February photo challenge: 18th Feb, Drink

A bit of research on Google revealed that this ad for Abbots Lager was painted near Tobruk, Libya, in January 1941 by the 6th Division of the Australian Army.  (‘Journey to Tobruk: John Murray – Bushman, Soldier, Survivor’ by Louise Austin).

My father wrote under the photo:  ‘Australian beer is best’.

Abbots Lager sign painted by 6th Division, AIF, 1941

Weekly photo challenge: Down

I looked through the album for anything that triggered the thought ‘down’.  There are resting camels, soldiers downing grog, sinking ships, broken planes, a fallen propeller, and this one, a skeleton picked clean.  The seat can still hold a pilot!

The caption in the album is ‘Wrecked Bomber’.

Wrecked bomber, North Africa, c 1941

February photo challenge: 17th Feb, Time

This clock tower is in Beirut.  The caption my father wrote under the photo gave the town of Tripoli as the tower’s home, but a search for it on Google images showed me where it really is.  It was built in 1934 and survived the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s.  Four new clock faces with Roman numerals have replaced the faces you see here.  The tower is no longer encircled by concrete, but flower beds.

The Australian troops trained in Palestine on their way to Egypt and Libya.  In the war album there are a number of photographs from Lebanon, indicating they must have had rec leave in Beirut.

Clock Tower, Beirut, 1941/42

Weekly photo challenge: Regret

This week’s theme has me questioning what are appropriate photos for a blog.  My submissions for this weekly photo challenge are all coming from my father’s war album, and this morning I had to choose between a number of photos that tell a story of regret.  In the end, I couldn’t put them on my blog.  It’s enough to say that my father regretted volunteering to defend Australia in the Middle East.  It’s also true, though, that those who were defended didn’t regret his contribution and were very thankful for the servicemen and women of the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces).

This photo, however, makes me wonder what the driver was thinking.

Desert, North Africa, 1941

Weekly photo challenge: Ready

It was a toss-up tonight between two photos that suited the theme of ‘ready’.  One was of my father and his mates in the training camp, ready and waiting to be sent to the Middle East.  And there was this one of an Egyptian kitchen hand bearing about 50 plates with more behind him, ready to serve all the extra patrons.  His hands have a firm grip on his load…

Waiting for the weekly challenge…

Don Gray, AACS

Perhaps these people were waiting for their weekly challenge, too.

This is another photo from my father’s war album.  It would have been taken in the winter of 1941.  I researched the acronym he wrote next to Don Gray;  AACS probably means Army Airways Communications System personnel.

Looks like a cold place to be waiting for something to happen…

February Photo challenge: 2nd Feb, Words

2nd Feb:  Words

I found this photo in the war album.  I had to play with the levels because the words were barely visible in the original 2″ x 3″ photo, and I was amazed when I darkened it and saw what was written on this huge sign.  It’s derived from Winston Churchill’s London broadcast on 22nd June 1941, following Germany’s invasion of Russia.

I don’t know where this building is, though it’s probably in north Africa.  The album contains photos taken in 1941/42.

We shall never negotiate; light adjusted

Here’s the original photo, untouched-up:

We shall never negotiate; original photo

Weekly photo challenge: hope

The wedding of an Australian General Hospital sister, approx. 1941.  The church is the Basilique Notre Dame d’Héliopolis, Cairo.  I’ve written a little about the church here, and included a photo of the whole structure.

The nurse probably worked at the hospital in Kantara (also El Qantarah and several other spellings), Egypt, close to the Suez Canal.  My father may have known her since he was a patient in this hospital, but he didn’t record her name.

A wedding in the middle of a war zone.  A triumph of hope over reality.

Wedding of Australian General Hospital sister, c1941, Egypt

Weekly photo challenge: simple

In the album I found a few photos of Arabs snapped in the simplicity of their daily lives.  This one really narrows it down:  a shadeless desert, a man stopping to pray, a curious and patient camel.  Bowing over his mat in prayer, the Arab blocks out the Allied soldier behind the camera lens, and the complications of war.

Arab praying, North Africa, 1940s

Weekly photo challenge: peaceful

This week, it really was a challenge to find a photo in the war album that suited a peaceful theme…  I like this one of the sun rising behind the pyramids, though even this photo has a disturbing darkness.

Sunrise_on_Nile
Sunrise on the Nile, 1940s