Direct to Aussie
This footage shows Australian troops boarding a train in France after the battle of the Somme and some of the worst fighting of World War One. One carriage has ‘Direct to Aussie’ on the side, suggesting the troops are returning home – or perhaps just wishing they were!
The First Anzac at Gallipoli
Britain’s Royal Navy was in charge of landing the first Australians and New Zealanders at Gallipoli on April 25 1915. From their troop transport ships, the men were loaded into smaller boats which were towed as close to the beach as possible. The steam-powered ‘picket’ boats which towed them were commanded by teenage Navy midshipmen like 15-year-old Eric Bush, who was responsible for getting about 200 Anzacs ashore. Among the first Australians to land was Private James Bostock, who recalls how he jumped overboard and waded onto the beach at what would soon be known as Anzac Cove. Both men were recorded in 1955 for a BBC radio documentary marking the 40th anniversary of the landings.
Swimming with Birdie at Gallipoli
As the weather warmed up on Gallipoli during the summer of 1915, new problems plagued the Australian and New Zealand forces. The increased heat worsened the men’s thirsts and a huge number of flies swarmed over the battlefield, due to the many unburied corpses and shallowly-dug latrines, or field toilets. A refreshing swim in the Mediterranean was the only relief, as New Zealander Bertie Cooksley recalls.
Soldier’s souvenir view of Egypt
This image (B&W glass slide) was probably taken by an Australian soldier during a break from a route (training) march. Australian troops relax under the shade of trees in Egypt. Many images taken by soldiers serving overseas in the war show more famous tourist scenes such as men seated on camels, the pyramids, the Sphinx, or in a building or busy city street. Yet this shot still gives a feel of the tourist abroad, in the relaxed lounging poses struck by many of the subjects.