The Australian History Channel has commissioned a documentary that marks the 90th anniversary of WWI. It is a companion to the 2005 documentary commemorating the fallen in Gallipoli.
The film will be a tribute to the soldiers who fought during the battles of the Western Front from Frommelles (July 1916) through to Montbrehain (October 1918).
The award-winning writer Jonathan King, whose book The Western Front Diaries the film is based on, has also co-written, co-produced and presented the documentary.
The Gallipoli campaign in the peninsula of Turkey from 25th April through to 9th January 1916 was an endeavour set by the British Empire, including the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC’s), and France to take hold of the Ottoman capital of Istanbul and create a secure route through to Russia for the troops. But the mission was caught by fire and suffered heavy casualties. 8, 709 Australians were killed.
Australia’s Naval and Military Forces arrived on the island of New Pommern, later called New Britain, on September 11th 1914. Other than being highly instrumental in Gallipoli, the Australian and Canadian corps led the Battle of Amiens during the Hundred Days Offensive which began 8th August 1918. With the Fourth British Army to the left of them, the First French Army to the right, the corps that day helped set the beginning of the German Downfall, only a few months after Wilhelm the II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, had anticipated a German win by scheduling a national holiday on the 24th of March.
Dr. Jonathan King, who has been awarded with Australian Achiever of the Year in 1988 for his achievements in remembering the Bicentennial First Fleet of Tall Ships from London to Sydney, and the Outstanding Achiever’s Award Medal by the Australian Prime Minister in 1989, is a respected journalist, author and historian. His book The Anzacs’ Own Story Day by Day was released in 2003 in time to commemorate the 85th anniversary of remembrance.
His efforts have been to re-enact and balance the history on the lives given by the ANZAC and to reinvestigate the often forgotten 250,000 Australians who made up the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
No more Australian survivors of the war remain since the death of Alec Campbell in 2002, who was the last link of Australians with the Gallipoli campaign. The challenge of this film, therefore, is the survival of those men in the form of diaries, letters and postcards read out by family members, recording interviews and relative memories.
The documentary premiered on the Australian History Channel 11/11/08.