Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

War, any war is horrible.  The injury, death, trauma and displacement caused by war is unimaginable.  Regardless of my views on war, the Australia War Memorial is a place where we can honour, respect and remember the thousands of people who have served our country.

The main reason I wanted to visit the War Memorial was to see my Great Uncle's name on the Roll of Honour.  I was not prepared for how emotional the experience would be, not just seeing my Great Uncle's name but the names of thousands and the poppies relatives and friends have placed next to their loved ones names.  

My Uncle's name was Claude Spencer Williams  and is displayed as WILLIAMS C.S. in the photo below.  

The Eternal Flame set in the Pool of Reflection.

It's a little hard to see the flame in the sunlight.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in The Hall of Memory.  The story of the Unknown Soldier can be found here.

There are beautiful stained glass windows in the Hall of Memory and images of those who served in the wars all done in mosaics.  The Hall is awe inspiring.

The Pool of Reflection in the centre of the photo above, the Walls of Honour are through the arches on either side of the photo and the Hall of Memory is at the rear centre of the photo.

Mosaic detail.  All the walls are done in mosaic not just the images.
We spent time looking at the exhibits of artifacts and photos from the 1st and 2nd World Wars, wars that members of my family served in.  I found the photos of the 1st World War particularly distressing, images of men in the trenches in France, in wet, cold and unbelievably miserable conditions.  There were images too of men enjoying a break in houses they were billeted, gathered around a fire enjoying a sing-a-long.  I'm sure these times were very special to them scattered in amongst the horrendous things they were seeing and experiencing.

My Great Uncle Claude made it through the 1st World War in France where he served.  Unfortunately he contracted the Spanish Flu in France which was an epidemic in 1919 and very sadly died from complications.  Our family thought he died in England while waiting to come home, however we now know he died and was buried in Sous-le-Bois, France.

Claude Spencer Williams

My paternal Grandfather also served in the 1st World War, fortunately he came back to Australia unharmed.  My maternal Grandfather served in the 2nd World War, he too came back to Australia safely.

ANZAC Day commemorated on the 25th April each year will now have a far greater impact on me than previously after visiting the Australian War Memorial.

Anne  xx


  1. I can imagine how emotional a place this is Anne, I've never been, but your pics are wonderful.
    That mosaic is amazing........
    I don't know if it's an age thing, but in my 20's I never thought too much about our soldiers and their sacrifice. Not in any deep and meaningful way, but as I grow older ( hopefully wiser!!) I do think more about these things. Particularly around Anzac day and the service we have in our little town, always moves me to tears. I lost 2 great uncles in WW1, they were' serving their King and country'.
    War is a terrible thing, whatever the reason . So many brave men and women put their lives on the line ..........
    How can you ever say thankyou?

    Claire x

  2. What a powerful post. those poppies are so poignent - each like a thought or memory placed there.
    I can imagine how emotional it was to visit and glad for you to find out more and remember those who fell.

  3. Yes it's a very moving place isn't it?

  4. What a wonderful place. I was very impressed with the mosaic, it must all look fantastic.

  5. What a wonderful, moving place - I can feel the atmosphere through your photos.


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