'Diggers & Doughboys' - special exhibition at US National WWI Museum

Posted on centenarynews.com on 11 September 2018
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A century of military ties between Australia and America, beginning on the Western Front in 1918, is explored through art in a new exhibition opening at the US National WWI  Museum & Memorial, Kansas City.

The works, drawn from the collections of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, have been chosen to illustrate the close collaboration between the two countries, in both world wars and continuing to the present day.

Australian and US troops first fought side-by-side near Amiens in 1918, as the Allies prepared to counter-attack in France. The rapid capture of the village of Le Hamel on July 4, in an operation supported by tanks and aircraft, is seen as a significant precursor to the roll-back of German army, which began that summer.

'Dugouts near Villers Bretonneux', by Will Longstaff, depicts a group of Australian soldiers, and an American, on a crucial sector of the Western Front (Image © Australian War Memorial -ART03024)

The Australian general, Sir John Monash, commending the ‘dash, gallantry and efficiency' of the American units put under his command that day, noted:  "That soldiers of the United States and Australia should have thus been associated for the first time in such close co-operation on the battlefield, is of such significance that it will live forever in the annals of our respective Nations."

An Australian soldier was blunter in his remarks to the US 33rd Division: "You’ll do me Yank, but you chaps are a bit rough."

Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On is open at the US National WWI Museum & Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri, from September 11 until Veterans Day, November 11, the Centennial of the Armistice ending the First World War.

Images courtesy of National WWI Museum & Memorial (poster); Australian War Memorial - ART03024 © licensed under CC BY-NC (Dugouts near Villers Bretonneux)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team