantry

Breaking and shifting limestone as ballast

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 12 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Home Front Diorama – 1942 – Anderson Shelter

DESCRIPTION

1:1 Scale diorama of two service women in a replica backyard Anderson shelter in a Perth backyard in 1943. On the left is a member of the Australian Women’s Army Service and on the right a Voluntary Aid Detachment member. The Anderson shelter was a small and cheap shelter that could be erected in people’s gardens. Within a few months nearly one and a half million Anderson Shelters were distributed in London to areas expected to be bombed by the Luftwaffe. Similar shelters were later available for purchase in Australia.

ISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Anderson Air Raid Shelter or Air Raid Precaution (ARP) shelter was a prefabricated kit consisting of a 4-piece angle-iron base frame, 6-piece dome section of curved corrugated iron, and corrugated iron end sheets. It was designed c1938 by Sir William Paterson at the request of British Home Secretary and Minster for Home Security, John Anderson (after whom it was named), and was based on an earlier design by Dr David Anderson.

The structure was intended to be buried half in the ground with the upper half covered in soil. The manufacturer John Lysaght P/L states in advertising material: “over 40,000 tons of these shelters were supplied to the British Government by the Australian company of John Lysaght (Aust) Pty Ltd and over 2,500,000 were supplied by the English manufacturers. The Australian War Memorial has an original Anderson Shelter in its collection.

Another home shelter type was the Morrison shelter, officially termed Table (Morrison) Indoor Shelter, had a cage-like construction beneath it. It was named after Herbert Morrison, the British Minister of Home Security at the time. The Morrison shelter came in assembly kits, to be bolted together inside the home. They were approximately 2 metres by 1.2 metres and 0.75 metres in height with welded wire mesh sides supporting a 3mm steel plate tabletop. Shelters in private homes were supplemented by public shelters established by governments at all levels and shelters designed to protect infrastructure key workers.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Australian Women’s Army Service

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/awas

Voluntary Aid Detachments

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/vad

Anderson shelters during World War 2

https://spartacus-educational.com/2WWandersonshelter.htm

Inside the University of Western Australia’s World War 2 Bomb Shelter

https://www.6pr.com.au/inside-uwa-s-ww2-bomb-shelter-20170421-gvq0o7/

Air raid precautions in Perth 14 December 1941

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/59162721

https://www.facebook.com/LostPerth/posts/war-touched-perth-on-several-occasions-from-the-boer-war-first-and-second-world-/777135365690853/

Air raid alarm in Perth 11 March 1944

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/46787349

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/58fc7215d0cf191fe4e06d86

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 8 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

 Rottnest Island is open again and ready for your visit. Unfortunately, the Museum and West End remain closed due to ongoing renovation and construction. Surface tours recommenced at Oliver Hill and the Lighthouse on 22 June.

 In the meantime, to help you maintain contact with your favourite Island, the Defence Heritage Committee will continue to present a weekly photo and tell a related story from its collections and archives.

 Stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

PHOTOGRAPH – LEGEND OF ST BARBARA – KINGSTOWN BARRACKS RECREATION HALL 1938

 

Interior of the Kingstown Barracks recreation hall with artillery motif on curtains. The motif is a red representation of a lightning bolt on a blue background. This alludes to the legend of Saint Barbara whose executioner was struck by a lightning bolt. Saint Barbara is the Patron Saint of Artillery, Miners and those who work with explosives.

 HISTORICAL INFORMATION

St Barbara is the patron Saint of gunners, sappers and miners and those who work with explosives. Her feast day of 4 December is widely celebrated by these groups and remains a recognised Saint’s Day in the Orthodox tradition. There is a statue of St Barbara in Kalgoorlie. Part of the legend is that her executioner was struck by a bolt of lightning before he could do his task.

As well as lightning bolts, her iconography often includes a tower with three windows, a cannon and chalice. Corps and unit patches in the coast artillery also used the lightning bolt motif. The artillery tie in armies following British traditions also features lightning bolts.

The décor of the recreation hall appears austere by modern standards, but it was equipped to project movies, had a public telephone booth, reading materials and a library as well as adjacent rooms for cards and billiards. Together with the Dry Canteen (now the Peacock Inn) these amenities represented the culmination of a continuing series of reforms and improvement of service conditions beginning in the 1850s after the Crimean War. Indeed, from Federation into the 1930s there had been public complaints about the “lavish” standard of military quarters in Fremantle and on Rottnest which were superior to adjacent civilian housing or what was available to rent during the Great Depression.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Great Martyr Barbara in the Orthodox tradition

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Barbara

Official Australian Artillery version of the Saint Barbara legend

https://australianartilleryassociation.com/document/origin_of_st_barbara.pdf

Examples of Artillery shoulder flashes featuring lightning bolts

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/patches/pmf.htm

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/patches/arm-service.htm

Saint Barbara monument in Kalgoorlie

http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/technology/industry/display/60644-saint-barbara/photo/1

Feeling brave – go here for a fearsome Artillery Punch ritual. For a slightly less lethal but still powerful experience google Chatham Artillery Punch.

http://wesclark.com/jw/barbara.html

Artillery tie and close-up of reproduction curtains in Kingstown Barracks

Note the Roman style bricks, one of many stylish Art Deco details throughout Kingstown Barracks

Note the foundation supports under the legs to take the weight of the slate slab in the billiards table.

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 11 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Photograph & Medals of Sergeant Martin O’Meara VC

DESCRIPTION

Sergeant Martin O’Meara was a member of Western Australia’s 16th Infantry Battalion. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery over a number of days at Mouquet Farm during the 1916 Somme Offensive. Each Victoria Cross is unique in that the medal is cast and hand finished including a secret identifying mark.  O’Meara’s medal has a further distinction. Because it was never mounted, it still retains the original presentation clasp which allowed it to be hooked onto his uniform at the time of investiture.

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia and the Australian Army History Unit has loaned Sergeant Martin O’Meara’s Victoria Cross to the Republic of Ireland for 12 months to feature in an exhibition. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions, this loan period has now been extended

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Victoria Cross is the British Commonwealth highest award for gallantry in action. Since its inception in 1857 during the reign of Queen Victoria fewer than 100 Australians have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The Army Museum of Western Australia has the largest collection of Victoria crosses in Australia after the Australian War Memorial.

Martin O’Meara was born in November 1885 in County Tipperary, Ireland, and immigrated to Western Australia in 1914. On 19 August 1915, aged nearly 30, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Blackboy Hill.

Arriving at Marseilles, France, on 1 June 1916, he was soon at the front in the centre of the Somme offensive, an area of bitter fighting. Between 9 – 12 August, O’Meara distinguished himself with acts of bravery that earned him the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. O’Meara was presented his Victoria Cross by King George V in July 1917. He was one of around 6000 Irish-born Anzacs who served with the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War, but the only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient in the AIF.

After being wounded three times and returning to his unit each time, O’Meara was eventually returned to Australia in November 1918. However the ravages of war had, unfortunately, taken their toll on him, and within days of his return to Perth he was admitted first to Stromness Mental Facility and then to Claremont Mental Hospital, with reports he was “delusional” and “extremely homicidal and suicidal and requires to be kept in restraint”. Sadly, O’Meara never recovered, and died in 1935 at Claremont Mental Hospital. He is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery. 

The medal will be on extended display, at The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin, as part of a ‘Soldiers and Chiefs’ exhibition. Loaning the Victoria Cross required a change to Australian legislation to permit a ‘movable national treasure’ to leave Australia. While this loan will mark the first time a VC in public stewardship has left Australian shores, it is thought likely it will be the medal’s second visit to Ireland. After receiving his VC from King George V at Buckingham Palace, Martin O’Meara later visited his hometown, in October 1917, and it is thought highly likely he took the medal with him when he visited family in Tipperary.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

How does Australia recognise acts of bravery?

https://www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awards/australian-bravery-decorations

Read the citation about Martin’s bravery and his numerous woundings.

https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?key=O%27MEARA/M/3970

Australian Army O’Meara biography and media release

https://www.army.gov.au/sites/default/files/media/omeara_bio_.pdf

A modern investiture at Buckingham Palace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPtCemr7y9I

Explore Lorrha, Martin O’Meara’s birthplace in Ireland

http://www.lorrhadorrha.ie/

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

 

Martin O’Meara’s wartime investiture at Buckingham Palace. Stepping forward to receive award from King George V (off picture to left)

A modern investiture at Buckingham Palace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPtCemr7y9I

O’Meara Biography   http://www.ianloftus.com/martin-omeara-vc.html    

                 

 Community connections – Collie War Memorial

https://www.rslwa.org.au/a-place-of-pride-in-collie/

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT – 7 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island is open again and ready for your visit. Unfortunately, the Museum and West End remain closed due to ongoing renovation and construction. Surface tours will recommence at Oliver Hill and the Lighthouse from 22 June.

 In the meantime, to help you maintain contact with your favourite Island, the Defence Heritage Committee will continue to present a weekly photo and tell a related story from its collections and archives.

 Stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

 PHOTOGRAPH – CONCRETE ON ROTTNEST

Construction of a searchlight post and associated engine room being undertaken on Rottnest Island prior to 1938. No batch plant here, only portable cement mixers and wheel barrows.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Concrete as a building material has been around for a very long time. It is present in the pyramids at Gizeh and the Romans used it in the Pantheon and in aqueducts in France, where it is still performing well. Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a cement paste that hardens (cures) over time. In the past lime based cement binders were often used, such as lime putty but now most commonly Portland cement is used to form Portland cement concrete.

Pioneering attempts to produce cement in Australia began in 1882, following early uses of imported cement from England in the 1860s and 70s  It was not until 1889-1892, when cement kilns and works were initially established in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, that Portland cement manufacture showed signs of becoming a successful venture enterprise.

Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general use as a basic ingredient of concretemortarstucco, and non-specialty grout. It is a fine powder, produced by heating limestone and clay minerals in a kiln to form clinkergrinding the clinker, and adding 2 to 3 percent of gypsum.

Reinforced concrete (also called reinforced cement concrete or RCC) is a composite material in which concrete‘s relatively low tensile strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of reinforcement having higher tensile strength or ductility. The reinforcement is usually, steel reinforcing bars (rebar) and is usually embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets.

Concrete cancer is caused when the steel reinforcing within a concrete slab begins to rust. As the steel rusts it expands, displacing the concrete around it, causing it to become brittle and crack thus accelerating the process.

Many of the defence works on Rottnest Island are constructed of reinforced cement concrete. This includes observation posts, gun mountings, searchlight shelters, ammunition magazines and major sub-surface components. Because of variations in construction techniques and materials, together with the harsh maritime conditions, many of these structures are exhibiting signs of concrete cancer and structural failure.

Over the past 30 years, considerable conservation and remediation work, based on documentation and research, has been undertaken by the Rottnest Island Authority at key defence sites, Action has been taken to retard deterioration, remediate failure or as a last resort demolition to make safe. The process is ongoing.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Western Australia State Register of Heritage Places

http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/3388536f-0ea6-40d4-8b94-7028011bca8d

 History of the Maginot Line

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/05/07/the-great-wall-of-france-11-remarkable-facts-about-the-maginot-line/

The Concrete Battleship – Fort Drum, Manilla Harbour

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-concrete-battleship-b1bb8644dd05

The Atlantic Wall in World War 2

https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/world-war-two-in-western-europe/france-during-world-war-two/the-atlantic-wall/

 

Hold down ring and bolts, F1 Gun, Bickley Battery

Searchlight post showing deterioration due to concrete cancer

Command Post, Jubilee Hill, Bickley

 

Searchlight engine room, Bickley Artillery Camp

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 10 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

LARGE TECHNOLOGY OBJECT – UNIVERSAL CARRIER

DESCRIPTION

The Carden-Loyd series Universal or Bren Gun Carrier  is the common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles. The Carrier was widely used during World War 2 to  transport personnel and equipment, mostly support weapons, or as machine gun platforms. Production continued until the 1960 totalling over 113,000 units making it the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history. This example was built at the State Engineering Works in North Fremantle.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 The first carriers – the Bren Carrier and the Scout Carrier with specific roles – entered service before World War 2, but a single improved design that could replace these, the Universal, was introduced in 1940. With a crew of 2 to 5 depending on its role and powered by a Ford V8 water cooled engine, it had a top speed of 50 kilometres per hour and a range of 250 kilometres.

The first carriers manufactured in Australia was designated the LP1 (Local Pattern). They were produced in 1940 from plans copied from a single early model Carrier Bren No 2 Mk 1 imported from Britain in 1940. About 160 were built in Victorian before production switched to the improved LP2. Electric arc welding replaced hand riveting and a greater variety of weapons could be mounted instead of the original Vickers machine gun. This included Vickers, Bren, Hotchkiss and Lewis machine guns.

Between 1941 and 1943 approximately 4,800 carriers were built in four states; Ford Homebush in Sydney; Victorian Railways and Gas Works in Melbourne; South Australian Railways at Islington and State Engineering Works in North Fremantle.

The first production of 2,700 LP2 models had tools externally mounted on the left hull plate and the rear apron. Later models had all tools were mounted at the rear. Later models also had a changed interior layout to permit the mounting of a No 9 or No 11 radio at the right rear. The Museum’s example is of this type.

Post-war these carriers were sold off at surplus. Mostly they were purchased for their drive trains which were the same as Ford trucks. On the farm, the carriers proved too highly geared and light weight to be used as bulldozers or tractors.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

This video tells all you would want to know about the Carrier

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nTsnfEAjzI

Build your own 1/35 scale model of a Bren Gun Carrier

https://www.frontlinehobbies.com.au/tamiya-1-35-british-universal-carrier-t35175

Australian camouflage during World War 2

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/journal/j38/camouflage

Camouflage patterns – 13 basic design options

https://www.heddels.com/2015/01/understanding-camo-13-patterns-know/

Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) AWA manufactured military wireless sets during World War 2.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_set_No._11     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Set_No._19

 PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

A Bren gun carrier of the 6th Aust Infantry Battalion, landing from an FBE raft (half floating bay), after having been towed to the landing site at Point Walter by a launch of the naval auxiliary patrol during exercises at 3 Aust Corps Combined Operations Training Centre. February 1943. [Editorial Note – In May 1942, the abbreviation Aust was inserted into the names of all Australian army units as part of standardisation of nomenclature].

LP2 Carriers at the State Engineering Works, North Fremantle

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 6 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island is open again and ready for your visit. Unfortunately, the Museum and West End remain closed due to ongoing renovation and construction. Tours have not yet recommenced at Oliver Hill or the Lighthouse while COVID-19 safety protocols are finalised for these sites

In the meantime, to help you maintain contact with your favourite Island, the Defence Heritage Committee will continue to present a weekly photo and tell a related story from its collections and archives.

 Stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

 PHOTOGRAPH – SUBMARINE CABLE LAYING 1935

In Fremantle port, 10 ½  miles of submarine cable for the new Postmaster General telephone link to Rottnest are being loaded into a barge from the Cable Ship Faraday on 18 December 1935. This cable replaced the original cable laid in 1902 which, in turn  had superseded the previous heliograph link.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The arrival of the cable ship Faraday and all aspects of the preparation and laying of the cable was extensively reported in local media. Search using terms like:  Rottnest,Cable and Faraday

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/85746740?searchTerm=Rottnest%20cable%20AND%20(cable%3B%20OR%20submarine%3B%20OR%20PMG)&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords=cable%3B+++submarine%3B+PMG|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1935-07-01|||dateTo=1936-03-01|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-advcategory=Article|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

 Tucked away between these articles was the following note of a significant development relevant to Australian culture:

Travellers returning to Australia from the United States bring news and samples of America’s latest novelty — canned beer. Canned beer, it Is stated, has almost supplanted the bottled product in the United States and is being sold in large quantities. With a can of beer, the purchaser is given a can opener which makes a hole beneath the top. Generally, the beer is drunk from the can.

 The newly laid cable also played a part in the unveiling of the Vlamingh Memorial as reported:

Next Monday the first wireless broad cast ever made from Rottnest Island will take place, when National Station 6WF will put over the air a description of the ceremony of unveiling the cairn on Vlamingh Head, which commemorates the first landing upon the island by the discoverers Willem de Vlamingh and his crew. Today the manager of National Station 6WF said that the broadcast was made possible by the co-operation of the Postmaster-General’s Department and the installation of a new cable to the mainland, thus the most modern means of communication would be used to commemorate one of the earliest events associated with the history of Australia.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 History of the cable ship Faraday

https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?10357

History of Western Australia telecommunications

https://oldaustraliantelephones.weebly.com/western-australian-colonial-telecommunications.html

Remnants of historic undersea cables visible near Cottesloe Beach

https://fremantlebiz.livejournal.com/503785.html

Public telephones by the Salt Store, Thomson Bay Settlement

Official opening of the Vlamingh Memorial. The official party was headed by the Lieutenant Governor, Sir James Mitchell, although the flag flying is the undifferenced Union flag and not the Governor’s standard of the era.

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 8 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Kokoda Trail Diorama – New Guinea 1942

DESCRIPTION

A 1:1 scale diorama showing Australian patrol advancing up the Kokoda Trail in light fighting order circa August 1942. This diorama is the central feature in the World War 2 Gallery – South West Pacific area.

Soldiers are depicted still wearing khaki uniforms from North Africa campaign including shorts. Details include helmet, No 4 .303 rifles, small pack and fighting order. A Japanese “Woodpecker” machine gun is shown abandoned beside the track. The “Woodpecker” relic was retrieved from New Guinea by the formerly Perth based 22 Construction Squadron.

The diorama dimensions are   L 7 metres W 2 metres H 4 metres.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Kokoda Trail linked Ower’s Corner, approximately 40 km north-east of Port Moresby to the village of Kokoda and its airstrip on the northern side of the Owen Stanley mountain range. From there trails continued to the river crossing at Wairopi and on to  the settlements of Buna, Gona and Sanananda on the north coast. The village of Kokoda stood on the northern side of the main range and was the site of the only airfield between Port Moresby and the north coast.

After being repulsed at the battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese saw the Kokoda Trail as a route to capture Port Moresby. After landings at Gona on 21 July 1942, a full-scale offensive developed., the Australian force was unable to hold back the Japanese. Beginning as a fighting withdrawal, delaying actions were fought as the Australians withdrew along the Trail. They finally stopped on 17 September at Imita Ridge.

The tactical and supply situation swung against the Japanese who ordered a withdrawal to the north coast. Australian troops began to edge forward from Imita Ridge on 23 September. During their retreat, the Japanese fought delaying actions every bit as determined as those of the Australians. Several difficult battles were fought before crossing the Kumusi at Wairopi in mid-November heading for even more bitter fighting to eliminate the Japanese beachheads at Gona, Buna and Sanananda.

Approximately 625 Australians were killed along the Kokoda Trail and over 1,600 were wounded. Casualties due to sickness exceeded 4,000. “Kokoda Trail” and “Kokoda Track” have been used interchangeably. The former was adopted by the Battles Nomenclature Committee as the official British Commonwealth battle honour in October 1957.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

What was Maroubra Force?

https://codenames.info/operation/maroubra/

The Battle for Brigade Hill

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/history-in-focus/the-battle-for-brigade-hill

Have you heard the term chocos or chocolate soldiers?

https://aso.gov.au/titles/tv/australians-at-war/clip1/

Discover the story of and the memorial to Brigadier Arnold Potts

https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/military/display/60702-brigadier-arnold-potts-

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10676740

Recollections of a biscuit bomber

https://www.battleforaustralia.asn.au/BiscuitBomberPilot.php 

 PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Salvation Army Drop In centres in Papua and New Guinea were a welcome sight.

https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/about-us/news-and-stories/stories/remembering-the-war-time-hop-in-centres/

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 4 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island including the popular visitor attractions of the Museum, Oliver Hill, Signal Ridge and Kingstown is temporarily closed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

 This does not mean that you will miss out on a heritage experience. Each week, the Defence Heritage Committee will present a photo and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

RECOVERY OF BARREL OF F1 GUN, BICKLEY BATTERY 1980

 

An M543 Heavy 6×6 Wrecker of 113 Field Workshop, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) recovering  in 1980, a 6 inch Mk XI barrel buried at Bickley Battery, Rottnest Island.  Supervising the operation is Sergeant Kevin Wotzko (on platform, RHS).

6 inch Mk XI gun components abandoned in situ after being scrapped. Barrel, pedestal and cradle visible. One barrel was cut in half but with no viable scrap option, the effort was abandoned for the second barrel.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The length of artillery barrels has often been described in terms of multiples of the bore diameter e.g. a 4-inch gun of 50 calibres would have a barrel 4 in × 50 = 200 inches long. A 50 calibre 6 inch gun (6 inch diameter shell), has a barrel length (muzzle to breech) of 50 × 6 = 300 inches (25 feet or 7.62 metres).

The Breech Loading (BL) 6-inch Mark XI naval gun was a British 50 calibre high-velocity naval gun which was mounted as primary armament on cruisers from 1906 onwards. The gun with its increased length of 50 calibres gave improved firepower over the 6-inch Mk VII gun of 45 calibres. However, increased length and weight made it unwieldy in the manually operated shipboard mountings on light cruisers, Britain reverted to 45-calibres guns in new warships from 1914 onwards with the BL 6-inch Mk XII gun. 

The Mk XI gun was emplaced for coast defence in Australia leading up to World War II and remained in service until the 1960s. Guns in Australia came from the decommissioned World War cruisers HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Brisbane. In addition to the Bickley Battery on Rottnest Island, they were emplaced in northern Australia and Torres Strait to defend against possible attack by Japan, and  the Brisbane, Sydney harbour and Port Kembla defences.

When the guns were scrapped, the valuable non-ferrous fittings were removed but the steel components buried on the Island. After recovery, one of the Rottnest barrels was placed on display at Kingstown Barracks and the second eventually was emplaced at the Leighton Battery Heritage site. Other 6 inch MK XI barrels may be found in Australia at: Port Wakefield proof range north of Adelaide; Lower George’s Heights, Sydney Harbour; East Point Military Museum, Darwin; and the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra.

The M54 5-ton 6×6 truck was the basic cargo model of the M39 Series. It was designed to transport a 4,500 kg, 4.3 m long cargo load. The M543  wrecker variant was had a rotating, telescoping, and elevating hydraulic boom could lift a maximum of 9,100 kg and had 9,100 kg front and 20,000 kg rear winches.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Photo of M543 Wrecker with 15 ton recovery trailer

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1236092

Leighton Battery Heritage Site, Mosman Park

http://www.artillerywa.org.au/raahs/history.htm

For comparison – Kembla Fortress

https://www.abandonedspaces.com/uncategorized/kembla-fortress.html

For the advanced model maker

https://www.warmuseum.ca/collections/artifact/1042981/

Technical bumpf for the 6 inch (152 mm) Mk XI naval gun

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_6-50_mk11.php

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION

F2 Gun with barrel withdrawn for Combat Storage circa 1962. Note overhead crew protection installed circa 1942 and intact blast walls and camouflage still covering Command Post.

Both barrels were recovered and refurbished by Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) Workshop in 1980.

Initial placement of F1 barrel after severed halves welded together.    

The F1 barrel after refurbishment in 2018.

The recovered barrel from F1 is now displayed at Kingstown Barracks and is used as the start point for Rottnest Voluntary Guides tours of Bickley Battery along a portion of the Ngank Yira Bidi   –  https://www.rottnestisland.com/wadjemupbidi

Record details now show that this was a spare barrel that may have briefly been on HMAS Brisbane. The barrel at Leighton Battery originally emplaced as F2 came from HMAS Melbourne.

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 7 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.  Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Photo and Medal Group of Sister Alicia Kelly MM, AARC

  

DESCRIPTION

Studio portrait of Alicia Mary Kelly on completion of training at (Royal) Melbourne Hospital in 1910. Ribbon bar with Military Medal (MM), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Medal and ribbon of the Associate of the Royal Red Cross (ARRC). Sister Kelly was one of only seven Australian nurses to be awarded the Military Medal during World War One. Also in the collection is her nurse’s cape and a number of personal items. The location of her French Croix de Guerre is not known.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Alicia Mary Kelly was born on 16 September 1874 at Galway, Ireland. Nothing is known of her childhood or migration. She completed nursing training at the (Royal) Melbourne Hospital in 1910.

 On 29 March 1915, aged 29, (actual age 41) Alicia Kelly enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Imperial Force. In April she embarked with reinforcements for the 1st Australian General Hospital. She reached Egypt in time to receive the thousands of wounded after the landing at Gallipoli. From 28 August until December 1915 she made at least two trips on Euripides, transporting severely wounded men home to Australia.

 In April 1916 she was posted to France serving with the 1st A.G.H. and the 29th Casualty Clearing Station and on 31 July was transferred to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station. It was there she was awarded the Military Medal for ‘conspicuous gallantry under fire’. Sister Kelly was on duty at the 3rd A.C.C.S. during an air raid. Orders evacuated the medical staff as bombs fell. A padre discovered Sister Kelly sitting in one of the hospital tents holding a patient’s hand. When he asked why she had not left with the rest she answered ‘I couldn’t leave my patients’

From August Sister Kelly worked at the 3rd A.G.H. before returning to England in March 1918 for transport duty and then to Australia in May. After her discharge Alicia Kelly married Arthur Rupert Chipper, a corporal in the 10th Light Horse. After many years at Bullaring the Chippers moved to a farm at Narrogin.

At the outbreak of World War II, despite poor health deriving from her 1914-18 war experiences, Mrs Chipper returned to nursing and was appointed matron of the Old Women’s Home in West Midland (Woodbridge),.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

History of the Kelly Family by Alicia’s great-niece, Debbie McCauley

http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/remembering_war/topics/show/1536

Biographical and genealogical profile of Alicia Kelly

https://www.geni.com/people/SN-Alicia-Chipper/6000000023526264403

Police and Boer war service of Alicia’s brother Lieutenant John Bell Kelly

https://www.geni.com/people/Lieut-John-Kelly/6000000009422668491

Boer War and Australian Imperial Force service of Alicia’s brother George Arthur Kelly

https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=161326

http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/remembering_war/topics/show/2554

National Museum of Australia education worksheet on Irish Migration to Australia

https://www.nma.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/326177/NMA_Irish.pdf

What was medical treatment like for Australian soldiers in World War 1?

https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/ww1/military-organisation/medical-treatment

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Australian Field Dressing Station during the Battle of Messine, 7 June 1917

https://anzac-22nd-battalion.com/hospitals-france/

German prisoners of war acting as stretcher bearers. Because of the dangers involved, these prisoners of war retained their helmets and gas masks.

1906 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field.

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?documentId=C64C3E521F5CC28FC12563CD002D6737&action=openDocument

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 3 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island including the popular visitor attractions of the Museum, Oliver Hill, Signal Ridge and Kingstown is temporarily closed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

 This does not mean that you will miss out on a heritage experience. Each week, the Defence Heritage Committee will present a photo and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.  Enjoy the experience and stay well.

PHOTOGRAPH – FIRST AIRCRAFT TO ROTTNEST

 On 18 January 1930, a Klemm KL25 light aircraft with a float plane conversion was the first aircraft to fly to Rottnest. The plane was one of two operated by the Aerial Commerce Company, owned by HC Ittershagen. Among Ittershagen’s many business ventures was the agency for Lanz crude oil tractors. The letters …ANZ are just visible forward of the pilot’s cockpit. The two-seat configuration indicates that it was the plane delivered to Perth in November 1929.

As might be expected a Trove newspaper query reveals the extensive public interest created by this flight.  Search for Rottnest in January 1929 to find coverage. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/search?adv=y

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 Several aviation companies were formed in Western Australia in the 1920s and 30s. The longest lasting and most successful of these companies was the Aerial Commerce Company, owned by HC Ittershagen. Among Ittershagen’s many business ventures was the agency for Lanz crude oil tractors which sold widely across Western Australia. He conceived of the idea of using light aeroplanes to carry mechanics and spare parts to provide his customers with a quick repair service and imported two Klemm light aeroplanes, initially with this in mind. He leased endowment land at West Subiaco, had it cleared for a small aerodrome and erected a hangar there. The first of his aeroplanes arrived in July and the second in November 1929.

Among many activities, these aeroplanes were used for hire and to fly to farm field days where Lanz tractors were demonstrated. HF Baker was Aerial Commerce’s first main pilot and he flew Ittershagen on many trips around the state.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Western Australia’s failed airline companies

http://www.airwaysmuseum.com/Edmonds%20essay%20-%20WA%20failed%20airlines.htm

Thesis including section and photos of Lanz Bulldog tractor

https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=2436&context=theses_hons

A history of the Klemm KL25 family of aircraft

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klemm_Kl_25

Model Plans for the KL25 also produced as the BA Swallow in England

https://www.ebay.com.au/i/183759051982?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=705-139619-5960-0&mkcid=2&itemid=183759051982&targetid=896057791431&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9070612&poi=&campaignid=9772799703&mkgroupid=100117146376&rlsatarget=pla-896057791431&abcId=578876&merchantid=9442712&gclid=Cj0KCQjw-r71BRDuARIsAB7i_QPOcmAmi40d8ySWsyxCKqy2XqkR-JSye0J5Lr5zARhSRGoz73wGregaAj3jEALw_wcB

A Klemm 25 still flying at Bankstown

https://www.themissions1937.com.au/the-aeroplanes-and-whats-it-all-about/klemm-l25-vhuur/

First notification of flight in the later “Final Sporting Edition” of the Daily Mail. Note also spelling of Thompson Bay.

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/83818678?searchTerm=Klemm%20AND%20(Rottnest)&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords=Rottnest|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1930-01-01|||dateTo=1930-01-31|||l-advcategory=Article|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

The 1929 Centenary Sydney to Perth Air Race

https://www.nhillaviationheritagecentre.com.au/nhill-anson-newsletter3

Image of the Rottnest aircraft in wheeled configuration from the collection of the State Library of Western Australia. The LANZ logo is clearly visible.

https://catalogue.slwa.wa.gov.au/record=b1920207~S6

Biography of Harry Frederick Baker

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/baker-harry-frederick-12164

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 6 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

10th Light Horse Guidon

DESCRIPTION

Crimson with gold fringes, swallow tailed end (traditional cavalry Guidon shape). In the centre a black swan within a circle inscribed “10th LIGHT HORSE (WAMI)”, across the lower portion of the circle a scroll inscribed with the regimental motto “PERCUTE ET PERCUTE VELOCITER”, the whole surrounded with a wreath of Australian wattle and surmounted by the Crown. In the upper canton the roman numeral “X”

Below the whole centrepiece is the regimental colour patch in black over gold diagonals in a rectangle and below that is the battle honour SOUTH AFRICA 1900-02.  Emblazoned on either side of the centrepiece are ten selected battle honours from the Great War: DEFENCE OF ANZAC, SARI BAIR, RUMANI, MAGHDABA-RAFAH, GAZA-BEERSHEBA, JERUSALEM, JORDAN (ES SALT), MEGIDDO, SHARON, DAMASCUS

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

The Guidon was presented by Harry Chauvel, GCMG, KCB on the Esplanade, Perth, 10 March 1928. It was consecrated by Senior Chaplain Archbishop C Riley, OBE, VD, DD. This Guidon was later carried by the post-World War Two unit, 10th West Australian Mounted Infantry, raised as a CMF unit of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in 1949 as a direct successor unit to the above light horse regiment. This unit was re-designated as 10th Light Horse in 1956

The Guidon was laid up at the State War Memorial, King’s Park on 10 June 1967, following presentation of a new Guidon to 10th Light Horse in 1966. The Guidon was transferred to the Army Museum of Western Australia in 1988 as part of the Bicentenary Colours Project.

The battle honour for South Africa, for unknown reasons, was not included on the guidon when originally presented in 1928, and was not emblazoned on the Guidon until the early 1950’s. The battle honour “South Africa 1900-02” was granted under MO 123/1908 to 18th Australian Light Horse Regiment which was the predecessor Militia Light Horse regiment existing at the time. This battle honour appeared under 10th Light Horse Regiment in the Australian Army List from 1928 onwards. Having this battle honour added at a later date would explain why it is positioned on the lower portion of the guidon in the centre. At the time of approving battle honours for the Great War, the authorised position for any pre-existing South Africa battle honour was in the top left corner of the Guidon or colour, followed by the battle honours of the Great War. (AAO 112/1927).

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Discover the Tradition of Regimental Colours in the Australian Army

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/traditions/colours-standards-guidons-and-banners

Read the headlines about the presentation

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/79224454?searchTerm=Guidon&searchLimits=dateFrom=1928-03-01|||dateTo=1928-03-31|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/79221813?searchTerm=Guidon&searchLimits=dateFrom=1928-03-01|||dateTo=1928-03-31|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*

Battle of Megiddo in 1918 and in prophecyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_(1918)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armageddon

Did the 10th Light Horse enter Damascus before Lawrence of Arabia?https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PL1444

Where did 10 Light Horse serve in World War 2?https://www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au/info/20058/museums_culture_and_arts/133/10th_lig      ht_horse_trail
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Light Horseman, his Waler and equipment in Sinai

https://veteranssa.sa.gov.au/story/battle-of-romani/

10 Light Horse Memorial in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. {Photo by D Blumer) https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park/visit/history/memorials

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 2 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island including the popular visitor attractions of the Museum, Oliver Hill, Signal Ridge and Kingstown is temporarily closed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

 This does not mean that you will miss out on a heritage experience. Each week, the Defence Heritage Committee will present a photo and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

 GARRISON ARTILLERY AND FORTRESS ENGINEERS

TELLING THEM APART IN COLOUR AND BLACK AND WHITE

               

Depicted are dress tunics of the Royal Australian Artillery (L) and the Royal Australian Engineers (R). The 6th Heavy Battery and 5th Fortress Company were the Permanent Force Artillery and Engineer units which manned the coast defences on Rottnest Island. The military heritage collection of the Rottnest Island Authority contains many uniforms representing the individuals and units which have served on the Island from 1829 to the present. Unfortunately, the requirements of conservation and space mean that to date most of this collection remains in storage and is accessible only through photographs. This virtual visit will help you identify the uniforms you may see in exhibitions at the Museum and military sites when you can once again enjoy our favourite Island.

 HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Uniforms are most effectively displayed in 3D on mannequins. This permits the presentation of the complete ensemble including tunic, trousers, headgear, footwear, weapons and accoutrements. When considerations of universal access, visitor flow and sight lines are taken into account, these exhibits may require considerable space, a commodity often limited in heritage buildings. Textiles and other uniform elements are vulnerable to deterioration through light, dust, insect pests and other environmental hazards. A controlled and buffered environment in a display case is usually necessary to ensure conservation of the objects.  For these two reasons only a relatively few uniforms from the collection are displayed and these are periodically rotated.

Reliance on photographs can lead to confusion and misidentification as differences are often in the detail. In colour, the blue of the artillery tunic is quite distinct from the red of the engineers but as the photo above shows this is not always readily evident in black and white period photographs. [Two uniforms on the Left are Artillery, the one on the Right, Engineers].

All is not lost as other differences are sometimes quite obvious. As a mounted corps, Artillery has a ball filial, [the knob on top],  on its helmet; Engineers a spike. The reason is of course so you won’t injure your horse when you bend underneath to tighten the girth.

Army   honours and distinctions often make Corps distinctions quite subtle. Neither the Artillery nor the Engineers carry colours or guidons but instead share the same Battle Honour – UBIQUE – Latin for Everywhere. They also share the Grenade badge but with a minor difference

 

The Engineer badge has 9 flames, the Artillery 7.

Both Artillery and Engineers have sleeve braid in the form of an Austrian knot but this may be gold lace, yellow worsted or red worsted depending on rank and corps, with Sappers normally red and Gunners yellow worsted.

When the Rottnest Island Museum reopens, there will be a new folder of defence heritage photographs for you to test your uniform identification skills.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Learn more about the military history of Rottnest Island.https://www.rottnestisland.com/the-island/about-the-island/our-history/military

Why did Engineering Australia recognise the significance of Fortress Fremantle

https://portal.engineersaustralia.org.au/heritage/fremantle-fortress-rottnest-island-ww2-coastal-defence-facilities-1941

History of Sappers in the West.

https://www.ozatwar.com/books/sappers.htm

Before the Engineers, there were Sappers and Miners

https://fremantlestuff.info/organisations/engineers.html

Girt by sea but defended by guns – Coast Artillery defences in World War 2

https://www.ozatwar.com/locations/coastalguns.htm

Further reading as an antidote to social distancing

https://booksonwaraustralia.com/medals-badges-uniforms-1914-18-military-books/1567-preserving-our-proud-heritage-the-customs-and-traditions-of-the-australian-army.html

Do you have the patience and skills to start a new hobby – military models?

https://www.metrohobbies.com.au/pages/model-kits

You too can dress the part.

https://thehistorybunker.co.uk/UNIFORMS%20OF%20THE%20BRITISH%20EMPIRE

Anzac Day Service in front of Rottnest Tea Rooms, Thomson Bay Settlement 1938

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 5 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.           Enjoy the experience and stay well.

HMS Louis Gallipoli Souvenir

DESCRIPTION

HMS Louis relic from Gallipoli salvaged and carved by Petty Officer Alfred Siggs of Leederville. At the time of collecting this souvenir, Petty Officer Siggs was a member of the Royal Australian Navy Bridging Team. He was killed in action at Pozieres, France on 29 July 1916, aged just 20 and is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery.

HMS Louis was wrecked in Suvla Bay on 31 October 1915. A Court Martial convened on 3 – 4 December, 1915 proved a charge that Lieutenant Commander Harold D. Adair-Hall had negligently or by default stranded the ship.                                 

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

HMS Louis was wrecked at Suvla Bay on 31 October 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign. Petty Officer Alfred Siggs from Leederville was stationed at Suvla Bay, to the north of Anzac Cove, with the Royal Australian Navy Bridging Train (RANBT). Siggs was one of the RANBT members who attempted to salvage the ship, which had been much damaged by Turkish artillery. Siggs later transferred to the Australian Imperial Force with the rank of Lance Corporal. He was killed in action at Pozieres, France on 29 July 1916, aged just 20. He is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery, France.

The Royal Australian Navy Bridging Train was a unique unit of the Royal Australian Navy.  It was active only during World War One where it served in the Gallipoli and the Sinai and Palestine campaigns. The Train was formed in February 1915 and stood down in May 1917. Throughout its existence, it was composed of RAN Reservists under the command of Lieutenant Commander Leighton Bracegirdle.

In the early stages of the war, many of the 8,000 Australian naval reservists were not trained suitably to serve on board ships in the RAN. They found themselves doing odd jobs like guarding the wharfs, practicing minesweeping, watching out for saboteurs and a myriad of other odd jobs and minor duties. Then someone hit on a good idea. Since the reservists were capable of sailing about in small boats, and had some technical training, they should be able to operate pontoon bridging trains.

Sailors who volunteered swapped their naval uniforms for khaki and found themselves being given crash-courses in horsemanship, engineering and pontoon bridging, Advanced technical training in Australia was a problem due to lack of equipment and expertise. Accordingly, the RANBT was loaded on to ships in late May 1915 with the assurance that they could learn more effectively in training camps in England.. However, they were off-loaded in Egypt like the rest of the Anzacs. The RANBT was sent to reinforce the stalled invasion force at Suvla Bay.

HMS Louis was part of a class of 22 torpedo boat destroyers designated as the Laforey (later L) class. Twenty including HMS Louis were built between 1912 – 14. All served during World War I during which three were lost. The survivors were all scrapped in 1921-23.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Service records of Roland Alfred Siggs

https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/316714

Australian Red Cross Missing and Wounded Enquiry Bureau file for Alfred Siggs

https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/awm-media/collection/RCDIG1057715/document/5645444.PDF

Explore the National Maritime Museum’s diorama of the Royal Australian Navy Bridging Team at Suvla Bay during the Gallipoli Campaign

https://www.sea.museum/2014/12/19/exploring-a-diorama-the-ran-bridging-train-at-suvla-bay-during-the-gallipoli-campaign

The naval career of Harold Dallas Adair-Hall

http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/Harold_Dallas_Adair-Hall

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

HMS Louis stranded in Suvla Bay.

Memorial plaque in honour of Lance Corporal Siggs in the Kings Park Honour Avenue.

 

https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/honour-avenues-plaques

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YOUR VIRTUAL DISCOVERY VISIT # 1 to the DEFENCE HERITAGE STORIES OF ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island including the popular visitor attractions of the Museum, Oliver Hill, Signal Ridge and Kingstown is temporarily closed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you need miss out on a heritage experience. Each week, the Defence Heritage Committee will present a photo and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

 PHOTOGRAPH – HEAVY GIN (GYN) IS NOT A DRINK

 

A 6 inch Mk XI barrel on the railway trolley, ready to be lifted off and moved onto the gun position at Bickley Battery. The lifting equipment is a heavy gyn or sheer legs on which can be seen the hardwood windlass (lignum vitae) ratchet pawls and handspike sockets.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Gin poles, sheer legs, gyns, derricks and tripods are forms of lifting devices differentiated by the number of guy wires and fixed legs, For lifting heavy objects, gin poles and sheer legs have proved a valuable tool for centuries.

A gyn or gin pole is a supported pole that uses a pulley or block and tackle on its upper end to lift loads. The lower end is braced or set in a shallow hole and positioned so the upper end lies above the object to be lifted. The pole is secured with three or more guy-wires. Sheer legs were commonly a pair of legs joined at the top, frequently used for masting ships, installing engines, boilers and lifting other heavy objects.

The barrel of a 6 inch Mark XI coast artillery gun weighed just over 7,600 kilos and so a tripod together with the mechanical advantage of a block and tackle were necessary to lift and position the barrel. The windlass and ratchets allowed the barrel to be raised gradually and held in place between rotations.

In the photo note the following:

  • The simple improvised railway running gear used to move the barrel along the rail lines;
  • The centre of gravity closer to the breech end of the barrel mass which determined its positioning on the running gear;
  • The camouflage colour scheme of the guns as initially installed at Bickley;
  • The Crayfish engine to the right edge of the view (watch for future info on the story of the Crayfish and Crab engines);
  • The use of heavy manila rope as the hoisting means; and
  • The safety ropes tying the third leg to prevent kick out.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Lignum-vitae, the heaviest and hardest wood in the world.

https://www.wood-database.com/lignum-vitae/

How does a block and tackle make work easier?

https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/pulley.htm

Did you know that the derrick was named for an English executioner in the reign of Elizabeth I

https://www.towerclimber.com/gin-poles/

How does a ratchet work?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratchet_(device)

How to build a flying fox using sheer legs (go to page 19)

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=2KD7dZhfY6wC&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=Build+a+model+sheer+legs&source=bl&ots=it3rOrOqPd&sig=ACfU3U1Bbs6Wx90GKDv6Wk0g7mMZaREaEA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjY0sub2vroAhWtxjgGHfjAAaYQ6AEwFXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=Build%20a%20model%20sheer%20legs&f=false

Video – Attempt to remove masts of SS Great Britain using sheer legs (see minute 30)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F6aDdHPJfI

Advantages of manila rope.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_rope

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 4 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

World War One Diorama of Australian Light Horse as Part of Egyptian Expeditionary Force to Damascus

DESCRIPTION

1:1 scale diorama showing mounted trooper of 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment in Palestine 1918 and dismounted Ottoman soldier. This diorama is the central feature in the World War 1 Gallery – Middle East Campaigns sequence and shows typical uniforms and accoutrements of the Australian Light Horse and Ottoman infantry. L 5 metres W 3 metres H 3 metres                                            

 HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 The unit was raised as a squadron, then a regiment in October 1914.and formed part of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in Egypt. The Regiment served dismounted in Gallipoli and fought at the charge at the Nek on 7 August 1915, and at Hill 60 on 29-30 August. The only Victoria Cross awarded to a Light Horseman recognised the valour of Lieutenant Hugo Throssell at Hill 60.

After Gallipoli the Regiment was bought up to strength to defended Egypt from the Ottoman Army advancing on the Suez Canal. Through 1916 they drove the Turks across the deserts of Sinai, participating in the battles of Romani and Magdhaba.

 In 1917 as part of the Desert Column they advanced into Palestine and participated in the bloody battles to break the Gaza-Beersheba line and helped capture Jerusalem. They participated in the Es Salt Raid in May 1918. In August they were equipped with swords and retrained as cavalry. In this role they took part in the rout of the Ottoman army in the Jordan Valley, a campaign the light horse referred to as “The Great Ride”. In September the 10th was the first formed regiment to enter Damascus.

Turkey surrendered on 30 October 1918. After the end of the war, the regiment saw action in putting down the Egyptian uprising of 1919. The Regiment was one of the few to return home as a formed unit.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

History of 10 Light Horse Regiment in World War 1 including “The Great Ride”

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U51044/

History of Australian Walers as war horses in World War One

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/horses

How did Light Horse differ from Cavalry?

https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/ww1/military-organisation/australian-imperial-force/australian-light-horse

A bus shelter to honour a Victoria Cross recipient?

https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/military/display/60561-captain-hugo-throssell-v.c.

The Great Ride remembered – Trooper Ned Moriarty

https://www.swtimes.com.au/news/south-western-times/great-ride-remembered-ng-b88992779z

Experience of the Ottoman soldier in World War One

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/ottoman-empire/turkish-soldier-experience

Reflections on the charge at Beersheba

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2017/oct/30/beersheba-centenary-lets-remember-that-story-is-not-the-same-as-history

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

 Webley Mark IV Revolver.

http://www.lighthorse.org.au/h-v-h-throssell/

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/REL/11836/

 Kings Park Honour Avenue Database

https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/honour-avenues-plaques

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 3 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

 3400 Sergeant John Alexander Spence DCM, MM, 52 Battalion AIF

 DESCRIPTION

Post card sized photo of 3400 Sergeant John Alexander Spence DCM, MM, 52 Battalion AIF. Photo shows medal ribbons of Distinguished Conduct Medal (awarded June 1917) and Military Medal (awarded April 1918), 2 wound stripes, 5 service stripes, 52 Battalion AIF colour patch and soft style forage cap.

John Alexander Spence was born in Fremantle 2nd July 1893 and died on 20 November 1962 at Hollywood Repatriation Hospital aged 69.

 HISTORICAL INFORMATION

In 1912 John Alexander Spence joined the Australian Navy as a Stoker and was posted to H.M.A.S. Australia. He was on this ship when it sailed at the head of the convoy into Sydney Harbour in 1913. At the outbreak of WW1, his ship was sent to German New Guinea where he saw conflict with the enemy and received a gunshot wound to his hand. He was returned to Australia and the Naval doctors considered him unfit for further Naval service.

When his hand healed Spence joined the AIF on the 2 August 1915 and was posted to the 52nd Battalion and embarked on the Benalla on the 1 November 1915. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 1 June 1916 on 9 September was promoted to Corporal and the next day to Sergeant. At Messines Ridge he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. At Dernancourt, a village near Villers he was awarded the Military Medal on 6 April 1918.

Subsequently he was badly injured. He had captured four German soldiers and one Officer. While marching them back to the Allied lines the Officer grabbed one of the patrol member’s gun and fired three shots at Sergeant Spence which smashed his hip. Despite his injuries Spence managed to bring the Officer down with a revolver shot.

 On the 30th April he was repatriated to England and admitted to the Alexandria Hospital at Cosham. He was eventually returned to Australia on board the Somalia arriving home on the 21st December 1919.

Before enlisting, Spence was a prominent amateur boxer, a pupil of the renowned heavyweight Bill Doherty. During WW1 he won the Army lightweight championship, competing against professionals as well as amateurs. He defended the title successfully for three successive years. On his discharge from the Army he fought under the name of Sonny Kidson. He also turned to coaching and had remarkable success having coached the Army and Navy boxing teams.

LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Discover the war record if 52 Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U51492/

Australian Imperial Force Project – Summary for Spence including Medal Citations

https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=284129

Family history of John Alexander Spence from Historical Society of Rockingham Districts newsletter “Between the Lines” (Page 10)

http://fhsrd.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BTL-June-2014-Archived.pdf

 Never heard of Bill Doherty, the Coolgardie Cyclone?

https://boxrec.com/media/index.php/Bill_Doherty

 How does Australia recognise acts of bravery?

https://www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awards/australian-bravery-decorations

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

 John Alexander Spence identified in photo from the Thuillier collection of glass plate negatives. Taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier in Vignacourt, France during the period 1916 to 1918.

AWM Collection

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1294057

The 52nd Battalion A.I.F. by Neville Browning

This book contains a history of the 52nd Battalion AIF, from its formation in Egypt in early 1916, to its disbandment in May 1918. The 52nd Battalion fought in many Western Front battles, including Mouquet Farm, Third Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux.

https://shop.histwest.org.au/52nd-battalion-aif-the-378.html

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 2 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery. Enjoy the experience and stay well.

 Large Technology Collection – M3 Stuart Light Tank

 DESCRIPTION

The M3 Stuart, officially Light Tank, M3, was an American light tank of World War II.. It was supplied to British and other Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Thereafter, it was used by US, Australian. and Allied forces until the end of the war.

 With a crew of 4, it is armed with a 37 mm gun and a coaxial machine gun and weighs 12,500 kilograms. It is powered by a Continental W-670 250 horsepower engine, gasoline fueled, giving it a top speed of 58 kilometers per hour and a range of 112 kilometers. The Stuart saw Australian service in North Africa, Australia and New Guinea.

The British service name “Stuart” came from the Civil War Confederate general JEB Stuart, a renowned cavalry commander..

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Beginning in 1939, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force divisions included a cavalry reconnaissance regiment equipped with light tanks and scout carriers. Only three regiments were eventually formed as it was believed that the 8th Division did not need armoured support in Malaya in the jungle. 

The cavalry regiments of the 2nd AIF divisions operating in Mediterranean theatre were initially equipped with the Universal Carrier and unarmoured trucks before being progressively mechanised using British Army equipment. Only the 9th Division received Stuarts in North Africa.

The Australian 1st Armoured Division was raised in 1941 as part of the 2nd AIF. Intended to be deployed to North Africa in late 1941, it was retained in Australia following the outbreak of the Pacific War. The Division’s armoured regiments subsequently began re-equipping with M3 Grant medium tanks and M3 Stuart light tanks in April and May 1942.

The 2/6th Armoured Regiment deployed to Port Moresby and Milne Bay in New Guinea in September 1942. In December two squadrons were subsequently shipped to Buna on the north coast of Papua. The lightly armoured M3 Stuart tanks proved to be unsuited to jungle warfare and suffered heavy casualties, but played an important role at Buna between December 1942 and January 1943

In January 1943, the remainder of the division deployed to Western Australia between Perth and Geraldton, Western Australia as part of III Corps, tasked to counter a Japanese invasion The 1st Armoured Division formed a key element of Australia’s mainland defences, but after that threat passed in September 1943, it was disbanded

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Discover the story of Australian armour in the Middle East 1940 – 42

Https://Www.Army.Gov.Au/Our-History/History-In-Focus/Australian-Armour-In-The-Middle-East-1940-To-1943

Build your own 1/35th scale model of a Stuart tank

https://www.metrohobbies.com.au/products/tamiya-1-35-m3-stuart-late-production-tank

 Build your own 1/72nd scale model of a Stuart tank

https://www.frontlinehobbies.com.au/hasegawa-1-72-light-tank-m3-stuart-mk.i-plastic-ki   

Wartime Perth as an inspiration for mystery novels

https://www.nla.gov.au/content/the-landscape-of-the-past-wartime-perth-as-a-backdrop-to-mystery

Evacuation of 80,000 considered for wartime Perth

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/95182115?searchTerm=Gordon%20Bennett&searchLimits=exactPhrase|||anyWords|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1943-01-01|||dateTo=1943-12-31|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

 PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

Get an overview of the battles for Buna, Gona and Sanananda

https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/kokoda-track-1942-1943/events/japanese-besieged-battle-beachheads-buna-gona-sanananda

It is amazing where the Continental W-670 engine was used.

http://www.all-aero.com/index.php/contactus/64-engines-power/12610-continental-r-670-w-670

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YOUR VIRTUAL VISIT # 1 to the AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUSEUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is temporarily closed for public visits in support of mitigation measures and social distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that you will miss out completely on a museum experience. Each week, the Museum will present an object from the collection and tell its story. Included will be links and related material which will allow you, your family or friends to continue a journey of self-discovery.    Enjoy the experience and stay well.

Regimental Colour, 1st Battalion

11th Australian Infantry Regiment (Perth Regiment)

DESCRIPTION

Red George Cross on a white background with red and white fringe. In the center the regimental badge in gold within a wreath of Western Australian kangaroo paw and banksia, surmounted by the Crown. Below the wreath is the Battle Honour “SOUTH AFRICA 1900-02”. In the upper canton is the roman numeral “I”.  (Note:- The official Battle Honour for South Africa granted to 11th Australian Infantry Regiment under Military Order 123/1908 and subsequently published in the Australian Army List, was “South Africa 1899-1902”)

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 Purchased from Regimental funds in 1910 and presented by HE the Governor of WA Sir Gerald Strickland, KCMG, at a parade held on the Esplanade, Perth, 18 February 1911. Consecrated by the Right Reverend Colonel. Riley, DD, VD, Senior Chaplain of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces.

 This colour was subsequently inherited by successor units to the 11th Australian Infantry Regiment (Perth Regiment), including 88th (Perth) Infantry, 11th Battalion (The Perth Regiment) and 11th/16th Battalion. The colour was handed over to the Perth City Council at a special parade of the 11th/16th Battalion held in Forrest Place on 7 June 1930, and was laid up in the Council Chambers in Murray Street.

Together with the other historic colours handed over at the time, this colour later went into storage when Council moved premises in the early 1960’s. Perth City Council had some restoration work carried out on these colours in 1975 and later had them on display in their display room at Council House, St Georges Terrace. They were subsequently placed in storage again. Following negotiations by the Army Museum of WA Perth City Council passed on these colours to the Museum in November 1993 where they are on display in the Traditions Gallery.

 LINKS FOR FURTHER ENJOYMENT

 Visit the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia web site

https://armymuseumwa.com.au/

Discover the Tradition of Regimental Colours in the Australian Army

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/traditions/colours-standards-guidons-and-banners

Read the headlines about the presentation

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/26303699?searchTerm=colours%20AND%20%22presentation%22%20AND%20(parade)&searchLimits=exactPhrase=presentation|||anyWords=parade|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1911-02-10|||dateTo=1911-02-24|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby

Did one of your ancestors serve in the Boer War?

http://members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/military/bor-wa1.htm#wa1

11 Battalion. Australian Imperial Force departing Fremantle, October 1914

https://11btn.wags.org.au/index.php/indexes/11bn-embarkation

Was 11 Battalion, AIF at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915?

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U51451

Were soldiers from 2/11th Battalion captured at Crete in 1941?

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U56054

St John the Theologian Memorial Chapel in Prevelly Western Australia

http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/3b1383f6-7a09-4b6e-af6f-a4cc5d23ce8a

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM COLLECTION

 Commemoration of action on 9 February 1900 at West Australian Hill,

https://www.boerwarwa.org.au/news/why-datasouth-has-embraced-concrete5-cms-development-new-websites

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.

https://11btn.wags.org.au/index.php/photo-id-grid

PLEASE NOTE: MUSEUM CLOSURE

Please be advised that due to the novel corona virus (COVID-19) Pandemic the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia will be closed until further notice.

We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

The setting and the weather couldn’t have been better for what was another amazing night of entertainment.

The Royal Australian Navy Drill Team conducted the Navy Sunset Ceremony which was the first time that most of the patrons had seen it. The performance was well received and comments were all positive.

The Army Band had a new 2IC/conductor and this was his first sunset concert but you wouldn’t have realised that from the performances on the night.

 

 

Commencing at 05.20pm (17:20 hours) on Sunday, March 08th 2020 will be the Sunset Military Spectacular presented by the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia.

There will be facilities available to enable you to purchase tickets at the gate on the day.

This event was a great success in 2018 and 2019 and promises to be the same in 2020. 

Full details are in the brochure set out below. Tickets are available on-line from TryBooking (see details on brochure) or can be purchased from the Museum at the museum shop/reception area.

A special ceremony was held at Artillery Barracks when a rarely held parade for handing over the old colours of the Western Australian University Regiment took place on Saturday, 19th October. 

 

 

 

 

The Officers, NCO’s and Soldiers of A Squadron, 10th Light Horse paraded on Saturday 10th August 2019 at the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia to celebrate and commemorate the return of the original 10th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, to Western Australia in August 1919.

Having served with distinction throughout the First World War on the Gallipoli Peninsular, and in Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, the regiment was held in Egypt at the cessation of hostilities to help quell the Egyptian Uprising against Britain. The regiment was finally released from duty and embarked aboard the SS Oxfordshire at Kantara, Egypt on 4 July 1919, arriving in Fremantle on 4 August 1919.

Throughout the war the regiment’s Officers, NCO’s and men received many awards; the most notable being the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Hugo Throssell at Hill 60, Gallipoli; the only VC to be awarded to a member of the Light Horse.

MARTIN O’MEARA V.C. – 16th BATTALION, A HERO’S MEDAL ON LOAN TO IRELAND

3970 Pte (later Sgt) Martin O’Meara’s VC medal, proudly cared for by the Army Museum of Western Australia is to be loaned to the National Museum of Ireland to be displayed at Dublin’s Collins Barracks Military Museum’s exhibition – “Cost of War – Costas Cogaidh”.

Martin O’Meara was born in Lorrha, County Tipperary, in 1885. He emigrated to Australia in 1912, working his way by ship and initially settling in South Australia. At the time of his enlistment in Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) in late 1915 he was a sleeper cutter living near Collie in WA’s south west.

Martin O’Meara is the only Irish-born recipient of the Victoria Cross who served in the AIF during the First World War, and at the time of his award he was the first West Australian to receive the VC on the Western Front, preceded only by fellow West Australian, Hugo Throssell’s award won at Hill 60, Gallipoli in late August 1915.

Martin O’Meara was awarded a Victoria Cross for his heroic exploits as a member of B Company, 16th Battalion AIF in August 1916 during the worst days of the Battle of the Somme, at Pozieres and Mouquet farm.

Usually a Victoria Cross is awarded for one significant act of gallantry, but for this nomination his comrades and officers; including the legendary character of the 16th Battalion, Major Percy Black, testified time and again to O’Meara’s extraordinary bravery over a four day period between 9th and 12th August 1916. One officer saying – “The most fearless and gallant soldier that I have ever seen” another soldier testified on his behalf – “This man has been responsible for the evacuation of at least 20 men under conditions that are indescribable”.

His citation from the supplement to the London Gazette of September 9, 1916 reads:

“No 3970 Pte. Martin O’Meara, Aus Infy. For most conspicuous bravery. During four days of very heavy fighting he repeatedly went out and brought in wounded officers and men from “No Man’s Land” under intense artillery and machine gun fire.

He also volunteered and carried up ammunition and bombs through a heavy barrage to a portion of the trenches, which was being heavily shelled at the time.

He showed throughout an utter contempt of danger, and undoubtedly saved many lives”

Pte Martin O’Meara received his VC from King George V, in London in October 1916. Wounded three times between 1916 and 1917, in 1918 he returned to Australia to participate in reviving the flagging recruitment campaign. Arriving home to Perth in November 1918, Martin O’Meara was hailed as a hero but the war was in effect over.

Soon after returning to Western Australia he suffered a severe nervous breakdown and was quickly diagnosed with “delusional insanity”. O’Meara, doctors concluded, had “hallucinations of hearing and sight, is extremely homicidal and suicidal, and requires to be kept in restraint”.

Sadly Martin O’Meara spent the rest of his life in mental institutions. For long periods during his incarceration he was in a straitjacket for 16 hours a day. He died at Claremont Hospital for the Insane on 20 December 1935, aged 50.

Martin O’Meara VC was buried with full military honours at Karrakatta cemetery Perth.

The loan of a VC (classified as a National Treasure) by the Australian government is so rare that it needed changes to legislation to allow the medal to temporarily leave the country for exhibition at Collins Barracks, Dublin The National Museum of Ireland director, Lynn Scarff, said she was “delighted” that the Victoria Cross on loan from the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia would go on exhibition in Collins Barracks later this year. “We are especially honoured given that it is the first loan permitted under new Australian regulations. This loan will provide us with a new opportunity to strengthen the ongoing work and connection between our two countries’ histories and heritage.”

The medal will travel from Artillery Barracks in Fremantle to Collins Barracks in Dublin to be part of the “Cost of War – Costas Cogaidh” exhibition. On display, the Victoria Cross will be reunited with O’Meara’s World War One Victory medal which is cared for by a family member. The whereabouts of O’Meara’s missing British War Medal are not known; it is hoped that the exhibition and publicity surrounding the exhibition may lead to its rediscovery.

The Army Museum of Western Australia will be supporting this unique loan with sets of replica medals for the National Museum of Ireland and the O’Meara family encased in specially engraved jarrah display boxes donated by Medal Boxes Australia, together with cased copies of Michael Madden’s publication The Victoria Cross; Australia Remembers which features Martin O’Meara’s VC on the cover as well as signed copies of Martin O’Meara’s biography by Perth author Ian Loftus.

On Thursday April 18th we had two more special than usual visitors to the Museum.

Ian “Bagzar” Stiles was with the Australian SASR with two tours in South Vietnam. The first in 1966-67 and the second in 1969-70.  Ian also served in the Rhodesian SAS during the “bush wars” 1974-75. He is one of the “SAS legends” and is well written up in histories on the SAS.

Our other guest was Mr. Vo Xuan Thu. Born in Danang in 1950 and now living in Vung Tau.

Mr. Thu is an NVA veteran who served with the 33rd NVA Regiment.

It was the 33rd NVA Regiment that 5RAR was up against in the Battle of Bihn Ba, the 50th anniversary of which is on the 6-8th of June 2019.

 

The February 2019 Sunset Concert Spectacular was another huge success

As usual there was an interesting program of music presented in a most professional and entertaining manner.

The evening was a credit to the musicians from the Australian Army Band Perth, the Royal Australian Navy Band WA as well as the massed Pipes and Drums from the Australian Army Band Perth; 51 ACU Swan Regiment Drums and Pipes and the Presbyterian Ladies’ Pipe Band.

The entrance of the massed Pipes and Drums always causes a stir and is very colourful.

There was a fly-by with five aircraft in formation. We had a Bushmaster make an appearance as well as the grand entrance of our own M113A.

  

  

   

  

  

  

The Len Hall – Dockers football match will be held on Saturday April 27th as part of our ANZAC Day commemoration.

Over the years since the Australian Army Museum of WA has had a relationship with the Fremantle Football Club (The Dockers), it has primarily been a fundraising activity for the benefit of the museum with AAMWA volunteers (and their family and friends), “rattling tins” outside the football stadium prior to the game.

This football game for the Dockers is an ANZAC Day commemorative event that they have called “The Len Hall Game” (Len Hall being the last 1st AIF 10th Light Horse Regiment veteran). It is therefore held the closest Saturday to ANZAC Day.

While the museum volunteers look after the fundraising, the museum Army staff, especially the Museum Manager, Major Henry Fijolek, arrange the Australian Defence Force (ADF) pre-game ceremonial support. This comprises an Honour Guard of some 30 soldiers, a guard commander,  a senior ADF officer to take the salute, a bugler (for the Last Post), a singer (for the National Anthem) and 4 cadets (for the flag guards).

The Army staff have also been asked over the years to provide Australian military history guidance to support annual special military anniversaries that the Dockers have chosen to commemorate.