Bringing ANZAC history to life at Kingsgrove RSL Club

Diggers remembered: Men of the Australian 2nd Division gaining trench experience near Bois Grenier in June, 1916.
Diggers remembered: Men of the Australian 2nd Division gaining trench experience near Bois Grenier in June, 1916.

Kingsgrove RSL Club will host a major travelling exhibition from the Australian War Memorial to mark the centenary of the Anzacs involvement on the Western Front in World War I.

To Flanders Fields, 1917 is the second in the The Australians on the Western Front, 1916–1918 series of three travelling exhibitions commemorating the Centenary of Anzac.

The exhibition contains original collection items, photography, maps, art, and first-hand accounts from the archives.

The exhibition is be touring RSL Services Clubs throughout New South Wales from March to December, 2017 and will be at Kingsgrove RSL Club for one month from October 2.

To Flanders Fields, 1917, looks at the third year of the Great War, which proved to be the worst Australian troops ever experienced; more troops died in battle in that year than in any other.

Kingsgrove RSL Club president, Alan Barnes said the exhibition was central to the club’s role in remembrance and educating the community on the sacrifices and hardships endured by Australia’s service men and women.

“More Australians were killed on the Western Front in the First World War than in any other theatre of war,” Mr Barnes said.

“The Flanders region of Belgium saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, including events which would eventually turn the tide in favour of the allies.

“With the battles at Messines, Ypres, and Passchendaele in Belgium, and at Bullecourt in France, 1917 was a pivotal turning point for Australia and the world.

“Australian troops suffered heavily in mighty battles at Bullecourt, in France, and at Messines and in the third battle of Ypres, in Belgium.

“Over eight weeks, between September and early November, on the battlefields leading up to Passchendaele, Australia lost 38,000 men killed, wounded, or maimed. The year finally ended, much as it had begun, with the main armies bogged in the muddy trenches of France and Belgium.”

Brad Smith, Marketing and Communications Manager of the RSL and Services Clubs said the Australian War Memorial was a world-class museum and this exhibition was a chance to bring it out to communities.

“It’s commendable that Kingsgrove RSL Club have invested in this exhibition. Remembrance and education is central to the role of our RSL and Services Clubs,” he said.

“The exhibition is only in town for a month, so I’d encourage locals to take the time to visit the RSL Club and reflect on this tumultuous time in our history,” he said.

The free exhibition will be at Kingsgrove RSL Club, 8 Brocklehurst Lane, Kingsgrove, from 10am daily from October 2 to October 30.