National Library of Australia

Our Bit” in the Great War

“Our Bit” in the Great War c.1919

souvenir album containing service records, photographs and newspaper cuttings; 39.0 x 35.5cm

South Australiana Collections, State Library of South Australia
“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.

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