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Australian War Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London

The Australian War Memorial, London located in the heart of London, at Hyde Park Corner (Cnr Grosvenor Pl and Wellington Pl) commemorates the Australian servicemen and women who fought in defence of freedom alongside Britons in two world wars. It was dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Australian Prime Minister John Howard MP on 11 November 2003.

The design for the memorial features a long, curving wall of West Australian green granite, reflecting the sweep of the Australian landscape. The wall features names of 47 of the battle sites where Australian and British military personnel fought, superimposed upon the names of 24,000 home towns of Australian servicemen and women, many of whom were never to return home.

The memorial, designed by Sydney architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and artist Janet Laurence uses water in a cyclical display to create shifting patterns, highlighting different facets of the memorial. An innovative lighting system illuminates the memorial wall by night.

The striking design of the memorial brings a touch of the Australian landscape and character to the heart of London, forming the focus for Anzac Day dawn services in London and providing a place of pilgrimage for Australians and Britons alike.

To enhance available information about the memorial, a touchscreen version of the dedicated website has been placed in Wellington Arch.

Battle names and place names

In the two world wars of the 20th century Australians served their country in many locations across the world. They experienced the biting gales of the north Atlantic while serving at sea, the sub-zero temperature at 20,000 metres up over Germany in a bomber, the sandstorms of the desert in North Africa and the humid heat of the jungles of Malaya and New Guinea. These foreign soils became the final resting place for many of Australia's sons and daughters.

The 47 battle names inscribed on to the face of the memorial reflect the geographical spread of Australia's service and recall the great sacrifice of Australian life during the conflicts. The name 'Pozieres' for example, is evocative of not only the small Somme village in France where the First Australian Imperial Force fought during the Battle of the Somme, but also the overwhelming number of casualties suffered there: 26,000 in only six weeks, 8,000 of them killed in action. The words 'Ruhr' and 'Berlin' recall the efforts of Bomber Command during The First World War, with nearly 3,500 RAAF aircrew giving their lives during these operations. Other names such as 'Atlantic', 'North Sea', 'Mediterranean' and 'Indian Ocean' emphasise the global roll of the Royal Australian Navy and remember the great number of Australian sailors who were lost at sea.

The 24,000 place names record the origins of Australian Servicemen and women, many of whom were born overseas. Each is a reminder of the impact of war on families and communities.

The list of these names was compiled from a variety of sources linked to the First World War and the Second World War service records. These sources included the First World War Nominal Roll, National Archives of Australia, Australian War Memorial and The AIF Project, UNSW  at ADFA.

Several parameters were used to refine the information so that each place name is 'unique'. There is no indication of country or state as it is anticipated that a town name will be sufficient to evoke memories. For example, the name Aberdeen would evoke memories for an individual regardless of whether they came from Aberdeen, Scotland or Aberdeen, SA. On the same premise, place names that had North, South, East or West as a suffix have been removed, providing the place name itself in the list. For example Albury North appears in the list as Albury. If North, South, East or West was used as a prefix, the name was removed from the list unless it was a suburb or town in its own right.

However over nine decades, the spelling of names has altered, names have changed and some towns may no longer exist. In the absence of historic databases of such changes, current spelling of town names has been sourced from Australia Post, Geoscience of Australia and National Geographic databases.

See the Australian War Memorial London website for more information.

Australian battle names

Battle names - alphabetical list
The following 47 battle names, listed in alphabetical order, reflect the geographical spread of Australia's service during the First and Second World Wars.
Amiens Crete Lone Pine Polygon Wood
Atlantic Damascus Markham-Ramu Pozieres
Bardia Darwin Mediterranean Rabaul
Beersheba El Alamein Megiddo Ruhr
Berlin Fromelles Mesopotamia Savo Island
Bismarck Sea Gallipoli Messines Singapore
Borneo Gaza Milne Bay Sunda Strait
Bougainville Imphal Mont St Quentin Tobruk
Brallos Pass Indian Ocean Normandy Villers-Bretonneux
Bullecourt Kokoda North Sea Wewak
Cocos Keeling Krithia Okinawa Ypres
Coral Sea Lingayen Gulf Passchendaele  

Australian place names

Place names - alphabetical list

The 24,000 place names recording the origins of Australian Servicemen and women.

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