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

 Q. From Harold: My great-grandfather and grandfather served in WW1. I have a badge from my grandfather with R.C.E.M.E. at the bottom which we always thought was from his WW1 experiences, but I am not so sure. What is the badge and where would he have got it? I can email a photo if needed, but where do I send it please?
A. AWM: @Harold – Thanks for the enquiry Harold. From a preliminary search, R.C.E.M.E appears to stand for Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. If you can send a photo and the names of your great-grandfather and father through to our duty curator (which is actually me this week) at this email, we can look into for you. I look forward to hearing from you. – Kerry
A. Harold: Thank you very much. Done.

Q. From Janne: I have my great uncle’s World War I ribbons. Is it possible to get replica medals as they are missing?
A. AWM: @Janne. Yes it is possible to have replica medals made. There are several companies who specialise in medal replication (and medal mounting) and can be found via google or the Yellow pages. Do you know what the ribbons are? If you are going to have his medals replicated, I can suggest (if you have not done so already) that you look at the last page of his service record just to confirm the medals that he received. -Eleni

Q. From Wendy: This photo is from my family collection and shows my ancestor Sapper Emmanuel Penneyston 4783 (front centre) who enlisted with 5th Coy Miners on 3rd March 1916 at Claremont, Tasmania . He was transferred to the Miners Training Camp, Broadmeadows, Victoria, 29th April 1916 and embarked on HMAT ‘Warilda’ 25th May 1916. My question to Australian War Memorial is , can you help me regarding where this photo may have been taken, could it be Claremont, Broadmeadows, Amesbury or Tidworth, England where they trained for about a month before going to France? I believe the photo was taken before they went to France as no wound stripes or service chevrons are visible. The 13 men with Mannie are unidentified and I would like to narrow down the place if possible to help put names to faces. Thanks for your help – with link to photo ::
A. AWM: @Wendy Stewart. The corrugated iron walls of the building behind the men suggest that it was taken in Australia. All of the men in this unit are not wearing colour patches either as they have not yet embarked from Australia, they are all wearing the same general service cap and standard service dress tunics too. It is likely that the photo was taken in Broadmeadows, as it is fairly typical of a training camp photo. In regards to identifying the other men in the photo, you may like to consult Australian Imperial Force Nominal Roll attached to Penneyston’s embarkation roll record digitised below. You will note that several men in his company are listed as miners and enlisted from Tasmania. ; You should also spend some time searching his unit on the First World War Embarkation Roll, included below, which may help in identifying the other men. -Eleni
A. Wendy: Thankyou very much for your time . A strange twist in family research recently uncovered a relative in my family tree John Thomas Minnocks 4095A, photo with you at AWM DA14502 , he was also 5th Miner Coy so was with Mannie from Broadmeadows until he transferred to the Pioneers in France …. The bloke in back row far left looks a little like him but I need a higher res copy of Johns photo to know for sure . How strange would that be !!
A. Alison: Just a note of caution on relying on corrugated iron construction as indicator of an Australian building. A search I did today of 603 images of Training Camps had several buildings in ENGLAND constructed with corrugated iron walls.
A. Alison: Three photographs with references to huts in ENGLAND with corrugated iron construction:

A. Wendy: Thanks Alison
A. IHM: We’ll second that, thanks to Alison!
A. Alison: Wendy Stewart: I post this Group portrait of members of No. 8 hut, 5 Platoon, B Company, 41st Infantry Battalion taken Larkhill Wiltshire England because of the combination of corrugated iron walls and the bi-fold door: 2 features in your photo although in your photo there are 4 broader planks in each half of the (closed) door compared to the 6 narrower planks in this (half open) door. Your idea that your photo might be taken at AMESBURY or TIDWORTH both located in Wiltshire England worth exploring.
A. Wendy: Huge thanks to Eleni at Australian War Memorial and Cassie at Inside History Magazine, I printed out 2 pages of Tassie lads with 5th Tunnelling Coy who served with my Mannie from one of your above links and discovered 2 Lyons Brothers from Beaconsfield ‘ …. I think I may know who the young man with the cross on his neck is , middle row far right . Sapper Thomas Lyons 4774 born Beaconsfield Tas. enlisted from Queenstown . Mannie’s sister married a Lyons boy … hot on the trail of finding the ‘connection’ but I’m sure it’s there !! Always wondered WHY the cross was on his neck . He came home but his bro Michael was KIA 28th Nov 1916 with 12 others from 3ATC ‘by a German underground mine that exploded while they were ‘stemming’ it’ … to dispose of it safely . I can’t believe the ‘connections’ that come with all this WW1 research …. wonderfully wyrd.  Thanks again Alison your research skills are amazing and you always seem to go ‘out of your way’ to help people.
A. Wendy:
A. Wendy:
A. Wendy: Above links to photos of No5 Tunnelling Coy taken by Darge at Broadmeadows
A. IHM: You’re very welcome Wendy,  thanks for being part of the Q&A and all your good work for your community! I’ve put all the comments above on your photo on our flickr :: – and a big thanks to Alison from us too.
A. Alison: Wendy, ID number DAOD1718 Photographer Darge Photographic Company Object type Black & white – Glass original half plate negative. Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Broadmeadows Date made c 1 June 1916 Collection Photograph. Description Group portrait including H A Jones, Number 6 Hut. Permalink:
A. Alison: Wendy, your photo of 5th Company of Tunnellers taken at Broadmeadows by Darge Photographers. certainly has the matching door to your family photo (4 planks in each half of the bi-fold door). Well done!!

Q. From Jane: Hello, I’m a bit late but hopefully there’s still time for a question or two. I have been researching a WWI soldier, Carl Oscar Brown. He enlisted in this name and no aliases are noted in his service record. He died of wounds in France and the Red Cross Missing and Wounded file includes the notation that he was also known as Adolph Edward Christensen (which is his father’s name). I visited the War Memorial yesterday and was interested to find that on the Wall of Remembrance he is listed as Brown, A.E.C. rather than Brown, C.O. On the Commonwealth War Graves commission he is listed as Carl Oscar Brown. I also have his naturalization record which only refers to him as Carl Oscar. Do you have any thoughts on how this alias has arisen and why he would appear under the alias on the Wall? Thanks
A. IHM: Hi Jane, Dianne has kindly agreed to look into your question but we’ll have to take it offline. Sounds like quite the mystery!
A. Jane: Thanks Inside History and AWM. I’m in Canberra for a couple more days if there’s any more information I can provide in person.
A. AWM: @ Jane – I have looked at the records and the bronze panel and I am not sure what happened with Carl Brown’s name. If you would like to follow this further, I recommend you email the information, any documents you have and your question to and the staff who look after the Roll of Honour can assist you. – Dianne
A. Jane: Hi Dianne, Thanks heaps for looking into this. I will compile my information and email it in as you suggest. As an aside, fantastic Open Day on Saturday – we were so thrilled we were in Canberra for it – had a great day. Huge congratulations to all involved in organizing the event.

Q. From AnnMarie: My question….. Are there more detailed dossiers for Aussie soldiers that served in the boer war, I have a great uncle who served but there is only 1 page and that is from his enlistment?
A. AWM: @ AnnMarie. I’m not sure what document you have been able to locate but this is certainly something that the Research Centre may be able to assist you with. Can I also suggest if you have not done so already, to look at the AWM and the National Archives Boer War information sheets. -Eleni
A. AnnMarie: Thankyou so much…will be some research for me tomorrow

Q. From Wendy: Can you help me? My maternal grandfather embarked on the SS Africa on 3 Nov -1916, his regiment number is 2872, I have copies of his papers but am trying to locate a picture of him. Can you direct me to where I might be able to source a photo of him? His name is Albert Byron, thanks. 
A. AWM: @Wendy. Unfortunately First World War service records did 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 purchased. Not every uniformed soldier was able or willing to get their portrait taken prior to embarkation. So unless a photograph is donated to the Memorial from the family in the first place, it is unlikely that we will have one in the collection. I have searched our collection database and was unable to locate one. -Eleni

IHM: Q. From Leigh: Can’t be present Thursday so my question for AWM team is how do I find details of my dad who served with the British navy fleet air arm in WW2 re service records & medals earned? I’ve had no luck so far… Thanks heaps. 
A. AWM: @ Leigh. Thanks for your question. British service records and medal rolls from the Second World War are available through the National Archives in the UK. Unfortunately we do not hold those types of records at the Memorial. I suggest you contact them as a starting point. All best with your search
A. Alison: Leigh… Have you tried www.forces- war- I’m pretty sure that’s the correct site name.
A. IHM: Good advice Alison, here’s the link Leigh ::
A. Alison: Leigh, FYI post-script to Q&A:
A couple of tips for the FAMILY HISTORIANS: Tracing Your British Seafaring Ancestors This article was published in two parts in the June and July 2002 editions of the Australian genealogy magazine Australian Family Tree Connections. Although generally aimed at the Australian market, the article explains, and give examples of, the resources available for tracing British seamen. Lloyd’s List. Lloyds List has been digitised by Google at: 

Q. From Harold: How can I get a cousin included on the AWM’s Commemorative Roll please? He is Reginald Sidney Missen who served in the 4th Pahang Batallion, Federated Malay States Volunteer Force, in WW2 as the Japanese were charging south. His wife and children escaped from Singapore, but Sid stayed and was last sighted 19 Feb 1942, however he was not officially declared dead until 31 Dec 1947. He initially appeared only on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission roll as a British casualty, and so not recognised by the AWM. I then tried to have Sid included on the Commemorative Roll, but was told he was declared dead outside of the required times frames. The fact is he is an Australian who died in WW2 fighting the Japanese, and only an arbitrary date means he is not recognised as an Australian war dead. What do I need to do to get him recognised after all this time please?
A. AWM: @Harold – Hi again. Enquiries relating to information contained in Commemorative Roll, including corrections, should be directed to For military service records of Australian’s serving with Allied forces, please refer to Records of service in forces of other countries. For your interest, I have included two links here to websites where Reginald Sidney Missen is commemorated:,%20REGINALD%20SIDNEY and 

Comment: Thanks again to Dianne, Eleni, Kelly and Gary for joining us tonight! We’ll publish the questions, answers and links from tonight’s session in a blog post this coming week. The AWM team have kindly agreed to answer any questions we missed tonight over the coming days.
A. Eleni: Thanks for having us! All the best with the links and finding more information -Eleni
A. Karen: Thank you Inside History Magazine and Australian War Memorial, many hints gathered and lots of research to be done, bring on next Thursday
A. AWM: Thanks to everyone who asked questions. We have a new temporary exhibition opening on 28 November 2013 called ‘Anzac Voices’ and will tell the story of the First World War through the letters and diaries of those who served. We will display some of the original letters of John Simpson Kirkpatrick (the man with the donkey), which I don’t think has been done before. The thing I am most excited about is we will be exhibiting some items from the Pheasant Wood mass grave for the first time, along with the diary of Theo Pflaum, who came across his brother, Ray, mortally wounded in a trench during the Battle of Fromelles. Ray was later reported missing in action. He had been taken prisoner but died soon afterwards and was buried in the mass grave. His remains were discovered at the Pheasant Wood grave and he was identified through DNA. – Dianne
A. AWM: Thanks for an interesting session everyone. For those of you that are able to make it to Canberra this month, April sees some big events at the Memorial. – Kerry
•Join us this Saturday, 6 April, as we mark Canberra’s centenary with an action-packed Open Day. There will be an engaging program of activities and presentations tailored to appeal to everyone, from those with a technical bent to families with children. Open Day will end with a concert and a stunning fireworks display over the Memorial. To view the program of events and for other information about the day, visit
• Thursday 25 April 2013: ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The Memorial, in close cooperation with RSL ACT, hosts the Dawn Service and the National ANZAC Day Ceremony.

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