War Memorial Brings History Home

The Australian War Memorial is offering a new way to engage with the stories of our nation through a series of podcasts focused on the impact of war on individuals, their families, and our society.

“As human beings, we learn best when sharing stories that open a world of possibility beyond our own lived experiences. The most successful way to process information is through the medium of storytelling. That is exactly what we want to do with this new and exciting podcast series,” Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said.

“The Memorial tells the stories of our nation. Through the medium of podcasting, we are offering immediate access to our curators, historians, and our collection for listeners who want to know more about the Australian experience of war and conflict, wherever they are. This is not just about those who serve; it is also about those they loved and, often, leave behind forever.”

The Memorial has launched the first in a six-episode podcast, From a whisper to a bang!, which tells the story of an Australian prisoner of war and his granddaughter’s emotional personal journey of historical empathy, her understanding of war and remembrance.

From a whisper to a bang! is presented and produced by Australian broadcaster Megan Spencer.

Beginning with her own family, Spencer investigates the story of her late grandfather, Corporal H.B. “Harry” Spencer, examining the inter-generational ripple effect of his experience in the Second World War. He was captured after the battle for Crete in 1941 and made a prisoner of the Germans.

With Harry’s handwritten wartime memoirs tucked in her back pocket, Spencer takes the audience from the crumbling ruins of Germany’s Stalags and the historic battlefields of Flanders through to the hallowed halls of our nation’s shrines and memorials.

Spencer’s rich and revelatory conversations with family, military historians, serving members, battlefield “pilgrims”, Indigenous culture custodians, and experts on empathy invite the audience to contemplate the role of remembrance. What do we remember and how do we remember it?

One hundred years on from the end of “the war to end all wars”, Spencer asks, do we remember well? Do we take the responsibility of peace seriously enough?

The narrative is punctuated by field recordings, intimate voiceovers, and the passionate music of Cretan–Australian duo Xylouris White.

From a whisper to a bang! is supported by Boeing, and premieres on 31 January 2019. Monthly episodes will be released on the Australian War Memorial website and will be available through all major podcast platforms.

For more information and to listen to the first episode, visit https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/podcasts/Whisper

Megan Spencer has also written a feature article previewing the series, which can be found here on the Memorial’s website.

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