Bob Iskov – Foraging on the Kokoda Track

Arthur Loudon - Bomber Command navigation

Arthur Loudon - ME109

Arthur Loudon - City on fire

Les Cook - Native carriers – supplies

Les Cook - Physical effects of New Guinea campaign

Les Cook - Walking in the jungle

Les Cook - Artillery in the jungle

Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh – Typhoon Ruth

Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh – The leans

Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh – Meteors vs MiGs

Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh – Deck landings

Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh – Bombing raids

Francis Adrian Roberts – Home

Francis Adrian Roberts – Long Tan – Part 5

Francis Adrian Roberts – Long Tan – Part 4

Francis Adrian Roberts – Long Tan – Part 3

Francis Adrian Roberts – Long Tan – Part 2

Francis Adrian Roberts – Long Tan – Part 1

Francis Adrian Roberts – Minefield

Francis Adrian Roberts – Instinct and situational awareness

Francis Adrian Roberts – Reflections on the Second World War

Alastair Bridges – Returning home

Alastair Bridges – Post traumatic stress

Alastair Bridges – SAS insertions

Alastair Bridges – First impressions of Vietnam

Alastair Bridges – Helicopter training

Alastair Bridges – Motivation to join the Air Force

Patrick O'Hara – Reflections on service

Patrick O'Hara – Fear and Apprehension

Patrick O'Hara – Sleepwalking

Patrick O'Hara – First Impressions

Patrick O'Hara – Support at home

Patrick O'Hara – Life at Puckapunyal

Patrick O'Hara – Arrival at Puckapunyal

Patrick O'Hara – Birthday Ballot

Patrick O'Hara – Reflections on being called up

Rats of Tobruk

Rats of Tobruk Transcript

Arrival in Tobruk

Bob Semple

We were shipped in to the place. I personally went in and we shall ever be grateful to our Navy. The destroyers and those ships that supported and kept us alive because without the Navy we would not have seen out the distance.

Hautrie Crick

Ten o’clock at night we got in to Tobruk and all we did was just, the trucks pulled up and we jumped off and all we did was just sort off dug a little depression in the ground and laid a groundsheet on the ground and laid on that until the morning. And woke up in the morning and we were half buried in sand. There’d been a storm through the night. The way the sand drifts over there, it just travels,and we were just pushing the sand like that to get up in the morning.

Living Conditions

Bob Semple

One bottle of water for all purposes. No trees and you are just out in the bare sunlight. Scrubby stuff a bit like sort of saltbush around the area. Can get cold at night, it can be 45 degrees [during the day] you know, or more sometimes, the sandstorms come up and they just shut down the book for two or three days at a time, or a couple of days anyhow. Just like pulling the blind down from sky to land,and they’re vicious sort of things come up out of the desert.

Hautrie Crick

Well the water used to be bought up in petrol drums that were emptied that day or whatever and the water used to taste like bloody petrol. And that’s all we used to have to drink, and do a bit of a wash and a shave and that. Oh it was shocking.

Jack Caple

You put about that much water in (holds up tin cup), do your teeth, then shave, and your hands and face, and that for three weeks. And when you came off the red line you’d get down to the blue line and nick down to the beach and have a wash up Of a night time the truck would come up with our dinner and these are our dixies. You’d use that for bully beef stew (holds up Dixie tin), and that one (holds up smaller dixie tin) for prunes and rice – that was your sweets. And two buckets of water. One was supposed to be hot, and one’s cold. And no teatowel. That’s about the size of a tin of bully beef (holds up tinned meat), and we were sharing three of those between three men for lunch for a long time. The rations were pretty scarce.

Australians on the Western Front

Frank McDonald

It wasn’t for king and country. Australia’s too big to be carted away by anybody, and I wasn’t concerned about that. What I really was worried about was the women and the children. If a place was invaded. You know, when the war had been going along enough for us to hear what was happening to some of the women and children in villages in France being bombed out and so forth. That was my main concern, really, to see if I could do a little bit to protect them. And it was the same reason I volunteered for the Second War. I was five and a half years in that, too.

Ted Smout

It was about 5 miles from the Front. Steenwerck, the Houplines sector, which was a kind of a training ground for both sides of trench warfare. The trenches were dry and well established on both sides. There was never any serious fighting there, but it was a training ground. I well remember there was one spot there, the Germans were very methodical, and there was one place there, they used to go right on the dot of half hour. Used to fire about fifty rounds of machine gun. You’d just wait in the post until you’d hear these fifty. You could walk across, quite safe. But one, that was the first casualty I saw there was a chap by the name of Purdy, who was a champion chess player for New South Wales. Six foot one tall. He was a fatalist. You know, if I’m going to be killed I’ll be killed. He was. He wouldn’t duck in the trenches. He got a snipers bullet right through the head. That was the first casualty I saw. He was killed outright. But except for snipers there was no activity. Occasionally they’d shell, land over a shell or two but there wasn’t any serious fighting.

Frank McDonald

When I went in the trenches, and when I went to bed I went to sleep. You could have a shell burst ten yards from me. I wouldn’t hear it. If you just said "Mac", soft like that, I was awake instantly. You got used to the shells bursting, it was just part of the night noises. But you just had to mention my name, soft voice, I was awake instantly. Of course, if there was a raid coming over or anything like that, the Germans well, you had to get out a stand to. Be ready.

Phillip Rubie

And you’d know exactly what second you had to leap out of the trench and go forward. The closer you could keep to your barrage, the safer you were. Because it didn’t give the Germans time to realise that you was coming, and you was on top of them before they knew where they were.

Frank McDonald

There's one thing getting killed with a machine gun bullet and another thing getting a shell burst down blasting you to bits and pieces, you were going in all directions. I had three mates lived just up, about half a mile from where my farm up in Caster Road, three young boys they went away to war and they were in our battalion and we were in Armentieres to, and they, they came out of the trench and got in a shell hole to have a bit of dinner, and one of these Minnenwerfers [German mortar] landed in the hole with them. Two sandbags about that long and about that wide had bagged up the three of them. Those were the kinds of thing you don't want to remember or dream about because they, it's another thing where the authorities I think made a mistake. They shouldn't have allowed brothers to be together, they should have had one in one battalion and one in another one and so on so they don't all get killed at once.

Phillip Rubie

Going back out and another fella with me, and we got back to where the barrage was pretty thick, the Germans barrage. And we stopped. And a big shell came over, landed just outside the trench and blew the whole damn lot over the top of us. Buried us. And fellas just close to us, they knew we were there, and they come to see how we fared when this big one burst. And they found we were buried, they dug us out.

Frank McDonald

Just stepped outside and these two officers, Captain Tyrell was standing like where you are there, and a Lieutenant beside him there. A nice sunny morning about 10 o’clock and a shell came over, a 4.2 German howitzer shell, and it landed about that far behind Captain Tyrell. Fortunately for me, he was dead in line between the bursting shell and myself. He got his back all torn out from the metal from the shell burst. I didn’t get a scratch, he protected me. He fell over into my arms as a matter of fact. Colonel Lord, he was our colonel at the time, he was only about 20 yards away, walking over to talk to me He got a bit of shell through his sleeve, his jacket. That, I thought to myself well, I’m not going to get hurt in this war. You know, if that Captain had been standing a foot that way or a foot that way, I would have got in my chest what he got in his back. So he saved my life. Captain Tyrell that was. I’ll never forget the man for that. I never had any fear about getting hurt after that.

Eric Abraham

Well, I can’t say I was emotional at all because we’re living with death all the time, don’t forget. That question was asked of me about, one of my cobbers got killed, [(UNCLEAR)] just outside my dugout with a bloody big shell that fell on him, got him and killed him, and the sergeant didn’t get a scrape of the same shell. The girls [researchers] asked me the question, what emotion? I didn’t have any. And I said, "Oh," I said to myself, "Why is that? Why didn’t I have any bloody emotion? The poor bastard’s dead." I did not have any emotion. He was the bloke I just relieved in the tic-tac business. I didn’t have any emotion. And I said to myself, "Bugger this, it might have been me a couple of hours later." Could have been me, the sergeant too. But I didn’t have any emotion whatsoever. When I heard about my brother getting killed, no emotion either. I might be different, I don’t know.

Phillip Rubie

I think one of the worst gases they ever used, because it cut the lungs out of them. If you got a belly full of chlorine gas you spat your lungs out. [UNCLEAR] it took them days and days to die but die they would from chlorine. The only thing was in favour of phosgene against chlorine was chlorine you could see it. The chlorine gas came as a vapour cloud you could see like a fog.

Frank McDonald

But actually I spoke to a few of German prisoners which we took at various times, and I met some quite, some nice fellows among them. They’d been waiters and whatnot in London, and spoke English very well. I found them quite decent fellows. Except when there was a back of a gun and it was pointing my way, then they were not my friends then.

I just take it as a something I had to do, I mean, you couldn’t walk out. You had to do your job, and you did it for 6 or 8 hours a shift, and then you’d go to bed and have a sleep. I never heard a squeak from any of the boys. I used to go around them, practically every day I went through the Company’s to check the telephone lines and that. See if everything was alright. No, I reckon we had about the best battalion in the whole war on either side of no-man’s land. [UNCLEAR] you couldn’t beat them. Nothing would stop them. Once they had a go at something, they took it. We never lost a battle, we never had retreat.

We were coming down a slope like that and we met the French people coming out of this Mericourt, they had their little hand wagon things, something like a cart you know and they had their bit of furniture and their bedding and whatnot on it. Poor old people they were and tears running down their cheeks, the old ladies and they said, "The Germans are coming, they're just over the hill there!" and that's why they were getting out of course before the Germans came in. Well, we let them pass us and then we went down and we met the Germans in the middle of Mericourt and I tell you we didn't give them any quarter either, about an hour and they were out of there, what was still left of them.

Eric Abraham

March started and they, the Germans broke through the Somme. We had just been issued the Comfort Fund. The bloody panic buttons, bells that rang. Full dress, six o’clock or whatever time it was there, [UNCLEAR] full marching order. Marching order means the whole bloody box and dice. All these tins of chocolates and…we had to leave it there [UNCLEAR]. We took what we could of course. The other lot we couldn’t take. Socks and all that type of thing, the bars of chocolate and tins of coffee and milk mixed up together. A lot of it had to be left behind. That broke my heart and all the other blokes’ hearts too. Marching order means you got to follow quick and lively.

Anita Ryall

We were not afraid that they wouldn't come back. I can remember my mother made a big batch of plum jam and she put it into a big stone jar and sealed it up and she said that it was not to be opened ‘til the boys came home and it wasn't opened until the boys came home and it was beautiful jam, lovely, but that's the faith that she had.

Fall of Singapore Documentary

'Fighting in Flanders' (The Ruins of Ypres, 1917)

Cinematographer: George Hubert Wilkins, made in October 1917. This silent film deals with the AIF operations during the Third Battle of Ypres in the 'Ypres Salient' east of the town in September and October 1917

The Australian War Memorial’s original film synopsis: This film deals with the participation of the Australian troops in the Third Battle of Ypres during the autumn of 1917. The scenes include Australians preparing for the attack; being reviewed by Sir Douglas Haig before going in to action; shells falling amongst the ruins of Ypres and then shows the battlefields over which Australians fought and incidents connected with the fighting. [AWM F00056]

Bapaume to Bullecourt

This silent film shows scenes from the Australian advance from the Somme winter lines east of Flers towards the Hindenburg Line between February and April 1917. There are shots of the Mairie (Town Hall) of Bapaume which was blown up by a delayed action mine on the night of 25–26 March 1917. [AWM F00045]

Text description of video: Bapaume to Bullecourt

[The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".

On a text card a swirly border featuring the Rising Sun Badge surrounds the words "Bapuame to Bullecourt".

Text card: In the early spring of 1917 the Germans left their trenches on the old Somme battlefield and retired to the Hindenburg line. They were pursued by the British Forces, including the 1st Anzac Corps (1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Australian Divisions), which fought astride the Albert-Bapaume road.

Text card: Infantry advancing over the old No-Man's-Land to attack the German rear guard.

A field is a sea of churned thick earth. Holding their rifles diagonally across their bodies, soldiers move across the field. Their bayonets are fixed. An officer holds a handgun. Beyond a fence of tangled barbed wire plumes of earth explode into the air. From a trench, tiny figures of soldiers are visible filing across the barren desolation of no-man's-land. Posts dot the landscape. In the distance plumes of smoke erupt into the air. The mud is punctuated by tangles of metal.

Text card: To facilitate the advance, a light railway was constructed by Australian Pioneers alongside the road.

Railway tracks curve past a gentle slope. Soldiers push a flat trolley up the hill. More soldiers ride the trolley back down the hill. Beside the tracks, soldiers dig long trenches. A large group of soldiers pushes a loaded trolley up the tracks. A long beam sticks out both ends of the trolley. Soldiers dig with picks and shovels. On a dirt road beside the track, soldiers ride on horse-drawn carts piled with equipment. The slope near the track is covered with small hillocks. Near the tracks, soldiers construct a frame. A horse-drawn cart stops at a platform near the track. The soldiers dismount. One runs a hose to the cart.

Text card: The first material moved over this railway was metal for the roads being constructed over the old No-Man's-Land.

Soldiers shovel the contents of low rail carriages onto a mound beside the track.

Text card: The Germans tried to delay the advance by blowing craters in the roads. Where possible, these were filled in with material obtained by blowing up wrecked houses.

Smoke drifts past the ruins of village buildings. Smoke billows from the buildings. Parts of a wall crumple away, leaving a chimney.

Text card: Where the craters could not be filled in, roads were built around them. Australian transport passing a crater on the Bapaume road.

Teams of horses pull carts past a large crater and along a road. A wooden fence runs along the edge of the crater. More horses and carts wait by the road. A fence sags away from the edge of the crater toward the road. Planks litter the sides of the crater. Soldiers ride the pairs of horses. Another drives the carriage. The crater's steep sides slopes down to the pool of water at the bottom. Carts and horses head past the crater and up the road which is lined by tall bare tree trunks. The carts have large spoked wheels. A covered truck trundles past the crater. It tows a two-wheeled cart. Soldiers on horses follow close behind. Following trucks carry soldiers and equipment.

Text card: The tanks move up with the Infantry and Artillery.

A tank rolls across a muddy field. Its tracks run around its oblong sides. As the tank drives from a pit, a soldier standing on top struggles to keep his balance. The tank stops at a steep angle. In the distance soldiers, horses and carts file along a road.

Text card: Bapaume was occupied on the 17th March, 1917. It had been destroyed by the retreating Germans.

Three soldiers walk along a street past buildings shrouded with smoke. Behind them rubble from a destroyed house is strewn across the street. Smoke rises from buildings, their windows are smashed in. A sign on a facade reads "Duflos Baroux". Soldiers move along a street lined with ruined buildings. A series of tall archways lines the porch of a building. Soldiers stand outside. Soldiers work near piles of rubble lying amid broken walls. An open car passes.

Text card: Australians warming themselves at a burning building.

Thick smoke rises from piles of rubble. Behind a small group of soldiers, wooden beams stick out at steep angles. More beams lie across the debris.

Text card: Australian Infantry and Transport passing through Bapaume.

Soldiers drive horse-drawn carts along a road lined with the remains of flattened buildings.

Text card: Light railways taking up stores to Bapaume.

Soldiers ride flatcars loaded with equipment up railway tracks. The sleepers are split logs lying flat side down. Some battered carriages are piled with sacks, others with hay bales.

Text card: An Australian Band playing in the square at Bapaume.

Near large, smoking piles of rubble and broken buildings a large crowd of soldiers stands around a band. The sunlight glints off tubas and trombones. Soldiers bundled up in coats ride past on horses. Many soldiers stare toward the panning camera. Some smoke cigarettes.

Text card: A few days after Bapaume was occupied the Town Hall was blown up by a delay-action mine laid by the Germans. Several Australian soldiers lost their lives though their comrades endeavoured to rescue them from the debris. After the explosion.

A crowd of soldiers digs through the rubble covering a large area. Some soldiers sit on a low wall. A covered truck drives past the rubble and the nearby remains of buildings. Many buildings have sections of roof and wall missing.

Text card: The Villages occupied by our troops in this advance were shelled by the Germans.

Across barren fields smoke plumes rise above village buildings. Throughout the village tree trunks stretch up to spindly bare branches. In the middle of buildings smoke shoots high into the air. Dark smoke drifts over the thatched roofs of the pale buildings. A person's tiny figure is dwarfed by the landscape.

Text card: Artillery advancing across the open was also subjected to heavy shell fire.

Barren plains stretch to the horizon. Looking like ants, dark figures and vehicles file across the vast landscape. One figure is a considerable distance ahead. High above, a dark smoke cloud appears and expands.

Text card: Drivers bringing their dumb comrades out of the inferno.

Patches of white smoke dot the landscape. Distant figures of soldiers and horses move across the plains. A cloud of black smoke appears and expands overhead. A horse pulls away from a soldier.

Text card: Australian Machine Gunners engaging a German plane.

Two soldiers chest-high in a ditch aim a large machine gun into the air. Pale smoke drifts from the thick cylinder of the barrel. One soldier holds an ammunition box containing the ammunition belt. It feeds rapidly into the gun.

Text card: They succeeded in bringing it down.

Text card: The Australian Batteries were shelled by the Germans.

A barbed wire fence runs across a vast muddy plain. Soldiers ride horses quickly across the flat horizon. Behind them earth explodes into the air. Near a field gun a soldier's helmet is visible in a ditch. In the distance a cloud of dark smoke drifts across the plain. The gun fires. A trench runs from the field gun to a second gun. Soldiers dig more trenches. In the distance dark smoke billows then drifts away. Soldiers work near the gun. One picks up a long shell. Smoke bursts from the end of the gun, the barrel shoots backwards, then darts forward.

Text card: An Australian forward observing Officer directing fire on Bullecourt.

A soldier lies on a sharply sloped trench wall, another sits nearby. They peer across the plain. Men in round helmets gather near a narrow trench and stare across No-Man's-Land.

Text card: Australian Infantry resting in a sunken road during the attack on Bullecourt.

At the base of a steep slope, soldiers gather by a dug-out. Sandbags are neatly piled nearby. A soldier moves away, revealing the low dugout entrance which is flanked by sandbags. A soldier slips down into the entrance. Near the dugout a soldier swings a pick. A man perched on the dugout idly twirls a stick. A soldier pulls aside the cloth covering a the door of a hut and ducks inside.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen.]

'King reviews troops on Salisbury Plain'

King George V reviews Australian troops on Salisbury Plain. The king decorates Australian heroes of Pozieres in the presence of the Australian High Commissioner.

Text description of video: 'King reviews troops on Salisbury Plain'

[On a black screen the words "Pathé Gazette are flanked by two cockerels silhouetted in white circles. Above, text reads, "The King Reviews Australian Troops. Impressive scenes on Salisbury Plain."

Hundreds of troops stand in ranks on a plain. A row of officers stand to attention a short distance in front of them. The King rids with a dozen horsemen past the parade. One rider carries a flag. At the end of the row, an Australian soldier sits on horseback. As the King's group passes, his horse turns skittish. He brings it under control. The King and officers sit on horseback on a large field. As horsemen ride past the king, they salute. One flies a flag. Long ranks of soldiers on horseback parade past. A dark dog wanders out past the King. Soldiers wait in the far side of the field as horsemen ride past. The King salutes as ranks of soldiers in slouch hats wheel bicycles past. Australian soldiers steer horse-drawn carts past the king. The rider bringing up the rear salutes. Ranks of six-horse teams parade past, pulling carts.

A short distance from the King, a soldier flies a flag as hundreds of soldiers march past in neat rows. As they march in unison, the soldiers keep their faces turned towards the King. Beyond the field, hills loom. At the base of the slopes, white smoke rises from buildings. A portly officer sits to the King's right. He speaks with the officer standing beside him. The King has a neat beard. His dark horse moves forward a few steps. The King salutes each group of passing soldiers. HIs horse stamps its front hooves. The parading soldiers hold their rifles on their left shoulders at a slight backwards angle. They parade between the King and assembled soldiers. Between two groups, men on horses ride. The horsemen salute the king. Two-horse teams draw carts. Two soldiers are seated on each cart. Horsemen ride alongside. A horseman rides a short distance in front of infantry ranks. He salutes the King. The King salutes the parade. The portly officer gestures. An officer brings over a document, and shows it to him. The King points toward the parade and speaks to the portly officer.

Text card: Honours For The Brave. The King decorates Australian heroes of Pozieres in presence of High Commissioner.

Soldiers and civilians stand gathered behind ropes near an open space. A few soldiers stand on an elevated platform. In the open area the King stands talking with a stately man who wears a bowler hat and a long dark coat. Officers stand near a table. An Australian in his slouch hat stands to attention. The King steps over, pins a medal to the soldier's uniform then shakes his hand. The soldier steps back, salutes, then turns away. He wears his backpack. One by one, soldiers march up to the King and salute. The King pins medals above the left chest pockets of their uniform, then speaks with them and shakes their hands.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military".]

Von Richthofen's funeral

Incidents in connection with the funeral of Captain Baron Manfred von Richthofen, Germany's leading airman killed on 21 April 1918 aged 25. Wreckage of the Baron's Fokker DR1 is examined by members of No. 3 Squadron AFC. On 22 April No. 3 Squadron AFC buried von Richthofen with full military honours at Bertangles cemetery.  [AWM F00032]

Text description of video: 'Funeral of Captain Baron von Richthofen'

[A black title card has a double border with swirled corners. Text reads, "Incidents In Connection With The Funeral of Capt. Baron Von Richtofen, Germany's Leading Airman, Killed on April 21st, 1918, aged 25 years."

On a black text card, white text reads, "His smashed up machine."

The wreckage of a plane lies near tents. Soldiers examine debris and the holes in the fuselage. Two machine guns lean against the wreckage. Three soldiers examine the machine guns. Their barrels have a lattice-work cooling cover.

Text card: Wreaths arriving from British Headquarters, etc.

Trucks and soldiers wait on a road. Two soldiers carry large wreaths that are decorated with pale flowers and striped ribbons. Near a crowd of observers, two lines of soldiers stand facing each other, their rifles on their shoulders. In unison, they present arms, holding their rifles vertically in front of their bodies. Six soldiers carry a coffin on their shoulders to a truck. They ease the wreath-covered coffin onto the truck's tray.

Text card: The Cortege moving off.

One hand behind their backs, an honour guard marches between two lines of soldiers standing to attention. The truck and more soldiers follow. The triangular peaks of tents line one side of the road.

Text card: The scene at the Cemetery.

A priest in a white alb and dark stole leads pall bearers carrying a coffin on their shoulders. An officer stands by open graves. Soldiers peer over a hedge into the cemetery. The honour guard parades past the graves, holding their rifles under their left arms. Behind their backs, their right hands hold the muzzles of their rifles. The priest reads from a Bible. Wreaths are removed from the coffin and put on the hedge. Two ropes run under the coffin. Soldiers holding the rope ends help lower the coffin into the grave. The honour guard fires into the air. They lower their rifles, rest the muzzles on the ground, rest their left hands on the butt of the rifle, then swing their right hands horizontally through the air and place them on top of the rifle butt. They then do the same with their left hands. The honour guard bow their heads. By the grave, the priest holds his bible open. Later, the priest and some soldiers move away. The wreaths are lifted from the hedge. As soldiers start to fill in the grave, others watch from behind the hedge.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

Official dedication, 19 July 2010

The following video is an extract from the DVD: Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery – Official Dedication Ceremony and Burial of the Last Unknown Soldier 19 July 2010, produced by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and provided by the Australian Army.

Fighting in Flanders

Cinematographer: George Hubert Wilkins, made in October 1917. This silent film deals with the AIF operations during the Third Battle of Ypres in the 'Ypres Salient' east of the town in September and October 1917

The Australian War Memorial’s original film synopsis: This film deals with the participation of the Australian troops in the Third Battle of Ypres during the autumn of 1917. The scenes include Australians preparing for the attack; being reviewed by Sir Douglas Haig before going in to action; shells falling amongst the ruins of Ypres and then shows the battlefields over which Australians fought and incidents connected with the fighting. [AWM F00056]

The Australians' final campaign in 1918

After the third battle of Ypres in September 1917 the Australians were put in to hold the Messines-Wytschaete sector and to prepare defences against the expected German spring offensive [March 1918].

The German offensive was launched opposite Amiens and the Australians were sent to meet it. The heaviest fighting was around Villers-Bretonneux which was retaken by the Australians. In May General Monash took command of the Australian Corps from General Birdwood. On 4th July the Battle of Hamel was fought by Australians and Americans under Australian command.

On 8 August the Allied offensive took place with tanks and cavalry used on a large scale. [After the Battle of Amiens] General Monash [was] knighted by King George V at Corps Headquarters at Bertangles [Chateau]. [Also shown is the] capture of Mont St Quentin by the 2nd Division and Peronne … At Chuignes the 3rd Battalion captured their largest trophy ever, a 15-inch naval gun weighing over 500 tons.

Prime Minister [William Morris] Hughes visited the front and met the AIF at Peronne. [In September] The AIF broke through the Hindenburg Line after the Americans were checked at Gillemont Farm. On 21 September 1918 the 53rd Battalion held a memorial parade at Quinconce. [AWM F00018]

Text description

[Text card: After Hamel came the great offensive of 8th August, called by Ludendorff "German's Day of Doom". During these operations the Australian Corps formed part of the Fourth Army under General Rawlinson.

Smiling, General Rawlinson talks to the camera. He wears four long ribbon bars above his left breast pocket. He has a neat pale moustache.

Text card: Australian infantry moving forward through the early morning fog after the opening of the battle.

Soldiers in full kit move over muddy uneven ground. They wear helmets and uniforms, and carry rifles, packs and shovels. A truck and horsemen follow tracks across the thick dark mud. Soldiers dig near and over the tracks. Two stretcher-bearers carry a patient past the diggers. They hold the stretcher waist-high.

Text card: The Artillery move out to take up new positions.

On a grassy field loaded wagons stand ready. Six-horse teams are prepared. A soldier climbs onto a wagon, near its large wooden wheels. Each pair of horses in the team has one rider. Men on horseback escort the teams. A team pulls a wagon connected to a cannon. Soldiers ride on the wagon. Another runs behind the cannon. In the distance two soldiers carry a crate between them. A soldier runs after a wagon and throws equipment onto it.

Text card: The Cavalry moving up past some captured German field pieces.

Dozens of riders file across a grassy field, passing abandoned vehicles. Soldiers carrying gear walk alongside the horses.

Text card: One of the famous whippets with a speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour, leaving its camp.

A small tank has a blocky cabin sticking above its oblong tracks. The tracks are lined with horizontal ridges. It trundles up a small slope and along a wide track. Soldiers stand behind the cabin. One jumps off the back.

Text card: Prisoners, shepherded by tanks coming through a captured village.

Soldiers in helmets usher soldiers in caps and different uniforms along a village road. A tank trundles after them. 'Britannia' is painted across the front of the tank. A horseshoe hangs from a loop underneath. A soldier peers from a small hatch. 'B46' is painted on the side of the tank, near a large gun barrel.

Text card: Searching the prisoners for information.

Surrounded by soldiers, the prisoners stand with their backs to a building. A prisoner holds his arms high as a soldier rummages in his pockets. A soldier looks through books and documents. Bayonets are fixed to the soldiers rifles.

Text card: The reserve Cavalry Squadrons move up to join in the attack.

In a grassy field, dozens of mounted cavalry wait in large groups. One group trots away in their helmets and uniforms. Groups of cavalry ride off to the left. Others wait in long rows. Horsemen stream past the camera. Riders cross a railway track and head into long grass. Shrubs blow in the breeze. Some ride down a steep slope, then over the tracks. On the other side, horses leap and climb up another short slope. The camera pans across dozens of horsemen gathered in large groups in a grassy field.

Text card: The supply transport hurrying through the villages that were a few hours before in enemy hands.

Horsemen and vehicles move down a street, past battered buildings. Holes gape in the roofs and walls of buildings. Horses and riders wait by the road. Canvas-covered vehicles move the opposite direction through the village. Some are marked with crosses. Horses and vehicles wait for the convoy to pass, then head the opposite direction. Following the convoy, two horses pull a cart. A soldier rides one of the horses. Four-horse teams pull loaded carts.

Text card: A few days after the opening of the August attack the King visited Corps Head-quarters at Bertangles and knighted General Monash, the Corps Commander.

A road runs through tall thick trees and short grass. Soldiers stand waiting both sides of the road. A convoy of cars pulls up. Before the first car stops moving, two soldiers jump out. They open a door. A uniformed man with a neat beard and a walking stick steps out and shakes a waiting soldier's hand. The King is lead to waiting officers. One salutes, then shakes hands. The King moves across the road. A soldier in an Australian slouch hat strides over and salutes. The camera pans across to ranks of Australians standing at attention, their rifles on their shoulders.

A range of artillery sits outside a building. The large guns are mounted on wheels. The King's group walks past and heads inside. On outdoor stairs, a upholstered footstool stands on the a patterned rug. A sword lies on a nearby small table. An officer draws it. The King places his sword on the table, the officer passes him the first sword. General Monash kneels on the footstool and bows his head. The King taps the sword on both his shoulders. The general stands. The King passes pack the sword and is handed the insignia which he presents to Monash, hanging a medal around his neck. Monash replaces his hat, then shakes the King's hand. The King speaks to him. Monash moves away.]

The Australians at Messines

Cinematographer: Herbert F Baldwin, made 5–14 June 1917. This silent film deals with the Australian operations at the Battle of Messines in June 1917.

Below is the Australian War Memorial’s original film synopsis:

Before taking up front line positions Australian troops were shown a large contour plan of the area over which their attack was to be made. The preliminary bombardment of Messines on the afternoon of 5 June 1917. Artillery observers in advanced posts registering results and telephoning to the batteries. Scenes on the road to Messines. One of the mine craters seen from the top and bottom. Messines after its capture was heavily shelled by the Germans. The Messines road at evening on the day of the battle.

Australian forces in France

Cinematographer: Herbert Baldwin and film edited by Charles Bean. This silent film deals with the arrival of the AIF in France from Egypt in March–April 1916, the early Australian experience of trench warfare, artillery bombardments and the operations around Pozières in July and August 1916

Text description of video: 'Australians forces in France'

[On a black text card, a plain border surrounds the words "The King watched the bombardment of Pozieres while the Australians were holding it."

Standing in a field with a group of officers, the King peers through a long thin telescope. Above a flat barren landscape, a dark cloud of smoke puffs high in the air. More smoke billows along the horizon. The King lowers his telescope. The officer beside him speaks. The King raises the telescope again. Dark puffs of smoke explode above the dark field. Standing near mounds of pale earth, the King points out into the desolate landscape. Officers speak and point, One points with his stick. An officer leads the king and other officers down a slope and past a dugout.

Text card: Australian troops straight from Pozieres give three cheers for the King.

A large group of soldiers in long coats and slouch hats wave enthusiastically. Many wave their hats. The soldiers cover a slope by the side of a road. Smiling, they wave at the camera. A soldier points away from the camera, still waving, the others turn in that direction.

Text card: Australians cheering their comrades who are moving out into rest area straight from the thick of the fight.

Smiling soldiers march down the road, some in helmets, some in slouch hats. On the crowded slopes near the road, soldiers wave their hats. Two soldiers ride bicycles.

Text card: Scottish troops fought side by side with the Australians. They march out, and are watched by Canadians and New Zealanders, who succeeded the Australians in the great battlefield.

Officers and soldiers gathered by railway tracks watch ranks of soldiers march past. The landscape beyond is shrouded in mist. Two civilian men in suits and hats stand near the officers. An officer with a crooked stick under his arm turns away and lights a cigarette.

Text card: The unveiling of the memorial to the Officers, N.C.O.'s, and men of the 1st Australian Division who fell in the Taking of Pozieres, July 1916.

Soldiers wearing slouch hats stand in neat ranks, holding their rifles vertically on their shoulders. An Australian flag and a white cloth are pulled away, revealing a tall white Celtic cross. Hundreds of soldiers lower their rifles from their shoulders and present arms in unison. The words "1st Australian Division AIF" are inscribed in dark letters on the cross which stands on top of a mound. A large wreath rests at the base of the cross.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

Australian pressmen visit the Australian front

Australian and British newspaper editors and war correspondents visit the Australian forces in France, where they view and enter old trenches near Biaches and watch artillery barrages laid down by the Australian artillery in the Mont St Quentin sector. The press later viewed the tank school and the dog training school at the Base Depot, Etaples. Field Marshal Earl Haig [Commander in chief, British Expeditionary Force] gave [a] party, which included Mr Geoffrey Fairfax and Sir Keith Murdoch. The party then travelled by motor car to Arras where they viewed the ruined cathedral. [AWM F00046]

Text description of video: 'Australian pressmen visit the Australian front'

[On a black text card the words "Australian Pressmen Visit the Australian Front" appear above a Rising Sun badge.

Text card: The arrival of the Australian Editors at Corps Headquarters.

Near cars, men in civilian suits and hats shake hands with soldiers. As they head upstairs into a building, some stop and chat with soldiers and shake hands.

Text card: Leaving Corps Headquarters for a tour of the recently won territory.

An officer follows a reporter into the back of a car. Another officer holding documents shakes hands then sits up front. He unfolds a map as a soldier drives the car away. More reporters and soldiers follow in open cars.

Text card: Visiting the trenches which were a few days before in the enemy's hands, and watching a barrage put down by the Australian artillery.

A soldier and a man in a long coat and helmet lean on the side of a trench and peer into No-Man's-Land. Across the barren plain dark smoke drifts near the ground and high in the air. A reporter sits near a trench. A burly soldier steps onto a foothold in the trench wall, then up out of the trench. A reporter in suit and helmet follows hesitantly. The reporter wears a pouch across his chest.

Text card: ETAPLES. Visit to the tank school.

Reporters in suits and hats are ushered along a path by an officer. Behind them, tanks stand in a row. Reporters move across ground furrowed with tank tracks. They watch a tank trundle away. An officer heads toward the tank. the reporters follow.

Text card: Dog's training school.

Soldiers sit at the top of a grassy slope. About a dozen reporters stand nearby. A dog wearing a vest races up the slope to a soldier who has a hand held out. As the dog eats from his hand, the soldier grabs the dog's collar. A soldier comes up the slope and leads the dog away. As he talks, an officer points a stick down the slope.

Two trainers walk four dogs across barren slopes past a sandbagged dugout. A trainer sends a dog running down into a barren gully. The dog searches the gully and disappears over a rise. Sitting at the top of the slope, reporters watch a dog race back through the gully to the trainer who pats him thoroughly. A flag is stuck in the ground nearby. A soldier grabs it and hurries to the top of the hill. The trainer quickly brings the dogs together. At the top of the hill, a third soldier gestures. The flag is raised.

Text card: Bombing practice is frequently made during the dog's mealtime. In this way the dogs are accustomed to associate the two together.

In a yard a dog sit outside one of many kennels. A short distance away smoke billows from a sandbagged dugout. Reporters watch. Near the kennels a small structure in a dugout suddenly billows smoke. A dog looks around. Thick white smoke drifts past reporters and a domed Nissen hut. A moustachioed officer strides away.

Text card: Sir Douglas Haig.

A dignified officer with a neat moustache moves from a building and joins the reporters. They gather around him for a group photo. Haig beckons and ushers two men to the front. The camera pans along the large group. As the group breaks up, reporters tip their hats to Haig.

Text card: Arras.

Haig stands with the reporters. Standing by a large pile of rubble, reporters and soldiers stare up at the tall columns of a building. Some pillars are pockmarked. An officer leads the reporters past rubble piled higher than their heads. The reporters walk across the debris filling the Arras Cathedral.

By a shabby building, the reporters are gathered by a window. The officer gestures. An elderly woman puts a small fluffy dog on the window sill. As the woman chats with the officer, a reporter holds his hand out to the dog and shakes its paw. The woman lifts a cat in her other hand. The reporters move away from ruined buildings that surrounded by piles of rubble.

Text card: Vimy Ridge.

Lounging in long grass, reporters and soldiers eat and drink. Gazing at the camera, a reporter smokes a pipe. Near battered buildings a motorbike and sidecar passes the convoy of reporters' cars. A soldier runs up the street behind them.

A tall stone doorway frames damaged buildings. Reporters and soldiers walk up stairs and through the doorway. Some reporters lean on walking sticks

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen.
A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown.
Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

Australian forces in France 1916

Shows scenes of many branches of the Australian Army in France including artillery action (12-inch howitzers and 18 pounders) and men working, training and relaxing behind the lines. General [Sir William] Birdwood watches a tree felling contest held in a French forest between Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. West Australians move up toward the trenches. Chaplain holds divine service the day before battle. [AWM F00050]

Text description of video: 'Australian forces in France 1916'

[On a black screen white text reads, "After one of the fiercest struggles in history the Australians stormed and captured the great German stronghold of Pozieres. A few of the prisoners arrive after the great fight, taken by the Western Australians, Tasmanians, South Australians and Queenslanders at Mouquet Farm."

Prisoners wearing military uniforms but no hats queue behind a truck. Some wear bandages, mostly on their arms and heads. Australian soldiers check the prisoners, then guide them up a ladder into the back of a truck. Near trees officers stand talking. Soldiers help wounded prisoners down from the truck. A prisoner staring at the camera wears a tag on the front of his tunic. Later, three lines of prisoners wait behind a truck, many wear flat hats or berets. They climb the short ladder into the back. A prisoner stands waiting as an officer writes. The officer tears a page from his notebook and hands it to the prisoner. Throwing up pale clouds, a truck drives off. Soldiers stand on the open truck ramp. Prisoners sit on the floor. Soldiers watch the truck turn a corner.

Text card: After its capture the Germans unsuccessfully counter-attack and heavily shell our men in possession of the village.

Australian soldiers gathered by equipment gaze out over fields towards dark plumes of smoke on the horizon. Dirt roads curve across a dark field. Smoke drifts along a horizon. A wooden cross stands in a rugged field. Smoke clouds billow on the distant horizon. Bicycles lie on their sides in the dirt. Smoke rises from beyond a nearby ridge.

Text card: The roll call of a New South Wales Battalion.

Among trees soldiers in slouch hats stand in a long line.

Text card: Arriving at the Casualty Clearing Station.

Soldiers stand by a truck. Stretchers are carried past. Three soldiers climb from the truck. One soldier helps carry their bags away. Men covered in blankets are eased from a truck on stretchers and carried off. Two tiers of shelves line the sides of the truck. The canvas side of the truck is printed with a cross inside a white circle. A patient looks around as he's carried away. Soldiers watch sombrely. A woman and two children stand watching. Boys in dark uniforms hurry past. Rifles lean on a red brick building. Soldiers carry a stretcher out through a door. The figure on top is shrouded in a blanket.

Text card: Scenes inside the hospital.

In a sunny room, white enamel dishes are arranged on a table. Other containers and equipment cover the table and another table under the window. A man quickly washes his hand in a dish, then turns away and works out of sight. Two medics work on a patient. One medic holds his hand on the patient's chest. The other medic works with his face close to the patient's torso. A nurse wearing a long white headdress stands in a sunny ward. Beds line the wall. The sun shines through large windows. A patient with a bandaged head lies back on his bed. The nurse leans over the patient in the next bed. He shifts under the blanket. A nurse dresses a soldier's foot. In full uniform, he sits with his leg up on a bed. Behind him, other soldiers sit around a table. She wears a large white wraparound apron.

Text card: All honour to the glorious dead, they have given their lives for the Empire that it may live.

Soldiers in various states of dress stand around a grave as an officer reads from a book. The men hold their hats by their sides or behind their backs. Behind them, a horse-drawn cart throws up dust clouds which shroud a nearby cross. The officer tucks the book in his breast pocket. Soldiers put on their hats. Some peer down into the grave. A soldier in his shirtsleeves hands the officer equipment.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

Arras, Bullecourt and Hindenburg Line

Engineers demolishing houses. Interior of Arras Cathedral. German batteries shell Allied positions. Shelling of a recently captured village. German shells bursting in Arras and the effect. Australian transport round a mine crater. Queenslanders and Tasmanians in front of Bullecourt. Australian artillery observers watching bombardment of Hindenburg line.

Text description of video: Arras, Bullecourt and Hindenburg Line

[On a black text card, white text reads, "Our engineers over-came the difficulty by blowing down the remainder of houses around the crater, for making up new roads.

In black and white footage, a damaged house explodes into billowing clouds of dust. The clouds clear to reveal a pile of rubble and shattered walls. A second explosion leaves a chimney standing among debris.

Text card: Interior of Arras Cathedral.

From inside the brick cathedral the cross topping the still standing façade is visible through the missing roof. A single brick archway rises above the damaged brick walls. Stately columns line the rubble-filled nave. Each column is topped with a scrolled Corinthian design. A decorated archway tops the open door. Pairs of columns lead to a side alcove.

Text card: German batteries endeavour to shell our positions.

Across a dark muddy field, thick pale smoke drifts past skeletal trees. Clouds of smoke billow over the rough ground. Beyond the churned mud smoke drifts above a field dotted with craters. Beyond a muddy ridge smoke rises between trees. Artillery sits in the muddy field. Smoke rises above one gun that is covered by a low canopy. Smoke billows behind the cannon. Smoke drifts across the crater-pocked field. Beyond a dark barrier, dirt fountains high in the air.

Text card: The enemy shell a recently captured village.

Across grey fields, smoke rises above low buildings. The buildings have white walls and thatched roofs. Bare-limbed trees dot the village. Dark smoke spurts high into the air and forms changing shapes as it drifts above the village.

Text card: South Africans make a raid into the enemy trenches...

Across a churned grey field, tiny distant figures file quickly along the horizon. Puffs of smoke drift overhead. Silhouetted against the pale sky, the figures gather in one area.

Text card: ...and bring back 3 prisoners.

Closer, the uniformed soldiers return across the uneven ground, many holding their rifles in one hand. Long, sharp bayonets protrude from the weapons. At bayonet point, a man holds his hands up as he steps down into a trench. His guard follows. Wearing round brimmed helmets, soldiers climb down into the trenches. Wide-eyed prisoners are hustled along a trench.

Text card: German shells bursting in Arras and the effect.

Debris hurtles across a dirt road that curves between damaged buildings. Smoke drifts across the road, past an abandoned vehicle. Beside the road dirt explodes into the air. A ruined multi-storey building has one side torn away. Buckled floors are piled with rubble, tangled debris hangs down broken walls.

Text card: Australian Transport rounding mine crater.

Soldiers moving along the rim of a huge crater are dwarfed by the surrounding devastation. A team of four horses pulls a cart along the crater's edge and into the jagged remains of the village. Soldiers guide teams of eight horses pulling large carts. Soldiers on horseback and foot escort them. Soldiers carry gear past the crater. Surrounded by shattered houses, the crater is the size of a large swimming pool. Broken wooden beams stick from the ground.

Text card: Queenslanders and Tasmanians in front of Bullecourt.

At the base of a steep slope, a soldier sits by a tall pile of sandbags. More soldiers in round helmets lounge on the roof of a dugout. One slips through the low entrance between piled sandbags. Beside the dugout, a soldier swings a pick, another lugs away a sack. A soldier takes equipment from a hut.

Text card: Australian artillery observers watching bombardment of the Hindenburg Line.

Standing by a narrow trench, soldiers gaze out over a barren field. One soldier climbs into the trench. As artillery mounted on large wheels fires, the long barrels slide back under their curved covers. Soldiers cover their ears. Lying and sitting on the sloped wall of a trench, soldiers peer through binoculars. A soldier looks down the barrel of his rifle, then places it across his legs.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]