On November 12 His Excellency Mr Peter Tesch, Australian Ambassador to Russia, handed to Tsarskoe Selo a reproduction Australian WWI Light Horse sergeant’s uniform set of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
As Director Olga Taratynova of Tsarskoe Selo noted at the handover ceremony in the Russia in the Great War museum at the Martial Chamber, where the Anzac uniform will be put on display together with the British and Scottish infantry uniform reproductions donated by Sir Peter Jackson in 2015, ‘It is especially symbolic that we receive this gift the next day after the whole world celebrated the centenary of the First World War’s end. Our first (and so far only) Russian museum of the Great War is doing its best to bring forth the truth about this tragic period in history.’
Peter Tesch commended the efforts by the museum, as well as the fact that the First World War has been drawing more attention in Russia lately. He said, ‘The war had a great effect on Australian national identity. Whatever their national origins, everyone who served in our forces came back Australian.’
Placed upon a specially produced mannequin, the set includes a jacket, breeches, boots, leggings, bandoleer equipment, and a characteristic Australian slouch hat with a side turned up and an emu plume. To make it complete, Peter Tesch personally brought from Moscow to St Petersburg a reproduction British pattern 1907 bayonet.
As the participation of Asian, African and Australian forces in the First World War has never been widely covered in Russia, this gift will certainly help our museum display to emphasize the global character of the war.
In 2016 the Australian Embassy and Tsarskoe Selo held the exhibition Russian Anzacs: Threads of a Buried History.
In 2015 the Embassy donated to the Museum copies of rare photographs of Russian-born servicemen in the ANZAC expeditionary force, some memorial medals and the book ‘Russian Anzacs in Australian History’ by the Australian historian Elena Govor.
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