Australians at War Major Project
Lest we forget: memorialization and local service histories
This project will utilise a war memorial in your local community. How should we read a war memorial and what does it say about the local community and the war service of its citizens? There are two aspects to the project, a consideration of place of the memorial in the local community, and an analysis of local representation in armed conflicts drawing on the names of the service personal who are listed on the memorial.1) Your first task is to go to your local war memorial and take some digital images.
2) Your next task is to make a list of the names on the memorial. Some memorials only list those killed in a community while others will list all from the community who served. (Some will also list people outside of the community – you can discuss this in your analysis). Some memorials will cover a range of conflicts; some will be devoted to a single war.
3) You will need to research a sample of names from the memorial. Note, you cannot just choose any names you like. These must b a representative sample. You will need to have a sample of 50-70 names. If there are hundreds of names on the memorial and it convers a number of conflicts, choose just one conflict to reduce the size of your list. If you still have more than 70 names, contact your convenor to discuss how best to take a sub-sample of your name list using systematic sampling or another method.
With the names taken from the memorial you will then consult the various conflict nominal roles or the ADFA AIF database to get more information about the basic war service of the members of your community.
4) Create a spreadsheet to collate your data. Make a row for each name in your sample. Include a column for each category of service information you obtain. You should try and obtain a complete record for each name. Note, there may be some names that prove impossible to track down, but look to exhaust all possibilities before giving up. Any names that you cannot find information on must still be included in your list, and any data analysis or graphs you produce should include them as ‘Unknown’.
5) Compile a report of 2000 words.
Reading to get you started: Ken Inglis and Jan Brazier, Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape (Melbourne, 2008), available as an eBook through MQ LibraryThe report should consist of the following sections. (The questions within each section should
be taken as suggestions. You do not need sub-headings for all of these):
What is the project?
What are the key findings?
Did you use a sampling method? If so, what was it?
What sources (eg websites, academic scholarship, books etc.) did you use?
What sources revealed what kinds of information? Were there gaps in the sources?
How did you seek to overcome these?
Are there limitations with the research methodology?
What are the design principles of the monument?
What is the position of the monument vis-à-vis other public edifices in the community?
Does it play a role today in formal commemoration activities?
Service records in the community
You might consider some or all of the following questions for analysis:
What was the average age of those who served?
What was there religion?
What types of units did your community tend to serve in?
What percentage of those who served were killed?
Were any POWs?
What was the pattern of enlistment?
What was the rank profile of your community?
Where did they serve?
What parts of town did they reside in?
What do the memorial and service records tell us about the intersection between foreign armed conflict and local communities?
How do your findings relate to material discussed in the unit? Integrate and contextualise your findings with secondary literature such as Inglis and other sources discussed in the unit.