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Remember Me: The Lost Diggers Of Vignacourt

Home > Australia > ANZAC Day | Community Events | Exhibitions | Free | Photography
by Katie E (subscribe)
A mum who uses adventures and outings around town as an excuse to avoid the housework.
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An honest image of life behind enemy lines
The Australian War Memorial's exhibition, Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt, has just begun its nationwide tour as the country marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. This moving tribute to those who served their country showcases life behind the front lines of the Somme. Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt will tour for the next four years to coincide with ANZAC centenary commemorations.

Remember Me: the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt

The exhibition comprises 74 of the 800 glass-plate negatives donated to the Australian War Memorial from the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier collection. These images were almost forgotten, having been rediscovered in storage in a barn. The Thuillier's captured these images in Vignacourt, Northern France during the First World War. As this area was behind the front lines, many Australian, British, French, US, and Indian soldiers rallied here before leaving for the battlefields, making these images a more honest account of the emotional impact of battle.

Remember Me: the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt

The Thuillier family seized the opportunity to capture aspects of military life, friendships formed, and moments that could be shared with loved ones back home as the portraits were often printed onto postcards. Of the prints chosen to represent the collection, some show a casual atmosphere depicting the mateship element of war, while others clearly show the harshness of the situation. The images of so many young men were captured, perhaps for the last time. The freezing conditions endured are evident by layers of heavy clothing worn. Yet tender moments include the wedding of an Australian soldier to a local French woman, and the bond formed between soldiers and their animal counterparts like those of the Light horsemen.

It is amazing that this many negatives could be preserved so well for such a long time. The Australian War Memorial staff have managed to turn these precious pieces into photographs using traditional darkroom techniques. The exhibition features a video explaining the painstaking process. For further details of this aspect of the exhibition, take a look at the clip below.

Other artefacts are also showcased in this exhibition. A coat worn during the First World War by an Australian soldier and printed postcards are also on display. Highlighted quotes throughout the exhibition have been displayed for visitor reflection.

Remember Me: the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt

Unfortunately the names of those people pictured were not recorded, so the task of identification continues. If you think you can identify someone from the portraits on display or in the collection, contact the Australian War Memorial.

Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices made by the men, women and children from the era of the First World War. To be able to gain a rare insight into life behind the front lines in north provincial France is extremely special. The photographs capture a range of emotions from mateship and pride to disbelief. Ultimately, they are a living memory of the implications of war that will endure for generations to come. This collection ensures that the sacrifices made by the lost diggers, and of all service men and women who follow, will be remembered.

The tour schedule is outlined below. For further information see the Australian War Memorial website or contact the relevant host venue.

Host Venue / City / Dates

Queensland Museum South Bank / Brisbane / 5 April 2014 - 20 July 2014

State Library of South Australia / Adelaide / 5 August 2014 - 19 October 2014

State Library of New South Wales / Sydney / 1 November 2014 - 18 January 2015

Western Australian Museum Albany / Albany / 6 March 2015 - 24 May 2015

Western Australian Museum Geraldton / Geraldton / 5 June 2015 - 23 August 2015

Western Australian Museum / Fremantle / 10 September 2015 - 15 November 2015

Western Australian Museum Kalgoorlie / Kalgoorlie Boulder / 21 November 2015 - 7 February 2016

Riddoch Art Gallery / Mt Gambier / 19 February 2016 - 3 April 2016

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory / Darwin / 23 April 2016 - 7 August 2016

QANTAS Founders Museum / Longreach / 19 August 2016 - 9 October 2016

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery / Townsville / 21 October 2016 - 22 January 2017

Artspace Mackay / Mackay / 3 February 2017 - 19 March 2017

Hervey Bay Regional Gallery / Hervey Bay / 31 March 2017 - 14 May 2017

Rockhampton Art Gallery / Rockhampton / 26 May 2017 - 9 July 2017

Albury Regional Library Museum / Albury / 28 July 2017 - 24 September 2017

Sovereign Hill / Ballarat / 13 October 2017 - 26 November 2017

Glasshouse Arts, Conference & Entertainment Centre / Port Macquarie / 8 December 2017 - 28 January 2018

Shrine of Remembrance / Melbourne / 9 February 2018 - 8 April 2018

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery / Hobart / 20 April 2018 - 17 June 2018

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Inveresk / Launceston / 6 July 2018 - 19 August 2018

Orange Regional Gallery / Orange / 7 September 2018 - 21 October 2018

Benalla Art Gallery / Benalla / 2 November 2018 - 9 December 2018
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Why? See an honest depiction of life on the Western Front in the First World War through this Australian War Memorial travelling exhibition
When: Check opening hours with individual venues
Where: Various host venues throughout Australia
Cost: Free
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