WWI: Torrens Island Work Camp for German POW’s.

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The measures taken against German-Australians in South Australia
During the first World War, German settlers in South Australia and Australia became known as ‘the enemy within’ and extreme measures were put in place to deal with the threat felt by the predominately-British population.
The names of places that had been named by Germans were changed and German settlers were interned or deported and taken to work camps on Torrens Island.
Torrens Island detention camp was set up and held 400 german men during the First World War.
German established schools were closed, the German language was no longer taught in schools and German’s lost the right to vote.
Because of this German families began to change their name as a means of avoiding persecution and to prove their commitment to their new home.
If you were a German-born resident of Australia you had to register at your local police station, and most German-descendents were treated in similar ways.
German residents of Australia were inflicted with hostile attitudes even if they were naturalised and had sons and brothers fighting for the Australian Infantry Force.
Australian authoritities would target German residents with unjustified searches, survelliance and arrest.
During the war 4500 Germans in Australia were interned- 700 were naturalised and 70 were Australian born.
via WW1- The Home Front: Anti-German Sentiment.

Ned Parfelt, Newsboy & Soldier, 1896-1918

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The newsboy was Ned Parfett, born in 1896, and one of four brothers from Cornwall Road, Waterloo.
Tragically, six and a half years after this picture was taken, Ned was killed while serving with the British army in France. He was 22.
Ned enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1916, serving as a despatch driver then moving onto reconnaissance duties.
He was awarded the Military Medal and mentioned in despatches for his gallant conduct during a series of missions at the front.
He died on 29 October 1918, just two weeks before the end of the war, when a shell landed on the Quartermaster’s stores as he was picking up some clothes before going on leave.
After his death, the officer who recommended Ned for special recognition wrote to one of his brothers:
‘On many occasions he accompanied me during severe shelling and I always placed the greatest confidence in him.’
Ned Parfett is buried in the British war cemetery at Verchain-Maugré in France.
via Titanic | The National Archives.

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).