Thursday 23 October 2008

AWM: Advancing to Victory

The Australian War Memorial will display the 'sponson' (or side turret) of a Mark IV tank and Lieutenant George Ingram's Victoria Cross for the first time in a new exhibition, Advancing to Victory, 1918 which opens to the public tomorrow.

"The exhibition provides a timeline of the major battles of 1918 - the battles of Villers-Bretonneux, Hamel, Amiens and Mont St Quentin, and the Allies final advances to victory including the breaking of the Hindenburg Line," said Exhibition Curator Peter Burness.

"We have used large objects and works of art to help visitors understand the events of 1918. It's a very important exhibition, with the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War on 11 November this year.

"Keay features include the sponson of a Mark IV tank to demonstrate the dangerous and cramped conditions inside early tanks, an 18-pounder field gun with its limber and large works of art including Will Longstaff's Night attack by 13th Brigade on Villers-Bretonneux, which is on display for the first time in the exhibition.

"The Armistice on 11 November is also included, which was a time of mixed emotions. Everyone was relieved and joyous that the Great War was finally over, but for many families there was an incredible sadness for their lost family members, whose names are listed on the Memorial's Roll of Honour," Mr Burness said.

Lieutenant Ingram received his Victoria Cross for actions in 1918 at Montbrehain in France and was last AIF member to be awarded a Victoria Cross during the First World War. It was purchased at auction by an anonymous bidder on 27 May 2008 and recently donated to the Memorial.

The Memorial's YouTube site shows a video of conservators removing the tank's sponson for the first time since 1918, especially for the exhibition.

Advancing to victory.1918 is the fourth and final in a sequence of First World War anniversary exhibitions presented by the Memorial. It opens on 24 October 2008 and runs until 11 February 2009. Entry is free.

This exhibition will be opened by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Hon Alan Griffin MP and is sponsored by the Australian Government and Thales.

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