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Expert Q&A :: AWM Military Heraldry and Technology Team

For our Expert Q&A on Thursday, April 4 we had Dianne, Kerry, Eleni and Gary from the Australian War Memorial Military Heraldry and Technology team to answer questions about what your Anzac wore, fired, souvenired, flew or drove. Thanks again to Dianne, Kerry, Eleni and Gary for giving us all the benefit of their time and expertise.

Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links below.

Don’t forget our Expert Q&As happen every Thursday night on the Inside History Magazine facebook page

When: NSW – ACT – VIC – TAS: 8:30-9:30pm AEDT | QLD: 7:30-8:30pm | WA: 5:30-6:30pm | NT: 7:00-8:00pm | SA: 8:00-9:00pm | Weekly on Thursdays nights!

Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links below.

Summary of links from the Q&A:


Transcript of Expert Q&A – The Australian War Memorial Military Heraldry and Technology team 

Our Expert Q&A with the Australian War Memorial Military Heraldry and Technology team starts in 15 minutes at 8:30pm AEDT. Tonight the AWM experts will be answering your questions about what your Anzac wore, fired, souvenired, flew or drove.

Please ask your questions in a comment below, and Dianne Rutherford, Kerry, Eleni or Gary from the Australian War Memorial will answer in a following comment. Share your photos on our wall, with your questions or email them to

Comment: IHM: Welcome everyone, thanks for joining us. Please welcome Dianne, Kerry, Eleni and Gary from the Australian War Memorial to tonight’s Q&A!
A. AWM: Hi – Kerry here. Looking forward to some interesting questions tonight.
A. AWM: Hi everyone! Dianne
A. AWM: Hello from Gary, I look forward to all of your questions and thank you for joining us.
A. Bec: Hi guys and thank you for giving us the time
A. AWM: Hello everyone, thanks for all of your questions. -Eleni
A. Karen: Welcome, looking forward to your hints and advice

Q. From Karen: Did they take photos of all soldiers in WW1? I’ve been trying to find a photo of my Dads Uncle, George Walker born 1884 died 11 April 1917, France
A. Bec: I would love to know that too Karen, though mine is my great uncle’s WW1 (yes it is my great uncle) they were brothers who were both killed Sydney W Ayers died of wounds in France shot down, but his brother Charles William Ayers died on Menin Road and would love a photo of him…since his grave was bombed and only a name on the Menin Gate Belgium…
A. Karen: Unfortunately great uncle George didn’t even get a grave, they listed him as missing for 6 months I think it was
A. Bec: Hugs Karen my great uncle was fortunate to be buried but unfortunately his grave was blown up and is scattered in a field (that sounds gross, sorry about that)
A. AWM: @ Karen. Unfortunately First World War service records do not contain photos and we do not hold photographs in the collection of every person who served in the First World War. Portrait photographs were taken by commercial photographers, and suffice it to say that not every uniformed soldier was able or willing to get their portrait taken prior to embarkation. The addition of a photograph on enlistment changed in the Second World War, and a paybook photo was attached to the service record. It may be worth searching through our collection database using key words, or you can search for unit photos and try to make an identification against a photograph that you have. -Eleni
A. Karen: Thank you, I regularly check the database, 1 because I seem to have a lot of family in the military when I find them and 2 you never know when something new will be found and added
Q(b): Karen: My grandfather was also in the Army as a cook around the time before or of WW1 would there be records of that anywhere? I have tried your site but didn’t know where else to look?
A. AWM: @Karen. Did you say you have tried the AWM Search a Person? You should also spend some time searching through the National Archives using key terms. fact sheets might also be of use.
A. Karen: Thanks I’ll give them all a try.

Q. Doing our bit, Mosman 1914-1918: We’d like to know more about this style of memorial: Were they widely produced? By photographic studios? Who commissioned them? What sort of date range?
A. Lynda: There’s one like that held at Coal Creek at Korrumburra, Vic. I assumed it was a commercial production perhaps on behalf of the council
A. AWM: @Doing our bit, Mosman 1914-1918 – Firstly, what a fine organisation and I commend you for your group. These memorials, or ‘Honour Rolls’ were commissioned by the individual company (of the serviceman’s civil employment prior to enlistment) and community groups to which they relate. Subsequently, they are not common. However, that is not to say that they cannot be found in city and regional locations around Australia. For example, ‘The Rock Memorial Bowling Club’ near Wagga in New South Wales, has quite an impressive photo board which was produced during this period. However it is not of the same style as your particular example. Obviously, the size of the photographic roll is dependent upon the size of the organisation to which it relates. What can be said with some certainty is that most, if not all of these photos were likely to have been taken prior to embarkation for overseas service. Having said that, any Honour Board produced after 1915 may contain photos which were taken whilst the troops were on leave in the Middle East or in Europe. Then sent home to their respective family in the form of a ‘postcard’. The family then donating the photo or a copy of the image to the organisation which is commissioning the board. Reason being, the Government did not take official photos of the enlistees prior to deployment. Because they were privately commissioned, there is little consistency in their design. I have also seen a similar photographic Honour Board produced by the Railway (however this was a localised branch of the Railway and it was in a private collection). Because these Honour Boards were privately commissioned, the photo studios which took part in the process generally relate to the geographic area to which the commissioning organisation was located. In the case of your particular board, I have little doubt that it would have been produced by a Sydney based company. Most of these boards relate simply to men who have served, but can also be devoted only to those who paid the supreme sacrifice. I would like to extend a welcome to any readers who may have a photographic Honour Roll / Memorial of this nature in their particular area. Perhaps then, Inside History Magazine can assist in forming a database so that a study can be conducted and comparisons made. The date range in most instances that I have seen relate to the periods 1914-1919 and 1939 – 1945. – Gary
A. Doing our bit, Mosman: Thanks Lynda
A. Doing our bit, Mosman: In view of Lynda’s comment, I feel that this subject is worthy of further investigation. I know that Inside History Magazine has interest in forming a database with such information. Perhaps your inquiry can be carried forward and other localities may have the opportunity to volunteer information of their own Honour Boards. It was one of Charles Bean’s initial desires to have a photographic record of each and every serviceman and woman who lost their life as a result of the Great War. Sadly, the number who paid the supreme sacrifice exceeded 60,000. Subsequently, the Honour Roll that you now see in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial which records the names of the fallen, is the result in lieu of his original idea. The AWM has an ongoing project, attempting to gather a photograph of every person whose name is recorded on the Honour Roll. Perhaps, if your local Memorial boards have an image of one of the fallen, then this may fill a ‘gap’ in our collection.

Q. From Joan: Is there any source to find out if any of the Blue Mountains men joined up in the WW1 Cooee March from Gilgandra as they passed through the mountains? 
A. AWM: @ Joan – There was a book written about the coo-ee march called ‘The Coo-ee March Gilgandra – Sydney 1915’ by John Meredith in 1981. They arrived in Katoomba on Nov 5 1915 and there is an account about it in the book it mentions 11 Katoomba recruits but not by name. I would suggest looking at local newspapers as they may mention the men who enlisted in the Blue Mountains. – Dianne
A. Denis: Joan, do you have a name?
A. IHM: Here is a link on Trove to The coo-ee march, Gilgandra-Sydney, 1915 by John Meredith ::
A. Joan: No. I am a committee member of both the Blue Mountains Family History and Historical Societies and we want to find the names of mountains men who joined the march ie Mt Victoria to Glenbrook or Emu Plains before the centenary.

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