Miscellaneous and War Graves

Equipment: gasmask and satchel, tin hat, bayonet, shrapnel and bullets (image from Alan Edward Crow)

Alan Edward Crow

Alan Edward Crow started service in the Middle East driving in transport convoys and armoured vehicles. As he was an engineering draftsman, he was later transferred to the Railway Construction Company of the Royal Australian Engineers.

He served a total of 835 days of which 647 were on active service in the Middle East.

Personal papers

Personal diary showing a map Alan drew of where he served, army pay book and drivers licence, Melbourne Herald photo of men enlisting with Alan in the queue, and one of his movement orders. Alan was invalided home in mid 1942 so included is another press photo that he appeared in, wireless newsletters from his hospital ship and the label for his personal kit.

Insignia and medals

WWII medal information and guidance sheet with Alan’s service medals, his dog tags, metal hat and uniform badges (AIF ‘Rising Sun’) and fabric shoulder patches designating his companies - 1st Ordnance Field Park and the 2/3 Railway Construction Company, Royal Australian Engineers.

Souvenirs

Photo of Alan on a camel at Giza pyramids, Regimental dinner menu from eatery at Wadi Natrun, a Christmas card he created and sent home, as well as a sphinx he carved from local stone. Other items include coins from Egypt and Palestine, cigarette tin and model of Nefertiti.

Air Raid Precautions Booklet

A 35-page booklet outlining air raid precautions, issued by the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence in April 1941.

The foreward of the booklet was written by the Hon. Sir John Harris, KBE, MLC, Minister of Public Instruction and of Public Health, who was the Chairman of the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence. According to Harris' forward the booklet was published at the behest of the Federal Government based upon information received from the heads of the Australian fighting forces. The booklet details air raid signals and their respective meanings, what to do should an air raid occur and information about lighting restrictions. The last section of the book is devoted to diagrams for risks from air raids and sketches of air raid shelters. The back cover counsels that the precautions may prove unnecessary and that the public would be informed should the government decide the precautions should be put in place.

According to the Argus newspaper, the Victorian State Government was planning air raid precautions as early as 1939 with particular focus on Melbourne and Geelong. By 1940 plans for blacking out Melbourne were in place and the first black out test was made in Wattle Park at 2am in February 1941. Depsite this a letter published in the Frankston Standard later that same month comments about the seeming lack of 'State encouragement' whilst commending the air raid volunteers for their enthusiasm and commitment. The letter also notes that it was unlikely that Victoria would suffer an attack, but still important that precautions were undertaken. Such precautions appear to have increased in fervency following the attacks in the northern regions of Australia, including plans for the evacuation of children from Melbourne.

Australia suffered from 96 air raids on the mainland, concentrated on the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, during World War II. However, it is interesting to note that the booklet was published in April 1941, before Japan entered World War II and before any air raids had been launched against Australia. Instead the booklet was published in light of air raid attacks in Europe.

Information from www.museumsvictoria.com.au

Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

Air Raid Siren

Air Raid Siren

“When the air raid siren sounds …”

The government campaign used the Japanese air raids on northern Australia to convince those living in the south that their turn was not far off. As a result, they expected to see Japanese bombers flying over their towns and cities at any moment.

The lessons learned by the British during the Blitz in 1940 were adapted for local conditions by Australia’s National Emergency Services. Sirens were installed, shelters dug, and volunteers trained in first aid, fire fighting and other air raid precautions.

Information from www.awm.gov.au
Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

Album of digger songs

Album of digger songs:
"songs the diggers sang"

Album of songs titled "An album of digger songs: 'songs the diggers sang'". This edition was published by Allan & Co, Melbourne about 1935 and contains approximately 61 titles. The album also includes many parodies of songs that were popular during the First World War. The contents of the album were collected and edited by Alfred Zelman who served with the 8th Battalion during the First World War. He was assisted by Captain Charles Harold Peters who served with the 39th Battalion; C W Joyce, the State Secretary of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors League of Australia; and Alwin Stevens Nicholas who served with 4th Division, Australian Medical Corps.

The cover of the album features the title "Digger Songs" in red lettering above a box, with a black border, that contains an alphabetical listing of the contents of the album. Black silhouettes of soldiers, in a variety of scenes, surround this list. This alphabetical listing is repeated inside the front cover. The back cover features the names of six albums that the publisher believes "you should have in your home", together with the contents and price for each album. The album sold for 2/- in Australia and 2/6 in New Zealand.

The contents of this songbook include:
"All soldiers live on bread and jam";
"Along the road to Gundagai";
"And when I die";
"Are we downhearted?";
"Australia will be there";
"Back home in Tennessee";
"Battalion song";
"Brigadier, he gets Turkey";
"Come and do your picket, boys";
"Come to the cook-house door";
"Down in the old front line";
"Fighting the Kaiser";
"From platoon";
"Glorious - one keg of beer between four of us";
"Goodbye, Anzac";
"Goodbye, Melbourne Town";
"Here's to the good old beer, mop it down";
"How dry we are";
" Hush, here comes a whizz-bang";
"I bought a horse";
"I had a good job when I left"
"I love my wife";
"I want to go home";
"I wore a Tunic";
"If the sergeant drinks your rum";
"If you want to find the sergeant";
"It's a long way to Tipperary";
"I've lost my rifle and bayonet";
"John Brown's baby";
"Last post";
"Leap frog";
"Letters from lousy Lou";
"Little wet home in the trench";
"Mademoiselle from Armentieres";
"Marseillaise";
"Moon shines bright on Charlie Chaplin";
"N-a-p";
"Officers' wives";
"Old McDonald had a farm";
"Old oak chest";
"Old soldiers never die";
"One man went to Mow";
"Paddy Doyle";
"Raining, starving, and marching";
"Rolling home";
"Rose of no man's land";
"Take me back to dear old Aussie";
"There's no parade to-day";
"There's a spot in my heart";
"Three cheers for bread, jam and stew";
"Till the stew in the Dixie grows cold";
"Waltzing Matilda";
"Wash me in the water";
"We are the Aussie army";
"Wee Deoch and Doris";
"We're here because we're here";
"What did you join the army for?";
" When we got our civvy clothes on";
"When we're together";
"When the stew is on the table";
"You know what".

Information from www.awm.gov.au

RAAF Parachute

RAAF Parachute

This parachute belonged to Squadron Leader Raymond Tom Cupper.

Pre-war, the Cupper brothers had their own small plane. They delivered papers and other essentials to outback properties. The parachute was donated to the Rural Life Museum in Robinvale by his family.

Khaki canvas parachute bag (with cotton parachute) closing with brass zippers that run from half way up each short end and across the top to the centre. A canvas tab, edged with brown cotton tape, fastens across the ends of the zippers with two heavy duty press studs. Attached to the centre of the tab is a printed cotton label showing a man suspended from a parachute within a shield shape surmounted by a pair of wings and a lotus flower. Beneath is a scroll bearing the word 'TURNERCHUTE'. 'A.I.D.' is printed within a square on the top right corner of the label. Each side of the bag has a khaki cotton webbing carrying handle whose long ends are machined to the sides of the bag and extend under the base to give additional reinforcement and strength.

History

Turner Parachute Pty Ltd was established in 1940 in Sydney; two of its principle founders were Ben Turner, an experienced parachutist and rigger who had been brought out from England by Light Aircraft Pty Ltd, another Sydney company making parachutes which had been established a few years earlier; and George Brereton Sadlier, a successful sheep grazier who became company chairman. Plant was installed in May 1940 in a large, 18,000 square feet three storey building in which all the necessary processes - from cutting, stitching silk and heavy webbing to inspection and storage - were located. The firm successfully contracted to the Australian Government for the supply of a wide range of military parachutes including personnel parachutes, flare parachutes, supply parachutes, towing targets, safety belts, windsock indicators and associated equipment. A patent for a harness quick release box designed by Falkiner was also successful. After the war the company turned its attention to the design and manufacture of women's swimwear, and Falkiner established the concept of air-transporting his stock to market in Sydney, while also establishing the clothing firm Scamp Pty Ltd with former air ace Clive Caldwell. The designation on the bag's label 'AID' refers to the Aircraft Inspection Department.

Information from www.awm.gov.au and the Robinvale Euston Historical Society. 
Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

Dugout Sign

Dugout Sign

Trench warfare, warfare in which opposing armed forces attack, counterattack, and defend from relatively permanent systems of trenches dug into the ground. The opposing systems of trenches are usually close to one another. Trench warfare is resorted to when the superior firepower of the defense compels the opposing forces to “dig in” so extensively as to sacrifice their mobility in order to gain protection.

Trench warfare in the modern era

Relatively little use was made of trenches in the mobile warfare of World War II in Europe. By contrast, the Japanese in the Pacific theatre, faced with overwhelming American artillery and airpower, heavily fortified many of their islands with chains of deeply dug caves and bunkers.

Information from www.britannica.com.  
Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

RAAF Travel Bag

RAAF Travel Bag

This bag belonged to Flying Officer Roy Burton Haynes, RAAF 419176. The bag was donated to the Rural Life Museum in Robinvale by his son, Robert Haynes.

Information from Robinvale Euston Historical Society.
Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

RAAF Travel Trunk

RAAF Travel Trunk

This trunk belonged to Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Brian Cupper, RAAF, 401496. The trunk was donated to the Rural Life Museum in Robinvale by his son, Geoffrey Cupper.

Information from Robinvale Euston Historical Society.
Photo courtesy of The Rural Life Museum, Robinvale in conjunction with Robinvale Sub-Branch Returned & Services League

Kit bag

Kit Bag

This kit bag belonged to Marguerite Ellen Holmes (Daisy Roberts), click here to see photos from her time in the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS).

Australian Army World War II long brown canvas cylinder closed at the bottom. The top has a flap and eight brass grommetts to allow a drawstring type rope to securely close the bag. The bottom seam has a canvas loop attached so that a sling can be strung from the top to the bottom to assist carrying. The name and army serial number of the owner are written in black ink on the side of the bag "ROBERTS M. E. / VF 511876". The Australian military forces used black, white and brown kit bags during both World Wars I & II and also in the Korean War (1950 - 1953).

Information from www.museum.wa.gov.au

Ration Cards

Ration Cards

Rationing during World War II in Australia was a fact of life for all civilians. Shortages caused by the long war, including action in South-East Asia and the Pacific, meant supplies had to be controlled to curb consumption and limit inflation. The first rationed item was clothing, gazetted on 12 June 1942. Tea and sugar followed soon after, whilst butter was gazetted in June 1943 and meat in January 1944.

The regulation and restriction of such commonplace and universal items ensured each citizen would receive equal resources. Each person was allocated a certain number of coupons for each item, allowing them to receive a fair but adequate amount. For example, each adult was allocated one pound (500g) of butter per fortnight.

Rationing effectively curbed inflation of the Australian currency, ensuring the economy remained stable in the turbulent war period. However, such policies inevitably lead to civilian backlash, and a black market developed. Extra goods or luxury items were sold above market price in illegal transactions as a means of bypassing restrictions on certain items. Backyard produce changed hands without official control. Petrol was by the far the most fiercely contested rationed item, and there was much debate and lobbying against its institution from motor companies, newspapers and various commercial enterprises. By June 1940, however, with supplies dwindling, the Government introduced rationing to reduce petrol consumption by 50%. In October 1940 a final scheme enforced a one-third reduction. Drivers had to apply for a petrol licence, from which they were allocated ration tickets based on their needs. Petrol rationing was not strictly enforced until 1942, but remained in place until February 1950 after much conflict between the motor industry and the government.

Rationing for other goods was also in place long after the War ended in 1945, with tea the last to be abolished in July 1950.

Australia's rationing policies, whilst ensuring the supply of essential goods for its citizens, were also heavily influenced by the wishes of Britain. Imperial ties were still strong and Britain expected Australia to put the UK's needs above its own. For instance, Australian motorists had 50% fewer petrol rations than drivers in Britain and New Zealand at the end of the War. Britain expected Australia to save its money in any way possible, to aid Britain in repaying its substantial war debts to the US. Furthermore, Australia maintained meat rationing until 1948 to support reduced meat rationing in Britain (Queensland). Rationing in Britain, however, was much more severe than in Australia. Britain's isolated position as an island meant her imports were curtailed, severely limiting available food. Thus food rationing was introduced in January 1940, and goods were delegated with the use of coupons as in Australia. Lines for basic items became longer as the war dragged on. Rationing did not end in Britain until 1954, four years after Australia, with meat being the last product to be abolished.

Information from www.museumsvictoria.com.au

Telegram

Telegram

This telegram was received by Private Harry Frazer’s parents in Swan Hill from the Minister for the army after previously being notified that he was missing in Tobruk.

During World War II a telegram was the sole means of family notification. Only on rare occasions, for example when a family lost multiple members, were chaplains and military officers sent to the home of the family.

Beginning in October 1944, late into World War II, all commanders stationed in the theater of war were ordered to write an appropriate letter of condolence to the family of any service member killed under their command.

Since that time, the military has taken great strides to deliver the news of a service member's death or injury in the gentlest and most humane way possible by sending a military officer and a chaplain to the doorstep of the service member's designated "next of kin (NOK)," the person chosen by the service member to be notified in case of death or injury.

Information from Mrs. D Scott and www.abcnews.go.com

Australian Army Cigarette Lighter
Australian Army Cigarette Lighter

Australian Army Cigarette Lighter

This lighter was made in a munitions factory in Footscray in July 1945. The factory did retooling for the order of Army lighters in early July, then completed the required 96,000 in late July 1945. It seems unlikely these lighters saw issue in WW2, since the war ended a month later, but they did see issue during the Vietnam War. The base is inscribed with MF 1945 D^D MKIII.

Bomb Site Camera

Bomb Site Camera

F-24 CAMERA, AM REF 14A/720, WITH 8" CONE

Standard RAF photo-reconnaissance camera. The Williamson F.24 camera was the main air reconnaissance camera at the start of World War 2. It could be mounted in the wings of a Spitfire for low-level vertical imagery and also mounted in the rear fuselage for vertical and oblique imagery. However, it was clear that the F.24 with its small 5" x 5" format and when fitted with the smaller of the full-length lenses, was as too small for detailed photo interpretation, especially as the camera-carrying aircraft were then having to fly much higher. The F.24 was also fitted into a centre lined "slipper" tank for forward facing oblique imagery. Another use of the camera was by Bomber Command who installed the camera into their aircraft for the taking of Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) imagery. The F.24 Camera was later built and used by the USAAF as the K-24, some parts were interchangeable between the two.

Information from www.iwm.org.uk
Photograph from Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum

RAF Battle of Britain period Mk IVB flying goggles
RAF Battle of Britain period Mk IVB flying goggles

RAF Battle of Britain period Mk IVB flying goggles, complete with rare "flip-screen."

(Australian)

These goggles are a rare find - especially with the flip-up polarizing sun-screen still attached. Mk IVB flying goggles. Mk IV, IVA and IVB goggles were all announced in AMOs together in July 1940, therefore were all available for use during the Battle of Britain. Frames were had a matt black paint finish, clear lenses, an attached screen and leather straps.

Information supplied by www.vintageflyinghelmets.com

Goggles – WWII

Goggles – WWII

(Australian)

Clear goggles hinged at front centre, with black metal outer rims and canvas side pieces for wind and light protection. Woven elastic strap for fastening to the head, gathered at back. Possibly used for motorcycle riding.

Table Cloth from Palestine

Table Cloth from Palestine

This handcrafted table cloth was sent home from Palestine by Charles Hurtle Noske (known as Mac) to his mother. Charles was born in Swan Hill and lived at Lake Boga. Charles was a signaller in the 9th Division.

WWII Water Bottle

WWII Water Bottle

Made from blue enamelled steel with thin cork covering and leather and canvas carrier. The water bottle would have had a cork stopper originally.

WWII Binocular Case
WWII Binocular Case

WWII Binocular Case

Binoculars

The Australian Army Priority List of instruments of August 1940 contained 3,500 Binoculars of 6 x 30 i.e. of magnification 6 and objective diameter 30 mm and separate eyepiece focusing. This was a standard instrument of the time; that made by Zeiss was very popular (the author's instrument which dates from the 1914-18 war has still excellent optics). The panel made a successful prototype and recommended that they should be made in Australia not only because of the immediate need by the Services, but also because of the Panel's view that the country needed an optical industry and a regular big order of an instrument as relatively straightforward as a binocular would have been an admirable way of starting the industry. A local firm was prepared to make the mechanical parts.

This feeling was close in spirit to that of Laurence Hartnett who, as Director of the Ordinance Production Directorate, tried to gel Service orders for the binoculars, but delivery was so slow that they did not arrive until 1944 and 1945 and then to add insult to injury, many of them were made in Canada (no doubt by Research Enterprises) and the USA. It was then learnt that the UK had transferred the order to the other countries. It is not hard to see this as the crushing effect of the imperial role being played by the UK and the Establishment in Australia, and as a lost opportunity for a scientific industry in Australia.

In the middle of the war there was still a need for binoculars for the Services, and in 1941 the Australian Government decided to impress all civilian binoculars with optical properties similar to the services specifications. The Panel was not consulted about this and knowing its interest on starting an optical industry in Australia, it is doubtful if it would have agreed with the decision. Even as received after the impress, the binoculars could not be handed over to the services as they had to be collimated (the two optical axes brought into collinearity) and many instruments needed graticules. Some 18,500 binoculars were impressed of which 8 ,000 were of good enough quality to be used.

The effort of testing and reconditioning the binoculars was formidable. Had they been all of one type then some kind of mass production could have been organised. To illustrate, the Physics Laboratory of the University of Sydney under Professor A.U. Vonwiller, reconditioned about half the instruments and reported that there were 400 types of binoculars. As this huge time-consuming exercise proceeded, especially in the University of Sydney, it must have irritated those who realised what the country could have done.

With the entry of Japan into the war in December 1941, the battlefields became the tropical north, and equipment of all kinds, including scientific instruments such as binoculars and range-finder telescopes, were found to suffer badly in the hot and humid conditions of the New Guinea Campaign. The scientific problems arising in overcoming the difficulties are mentioned in the next chapter, but the essential point was that the interior of all containers including scientific instruments were exposed to a tropical climate in which fungi grew, even on glass. A binocular with adjustable focusing is almost certainly exposed in this way, and the idea arose of making a fixed focus binocular that was entirely sealed. R.D. Wright, Professor of Physiology at the University of Melbourne showed that an eye with normal vision could tolerate differences in eyepiece focusing that could be set within reasonable limits, and such a fixed-focus binocular could be used for distances down to 50 yards. This instrument never came into production as it was developed too late in the war; it was another example where a local optical industry could have made a mark.

Information from www.asap.unimelb.edu.au

WWII Shaving/Signalling Mirror

WWII Shaving/Signalling Mirror

This handy mirror could be used for both personal hygiene and for signalling.

Guardian Newspaper

Guardian Newspaper

This 50th anniversary of VP Day commemorative edition of the Guardian Newspaper from 1995 is an exact replica of the original edition proclaiming the war to be over in August 1945.

War Graves

Lake Boga War Graves

When servicemen and women die during active service, the Australian War Graves Commission assumes responsibility for the proper marker and upkeep of their grave. With the RAAF Depot at Lake Boga being constructed in 1942, Captain R. S. Sharp of the War Graves Commission visited Lake Boga on 26 March 1943 and approved a portion of the existing Lake Boga Cemetery to be annexed as an approved War Graves Cemetery.

Ernest W. M. Hollebon

Ernest W. M. Hollebon

Charles J. Buchholz

Charles J. Buchholz

Edward Morris Hircock

Edward Morris Hircock

W. H. Daniels

William Harold Daniels

Norma H. J. Mac. Kelso

Norma H. J. Mac. Kelso

Allan David Tozer

Allan David Tozer

L.C. Hutton

Leonard George Hutton

The first person to be buried there was Leading Aircraftsman Ernest W. M. Hollebon, 8254, on 14 April 1943, following a motorcycle accident at Koondrook on 10 April.

The next person to be interred was Lance Corporal Charles J. Buchholz, 25109, who also died because of a motorcycle accident on 11 November 1943.

It appears that in those days, riding motorcycles was very dangerous because the next person to be interred there was Leading Aircraftsman Edward Morris Hircock, 41003, who died in the Kerang Bush Nursing Hospital on 29 June 1944, after a motorcycle accident whilst returning from leave the previous afternoon.

Lance Corporal W. H. Daniels, NX151858, of the Signals Corps died of illness at Lake Boga on 20 July 1944 and was the next to be interred.

Lake Boga was infested with ribbon weed, and the swimming area was well away from the Depot. Unfortunately, WAAAF Norma H. J. Mac. Kelso, 90082, was swimming away from the swimming area when she went missing. Her body was recovered on 7 October 1944 in deep water, trapped by ribbon weed.

The next unfortunate person to grace the cemetery was Warrant Officer Allan David Tozer, 26192, who was a passenger in an open sports car which collided with another vehicle. He was thrown from the car and died instantly.

The last person to be interred at the Lake Boga War Cemetery was Lieutenant L.G. Hutton, VX114097, who died of illness on 27 July 1946 while working at the Depot.

The Office of War Graves now oversees the Lake Boga War Cemetery and ensures the memory of our service personnel who went to war and did not return are suitably respected for their dedication to duty and their personal sacrifice to their nation in a time of great need. 

WW2 Servicemen and Women Buried in Commonwealth War Graves in Swan Hill and District

Lake Boga:
  • 25109 BUCHOLZ Charles John. Died 13 Nov 1943. (RAAF).
  • NX151858 DANIELS William Harold. Died 20 Jul 1944. (Army).
  • 41003 HIRCOCK Edward Morris. Died 29 Jun 1944. (RAAF).
  • 8254 HOLLEBON Ernest William Montgomery. Died 10 Apr 1943. (RAAF).
  • VX114097 (VP3993) HUTTON Leonard George. Died 7 Jul 1946. (Army).
  • 90082 KELSO Norma Helen Died 7 Oct 1944. (WRAAF).
  • 26192 TOZER Allan David Died 29 Jul 1945. (RAAF).
Swan Hill:
  • 56881 BOYS Robert John. Died 20 Sep 1942. (RAAF).
  • V33525 CAMERON James Thomas. Died 16 May 1942. (Army).
  • VX45609 LINDHE John Walter. Died 2 Dec 1940. (Army).
  • V25110 SMITH Raymond Stewart. Died 18 Aug 1942. (Army).
  • V16666 WATSON David Gardner. Died 17 Jan 1947. (Army).
Nyah West:
  • VX33794 MOEBUS Herbert Albert. Died 20 Apr 1944. (Army).
Waitchie:
  • VX32297 HANCOCK Leonard Gordon. Died 31 Jul 1941. (Army).
  • V5965 MORGAN Eric Bruce. Died 17 Dec 1946. (Army).

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