Australian Families fight to repatriate remains of Korean Vets..

Photo: Private John Philip Saunders (centre) was reported missing in action on the Korean Peninsula in January 1953. (Supplied: Ian Saunders)
The search for answers.
“I just want closure — all the families feel the same way,” says Ian Saunders OAM.
His father, Private John Philip Saunders, was one day shy of 26 when he was reported missing on the Korean Peninsula in January 1953.
Now 73, Ian Saunders has used official Canberra war diaries and declassified Australian and United States military documents to try to piece together what happened to his father and other missing servicemen.
He has become a leading voice in the families’ campaign to repatriate remains, and is unhappy with the pace of Australia’s investigation into its missing.
“It’s taken too long,” Mr Saunders says.”[Australia has] recovered and identified remains, if we can, in all the wars that Australians have served in since the Boer War.
“So, why hasn’t the government done anything about it is a very good question.”
Source: Decades after the ‘forgotten’ Korean War, families of missing Australians fight to repatriate remains – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Edith Cavell, Nurse & WWI Heroine.

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Born on 4 December 1865 in Norfolk, Cavell entered the nursing profession while aged 20.
Moving to Belgium she was appointed matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels in 1907.
During her brief career in Belgium she nevertheless succeeded in modernising the standard of Belgian nursing.
With war in 1914 and the subsequent German occupation of Belgium Cavell joined the Red Cross; the Berkendael Institute was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers of all nationalities.
Many of the captured Allied soldiers who were treated at Berkendael subsequently succeeded in escaping – with Cavell’s active assistance – to neutral Holland.
Cavell was arrested on 5 August 1915 by local German authorities and charged with having personally aided in the escape of some 200 such soldiers.
Kept in solitary confinement for nine weeks the Germans successfully extracted a confession from Cavell which formed the basis of her trial.
She, along with a named Belgian accomplice Philippe Baucq, were duly pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad.
The sentence was carried out on 12 October 1915 without reference to the German high command.
Cavell’s case received significant sympathetic worldwide press coverage, most notably in Britain and the then-neutral United States.
Such coverage served to harden current popular opinion regarding supposed routine German barbarity in occupied Belgium.
via First World War.com – Who’s Who – Edith Cavell.

The Amazing ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

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In 1942, Dunlop was sent to Java, Indonesia to help treat allied and Australian troops who were stationed there in order to counter the Japanese threat. In March of that year the Japanese captured Weary’s hospital in Bandoeng, Java.
Weary could have escaped but he would not hear of leaving his patients and became a prisoner of war (POW).
All POWs were taken by ship to Singapore and from there some, including Weary, were railed in crowded rice trucks and sent to Thailand.
The Japanese utilised these men to build a continuous strategic rail line between Burma and Siam (now known as Myanmar and Thailand respectively).
Over four hundred kilometres long, this ambitious Japanese engineering project became known as ‘The Railway of Death’ – it has been estimated that including POWs and native labour, the construction of this railway cost one hundred thousand lives.
Weary led the first Australian group to arrive in Thailand and to work on the now infamous Burma – Siam Railway. In his dual capacity of Commanding Officer and Surgeon he had the care and responsibility for over one thousand men.
This group became known as ‘Dunlop Force’ or ‘Dunlop’s Thousand’.
Weary’ s medical skills, compassion and dedication to duty inspired his fellow POWs. He displayed extraordinary courage in attempting to improve the harsh living and working conditions imposed by his captors.
With scarce medical supplies and lack of proper instruments, the prisoners manufactured needles and artificial limbs from bamboo – improvisation was the order of the day and often made the difference between death and survival.
The men were required to work by Tokyo time, waking at 3am to begin their daily trials. Commonly breakfast consisted of one mug of rice and one of watery tea, while lunch and dinner would consist of rice with the occasional egg, but very little else.
Working from early morning until well into the night, the men were pushed to the brink of exhaustion; they were emaciated to levels they did not expect they could endure. Slow starvation and wretchedness was the order of the day. Weary bravely wrote:
“I have a conviction that it’s only when you are put at full stretch that you can realise your full potential”
Weary used his position as a doctor and Commanding Officer to protect his men. Having the awesome responsibility of deciding who was fit enough for work and who could remain behind to perhaps survive, he would often stand up to the Japanese soldiers, frequently with dire consequences for himself.
He was once made to kneel on gravel and hold up some heavy stones for many hours while a bamboo shaft was placed behind his knee.
But Weary never wavered; he always stood fast for his men.
Weary Dunlop passed away in 1993.

WWI Newspaper Pictorials.

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A French officer and his comrade in arms read the New York Times.
During the World War I era (1914-18), leading newspapers took advantage of a new printing process that dramatically altered their ability to reproduce images.
Rotogravure printing, which produced richly detailed, high quality illustrations—even on inexpensive newsprint paper—was used to create vivid new pictorial sections.
Publishers that could afford to invest in the new technology saw sharp increases both in readership and advertising revenue.
The images in this collection track American sentiment about the war in Europe, week by week, before and after the United States became involved.
Events of the war are detailed alongside society news and advertisements touting products of the day, creating a pictorial record of both the war effort and life at home.
The collection includes an illustrated history of World War I selected from newspaper rotogravure sections that graphically documents the people, places, and events important to the war.
via Newspaper Pictorials – (American Memory from the Library of Congress).

The Canary Girls WWI Women TNT workers who turned Yellow.

During World War I the United Kingdom called upon its female population to join the workforce.
With a majority of men being deployed and a dire need for production both to support the troops and to keep the country running, women were asked to “do their bit”.
Munition factories were one of the main sites where man (or woman) power was needed. These production facilities dealt mainly with trinitrotoluene (TNT), a toxic chemical compound that was originally used as a yellow die before its potential as an explosive was discovered.
It is no wonder that the women who were exposed to TNT on a daily basis turned yellow due to depigmentation of the skin.
Their hair would often turn green or reddish too and sometimes even fall out altogether.

Hence the nickname ‘Canary Girls’ or ‘Munitionettes’.
The side effects of working with such a toxic substance was not just visual. Other effects include: vomiting, nausea, migraines, breast deformation, chest pain, and weakening of the immune system.
On top of all these risks, the leading cause of death in the factories was explosions.
The biggest of these blasts was in 1918 at the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell which killed 130 workers.
This is Britain’s worst ever disaster involving an explosion and it was the biggest loss of life in a single explosion during WWI.

Despite all these hazards and the women’s ability to perform both heavy duty and delicate tasks perfectly, on average, women were paid less than half of what their male counterparts received.
See more images via 30 Incredible Photos of the Canary Girls, Female Munition Workers in WWI Who Their Hair and Skin Turned Yellow ~ vintage everyday

‘Heroes of Gallipoli’ John Simpson and his donkey.

The will of a Gallipoli hero, Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, was recently discovered by the State Records Office (SRO) in Western Australia.
Simpson and his donkey became symbols of the Anzac spirit, famed for transporting wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the frontline at Gallipoli to safety in 1915.
Simpson was born in England in 1892, joined the merchant marines at 17 and eventually made his way to Australia.
In August 1914, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and started training at Blackboy Hill camp near Perth.
Simpson disembarked for training in Egypt and it was there, just weeks before his death, he pencilled a will on 6 April, 1915.
“In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother Sarah Simpson,” he wrote.
Gallipoli hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick, was killed at the age of 22 while trying to rescue an injured soldier.
“Simpson was posted to the 3rd Field Ambulance and landed in Gallipoli on 25 April
As a stretcher bearer he decided he would enlist the help of a donkey to carry the wounded.
Only three weeks after landing he was killed by a Turkish bullet during a journey up Monash Valley to help wounded soldiers and became a national symbol of sacrifice and courage.
Source: Anzac Day 2016: WWI hero Simpson’s will discovered by WA State Records Office – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)