“Our Bit” in the Great War
“Our Bit” in the Great War was compiled at a time when patriotism for the British Empire was running strong. In a country of fewer than five million, more than 300 000 men enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) after Prime Minister Joseph Cook declared on 5 August 1914: ‘When the Empire is at war, so is Australia.’
The scrapbook—a collection of service records, photographs and newspaper cuttings—commemorates the role of South Australian servicemen and nurses during World War 1 in battle zones such as France, Greece, India, Egypt and Palestine.
In South Australia, men had responded to the Prime Minister’s announcement in their thousands. The enthusiasm was short-lived, however, as the casualties grew and news spread of the horrors of the Front.
Possibly compiled by a returned services agency, the scrapbook’s provenance is unknown. Apart from photographs and clippings, it includes a number of pre-printed sheets containing room for personal information on men and women who served in the war. Each was completed and signed by the individuals and was accompanied by a photograph. They offer tantalising but all-too-brief glimpses of their subjects.