Aussie Anzacs feature on Imperial War Museums website

Media release: Tuesday, 23 June 2015

An international collaboration between the National Archives of Australia and the UK's Imperial War Museums (IWM) has ensured that  Australian Anzacs are now incorporated into the IWM website Lives of the First World War.

'We realised that this international collaboration with IWM would provide far greater international access to the 376,000 Anzac records that we hold in our own collection,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia.

IWM tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the British Commonwealth, since the World War I.

Diane Lees, IWM Director General, said 'We're delighted to be collaborating with the National Archives of Australia to include the stories of Australians in Lives of the First World War.

'The website is a permanent digital memorial, preserving all the stories of British and the Commonwealth troops for future generations. Now anyone with Australian or British heritage can use Lives of the First World War to discover and remember their First World War connection.'

Mr Fricker said the Australian records were already online through the National Archives' Discovering Anzacs website, as are those of New Zealand servicemen and women but this new collaboration provided much greater international access to the collection.

'Incorporating these records into Lives of the First World War allows us to highlight the vital role Australian service men and women played in Britain's success in World War I,' he said.

The data the National Archives has provided to IWM comes from the service files of those who served in the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. These personnel files include attestation papers, service and casualty forms and other military documents and correspondence. Each person's name, service number, place of birth and enlistment, and next of kin are all included

Stories waiting to be discovered include Oswald Samuel Blows of the 28 Battalion, Australian Imperial Force who served and was injured during the Battle of the Somme in 1916; Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell whose courage at Gallipoli earned him the Victoria Cross and John Simpson Kirkpatrick who famously transported injured soldiers at Gallipoli by donkey (see case studies below). 

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Lisa McKelvie (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3403 m 0401 337 069 e Lisa.McKelvie@naa.gov.au
  • Charlotte Sluter (Imperial War Museums)
    t (0044) 207 416 5420 e csluter@iwm.org.uk
  • Bryony Phillips (Imperial War Museums)
    t (0044) 207 416 5316 e bphillips@iwm.org.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/naagovau
Twitter: naagovau

Case Studies

Oswald Samuel Blows

Australian Imperial Force

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/7362481

Oswald was born on 11 August 1893 in the town of March in Cambridgeshire, England. He emigrated to Australia before the war, and wrote a detailed diary of his journey.

He worked deep in the Australian bush, and it was some weeks before he and his friends even found out that war had broken out.

Oswald enlisted on 4 March 1915 in Perth, joining 28 Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. He served in Gallipoli, and in November 1915, he was admitted to hospital in Malta suffering from jaundice.

After recovering, he later went on to fight at Pozières and Gueudecourt on the Somme in 1916, where he suffered a gunshot wound to his right leg in November.  After a period in hospital, he was sent back to France in February 1917 and took part in actions at Bullecourt and again on the Somme in spring 1918. By now, Oswald had attained the rank of Corporal.

Oswald continued to keep a diary, which he wrote up in more detail after the war. IWM now holds a transcript of his journals.

He returned to Australia after the war but later he moved back to Britain, and died in Bury St Edmunds in 1980.

Second Lieutenant Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell

Australian Light Horse Regiment

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/5409510

Hugo was born in Northam, Western Australia on 27 October 1884. He attended Prince Albert College and later became a farmer in Cowcowing.

Hugo joined 10 Light Horse Regiment on the outbreak of war. He was promoted to Sergeant and then Second Lieutenant.

He arrived at Gallipoli in August 1915 and was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during operations on the Kaiakij Aghala (Hill 60) in the Gallipoli Peninsula on 29th and 30th August 1915.

Although severely wounded in several places during a counter-attack, he refused to leave his post or to obtain medical assistance till all danger was passed, when he had his wounds dressed and returned to the firing-line until ordered out of action by the Medical Officer. By his personal courage and example he kept up the spirits of his party, and was largely instrumental in saving the situation at a critical period.

Hugo later served in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), where his brother Frank Erick was killed.

After the war he married Katharine Susannah Prichard. Although he tried to resume a normal life, failed business ventures, his war experiences and depression drove Hugo to commit suicide on 19 November 1933. He was 49 years old.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick

3 Field Ambulance Brigade, Australian Imperial Force

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/5404735

John Simpson Kirkpatrick is one of the most famous soldiers associated with the Gallipoli campaign.

He was born on 6 July 1892 at Shields in County Durham, England. He joined the merchant marine at the age of 17 and first arrived in Australia in May 1914.

John enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force within weeks of the start of the war, and was posted to 3 Field Ambulance.

He landed in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as a stretcher bearer. He had considerable experience of working with animals, and soon began to use donkeys to transport the wounded to the field hospital. He used a number of different donkeys for this difficult and dangerous work and gave them all names. One of the donkeys was with Simpson when he was killed by a shell on 19 May 1915. The donkey, believed to be called either Murphy or Duffy, continued to the dressing station and led a rescue party back to Simpson's body.

John was buried in Beach Cemetery, in ANZAC Cove in Gallipoli. There is a statue of John at the Australian War Memorial, which is dedicated to him and the donkeys who helped him.

The National Archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia is often described as the memory of the nation – collecting, preserving and providing access to important Australian Government records.

Its collection traces events and decisions that have shaped the nation and the lives of Australians.  Within the collection are the individual defence service records of the hundreds of thousands of Australian men and women who served their country during World War I.  These have been digitised and are among the most widely used records in the National Archives collection. These digitised records can be viewed and tributes added through the Discovering Anzacs website http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au .

IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Its unique Collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people's lives. IWM's five branches attract over 2 million visitors each year. Its website Lives of the First World War can be seen at https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017