21 year-old POW George Bell hides his scribbled notes in a Colgate toothpaste tube.
Former jockey Jack Hutton enlists after height restrictions are relaxed and fills his pocket-sized diaries with startling one-liners … “Murder bloody murder God in heaven tis awful.”
Nurse Anne Donnell spends Xmas at Lemnos where staff & patients forget about war for the day.
Artist turned signaller Ellis Silas confesses “I know I shall never be able to shoot at a man.”
Intimate, personal accounts of war contained in the State Library of NSW’s rich collection of 1,100 hand-written diaries will be showcased for a first time in a major exhibition commemorating the centenary of World War One, opening 5 July 2014.
Life Interrupted: Personal Diaries from World War I exposes the compelling tales of adventure, heartache and bravery – with a dose of great Aussie humour – through the hand-written diaries and letters of soldiers, doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, journalists and POWs.
The diaries include accounts of the first battle in New Guinea and the naval battle between HMAS Sydney and the German raider the Emden in 1914, the Gallipoli campaign and the battle at Fromelles and Pozieres in France in 1916 and the Middle East Campaign.
The exhibition features an amazing installation of 750 WWI diaries drawn from the Library’s collection, and visitors will be able to hear recordings of diary entries written in the trenches, from hospital beds and while on leave in Paris and Cairo.
The exhibition also features iconic Frank Hurley images alongside evocative amateur photography captured on Kodak ‘Soldiers’ Own’ cameras by soldiers at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, along with rare maps, posters, postcards and objects souvenired from the frontlines and from Paris and the UK while on leave.
See the full media release and diary extracts attached.
Elise Edmonds is available for interviews. Audio recordings of diary extracts are available on request (see transcripts attached)