For Anzac Day 2020, and throughout the year, The Australian War Memorial (AWM) presents podcasts that highlight the nation’s military history, tell the stories of service and sacrifice and lead to better understanding of Australia’s wartime experience.
A podcast is what used to be known as a radio program, now polished, shiny and delivered for 21st century audiences.
It’s a free service that allows internet users to pull audio files from a podcasting website and listen to it on their computer.
Anyone can stream and download podcasts from the AWM website. Each podcast features guest producers and the subject expertise of the Memorial’s historians and curators.
This time of the year could be a sombre and melancholy time, when joining mates for a yarn on ANZAC Day is out of the question, and when many have deep regrets about the inability to attend the Dawn Service, so just like podcaster Megan Spencer has, ‘we will remember them’.
Podcast: From a Whisper to a Bang!
A chance meeting at a family reunion inspired ‘Harry’s story, Megan’s pilgrimage”, where Megan uncovered the revealing inter-generational ripple effects of two world wars, and it inspires her to embark upon a life-changing pilgrimage to recover the past and practice remembrance.
Walking in the shoes of her ancestors Megan introduces the gripping story of her grandfather, Corporal “Harry” Spencer, 2/7th Battalion.
In episode 1 Megan finds that Harry had been a prisoner of war in Germany for four years in the Second World War. He was one of several thousand of Australians captured by the German Army in 1941, during the ill-fated battle of Crete.
Corporal Spencer’s story provides the catalyst for insights that help broaden our understanding of history, remembrance, and the human consequences of war.
This, as in many podcasts, has the assistance of many varied sources, including the National Archives and Records Administration and Cinetone Moviesound Productions. Go to awm.gov.au/learn/podcasts/Whisper
Historian and writer Tom Trumble, narrates the Trapped podcast. It’s an enthralling and nail-biting six episodes of the best production and audio from the AWM. And it’s all true.
The story opens around February 1942, where Flight Lieutenant Bryan Rofe is on Timor with 28 men, tasked with keeping an aerodrome open. As the Japanese invasion closes in, and with evacuation thwarted by the air raids on Darwin, Rofe has little choice but to lead his men into the jungle. They are on their own.
Malaria-ravaged and starving, these men are taken to the limits of their endurance for 58 days. When a 300-strong Japanese patrol is sent to find them all hope seems lost, until they receive a strange signal from the sea.
Tom Trumble is the grandson of Flight Lieutenant Rofe, and he shares one of the greatest escape stories of the Pacific War. Via dramatised first-hand accounts, diary entries and official records, as well as interviews with survivors, follow the experiences of the 29 brave airmen stranded on Timor – as well as the men who risked their lives to rescue them, and those sent to hunt them down.
Another intriguing podcast, Collected, is a 12 episode series exploring the artefacts that make up the National Collection of the Memorial. Journalist Louise Maher takes a closer look at the obscure, popular, strange, and wonderful items in the collection. Through conversations with historians and curators, and first-hand accounts from the people connected with these artefacts, Maher uncovers the stories that the public don’t always get to hear. Episode 2, A mother’s love and memory, explores the different ways mothers have dealt with the grief of losing sons in war. In conversation with Memorial curators Kerry Neale and Stephanie Boyle, Louise uncovers the significance of a gold brooch and a tin of biscuits currently on display in the After the War exhibition.
Photo: Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, P03138.005