Historical information

It is believed that the photograph on the obverse side of the postcard was taken in 1918. Depicted are ten Australian male soldiers. Their names are transcribed in pencil on the reverse side of the postcard. Each soldier is dressed in a formal military uniform.

It is believed that these soldiers were part of The Australian Imperial Force during World War I. This can be inferred by the chevron rank insignia visible on the uniforms of nine of ten men. The placement of this insignia on the sleeves of their right arms suggests that they were either Warrant Officers or Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO). Specifically, the number of chevron stripes - here, nine men have three - are believed to signify a Corporal rank.

The men pictured on this postcard are also wearing 'Rising Sun' collar badges on their coats. Australia, unlike most other Commonwealth countries, did not adopt metal regimental badges during the First World War. All units were issued with the Australian Army General Service Badge, better known as the 'Rising Sun’ badge. This insignia is almost always identified with the Australian Imperial Force.

Another characteristic of the Australian Imperial Force uniform are the rectangular colour patches worn by all men on this postcard. In March 1915, a new scheme of unit identification was devised to replace the wearing of unit titles. This consisted of cloth colour patches on the upper arms of a soldier’s tunic. The black and white nature of the record means that we cannot establish which battalion these soldiers were part of.

However, one of the handwritten signatures on the reverse side of the postcard reads "W.A. Griggs". This was the signature of Sergeant William Archibald Griggs. Further research shows that Griggs was part of the 5th Australian Division Signals Company. Therefore, it is believed these soldiers were part of the ANZAC Signal Companies. The main role of the Signal Companies during World War I was the laying and maintenance of telephone cables and switchboards, used to connect various units in their area.

Furthermore, the man standing in the back row, third from the left side, has an Overseas Service chevron patch on his coat. In January 1918, the Australian Imperial Force approved the wearing of the overseas service chevrons which had been adopted by the British Army. These were embroidered or woven inverted chevrons worn above the cuff on the right arm. Due to a shortage of supply, some men had chevrons privately made. For each year of war service, a blue chevron was awarded, and those men who had embarked in 1914 received a red chevron to indicate that year’s service; however, the black and white nature of the postcard makes it difficult to determine what colours are on this man's patch.


The record is historically significant due to its connection to World War I. This conflict is integral to Australian culture as it was the single greatest loss of life and the greatest repatriation of casualties in the country's history. Australia’s involvement in the First World War began when the Australian government established the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in August 1914. Immediately, men were recruited to serve the British Empire in the Middle East and on the Western Front.

The first significant Australian action of the war was the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force’s (ANMEF) landing on Rabaul on 11 September 1914. The ANMEF took possession of German New Guinea at Toma on 17 September 1914 and of the neighbouring islands of the Bismarck Archipelago in October 1914.

On 25 April 1915, members of the AIF landed on Gallipoli in Turkey with troops from New Zealand, Britain, and France. This specific event holds very strong significance within Australian history.

The record has strong research potential. This is due to the ongoing public and scholarly interest in war, history, and especially the ANZAC legend, which is commemorated annually on 25 April, known as ANZAC Day.

Physical description

Black and white rectangular postcard printed on paper.

Inscriptions & markings

Oh 'Serg!' /

Correspondance / Adresse /
w.a. Grigg /
J. Fain /
Ruckling /
R.J Farrar /
(?) /
Clarke /
L (?) /
GFFisher /
R. M. Forrest /
With Compliments /
Sgt's Mess /
November 1918 /