Monday, 24 November 2014


When going through papers kept by my father I found four copies of a  publication published in Cairo during World War II. Parade: Middle East Weekly was published from 17 August 1940 until 29 March 1947. Three hundred and forty-six issues were published by Armed Forces Newspapers. The issues in Dad's collection were no. 28 (22 February 1941), no. 33 (29 March 1941), no. 36 (19April 1941) and no. 37 (26 April 1941). The editor for issue no. 28 was edited by Captain H L Ruskin. A note in this issue stated: "Parade has passed censorship and can be sent to all countries other than enemy countries or enemy occupied countries."
Although published for British forces Parade contained information for all the Allied forces stationed in the Middle East. Each issue contained articles relating to the war, life in the services, information about the Middle East and news from Britain. Photographs were a feature of each issue and there were also cartoons, a serial, a puzzle page and advertisements.
A weekly list of radio programs for the forces stationed in the Middle East was published including programs for Indian troops.
The cartoons came from many sources. In issue no. 28 there was a cartoon by Armstrong originally published in The Argus on 29 June 1940.
The advertisements covered items that the troops might require when not engaged in military activities.

The twenty-four pages in each of the issues that I have seen contain a range of reading material aimed at keeping the troops informed about what was happening in the area where they were stationed, reducing a feeling of isolation from the rest of the world, especially from Britain, as well as providing the opportunity for some light relief.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Remembrance Day 2014 - some thoughts

Wreaths at Bayswater RSL
This year I attended the Remembrance Day service at Bayswater RSL. As it was a school day children from Bayswater Primary School were seated on the lawn when I arrived. They were soon joined by adults who either sat on the chairs provided or stood on the footpath near Mountain Highway. During the service wreaths were laid in memory of conflicts in which Australians have served. The local members of the State Parliament and Federal Parliament also laid wreaths. The school choir sang two songs and at the end of the service each child put a poppy near the wreaths.
Talking to a friend afterwards, she said that when she had been at Bayswater earlier in the morning she noticed that she was the only person wearing a poppy. Later at Knox City the lady who served us at the chicken shop remarked that we were the first customers she had seen wearing poppies. She was wearing a poppy. She also told us that she was disappointed that there had been no observance for Remembrance Day at the shopping centre. In previous years there had always been an announcement for those who wanted to observe Remembrance Day. Now that Westfields has taken over the shopping centre, this practice has been discontinued. We had purchased our poppies outside the supermarket two weeks before. However as we shopped I saw probably only half a dozen other people wearing poppies.

The schools obviously still observe the day. A school we pass on the way to the gym had a notice on their notice board about their observance of the day. Unfortunately Remembrance had been spelt incorrectly but they immediately amended this when I sent them an email. The gym we go to uses the P A system to ask members to observe a minute of silence at 11 am on 11 November. I am sure that other organisations also do this. However generally there appears to have been less notice taken of the day by much of the population. It would be a pity if we become too busy to give up a few minutes of our time once a year to remember those who have died during wars. The lady who pushed through the people standing to sing the national anthem at the Bayswater RSL service was hopefully part of the minority and not a symbol of general apathy in the community.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Poppies in London part 2

7 August 2014
When we visited London in August we visited the Tower of London to view the display of ceramic poppies that was being assembled in the dry moat around the tower.
7 August 2014
The first poppy was planted on 17 July by Crawford Butler, the longest serving Tower of London Yeoman Warder. The installation was opened on 5 August 2014 to commemorate the beginning of World War I. The final poppy is to be placed in the moat on Remembrance Day making a total of 888,246 poppies - one poppy for each person from Britain and the Commonwealth who died during the First World War.

During the past three months the exhibition of poppies has become a focal point in London. The display was created by Paul Cummins and staged by Tom Piper. A large team of volunteers have been involved in making the poppies and assembling the display around the tower. The exhibition is entitled Blood swept lands and seas of red. A video showing how the poppies were made can be found on the Tower of London Remembers webpage. Each evening, from 11 August, at sunset the names of 180 Commonwealth soldiers were read as part of a special ceremony ending with the Last Post. The Roll of Honour archive, providing videos of each night's ceremony, can be located on the Tower of London Remembers website. At night the moat was floodlit so the poppies could still be viewed.

The dismantling of the display will begin on 12 November 2014 but parts of the display, including the weeping window and the wave, will remain until the end of November. After the exhibition ends thousands of the poppies will be part of a touring exhibition in Britain until 2018. The poppies will then be on display at the Imperial War Museum. The rest of the poppies have been sold at £25 each and will be distributed to the purchasers. The funds raised will be divided between Service welfare organisations.

Tower of London Remembers

First poppy planted in Tower of London - Royal British Legion

888,246 poppies - Designboom

Thousands of poppies to go on tour - BBC News London

The red sea - The Daily Mail 12 September 2014

Final poppy laid - BBC News London 11 November 2014

Drone view of poppies - BBC News London 

A postscript:
In 1914-1915 the Tower of London was used as a recruiting depot for the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). They called themselves The Ditchers as they had joined up in the Tower moat or ditch. Arms and munitions were also stored in the Tower. The Tower of London was also used as a prison and place of execution for 11 spies arrested in Britain.

During the Second World War the dry moat was used as a vegetable garden.

Remembrance Day 2014

November 11 is Remembrance Day commemorating the end of the First World War when the armistice between the Allies and Germany came into effect at 11 am on 11 November 1918. The website - First World - contains information about the signing of a number of armistices including the one commemorated on 11 November.
A series of display windows at Nunawading Library commemorate the sacrifice made not only during the First World War but also in the Second World War and subsequent military conflicts in which Australian soldiers have been involved.
The Diggers Database listing the names of those from Whitehorse and Manningham who served during World War I is one of the local history databases that can be accessed via the Whitehorse Manningham Libraries' library catalogue.
Red poppies have become a symbol for remembrance and knitted poppies form an effective part of the display along with the poppies sold each year by the RSL.
The 5000 Poppies project encourages people to knit or crochet poppies to form part of a mass display of poppies at Federation Square on Anzac Day 2015. Doncaster Library is a collection point for hand-crafted poppies for this project.


Monday, 3 November 2014

First convoy leaves Albany

On 1 November a Commemorative Day Service and Ceremonial March was held at Albany, Western Australia, to mark the Centenary of the departure of the First Convoy in the Great War.
Photo from National Archives of Australia Facebook page
The march was one of  many events held between 31 October to 2 November.

Discovering Anzacs has a panoramic photograph showing some of the 19 ships in King George Sound. To view a larger image of the photograph, right click on the image and select View Image [Firefox Mozilla].

Thirty-six ships made up the convoy that left King George Sound on 1 November and they were joined by another two ships that left from Freemantle. The troopships consisted of merchant ships carrying troops from New Zealand, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. There were also three cruisers - HMA Ships Melbourne and Sydney and the HMS Minotaur. The two ships from Freemantle carried troops from South Australia and Western Australia. There was also a Japanese cruiser, HIJMS Ibuki.

ABC Great Southern WA contains a series of stories about the makeup of the first convoy. The names of the ships in the convoy and part of a log written by Arthur Read can be found as a pdf on this website.