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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

Memorial Ribbons, ANZAC Day

By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 20 April 2016

Today we purchase memorial ribbons to support and bring awareness to advocacy and charity groups. In 1916 and for all the years since, Anzac Day ribbons or 'badges' were worn for Remembrance.

The first ribbons were worn by servicemen in Egypt in 1916. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, battalions were regrouped, and many sent to France to fight the German armies. Those that remained in Egypt participated in commemorative activities to remember their fallen comrades.

Sports program, ANZAC day

Many wore a blue ribbon on their right breast; those who took part in the landing on Anzac Beach on 25 April 1915, also wore a red ribbon.

Anzac Day Badge 1971

The ribbon shown here, was a sample sent for approval, to the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee, Queensland in 1971. Anzac Day Commemoration Committee Records, 1916-1974, State Library of Queensland

100 years ago, in Egypt, London, Australia and New Zealand communities took part in marches, parades, sporting events, and wreath laying ceremonies.

Anzac Day 1916

Soldiers serving in Cairo took the opportunity to visit the graves of comrades who had died while serving overseas, and were buried in the old Cairo Cemetery.

Old Cairo Cemetery

The Old Cairo Cemetery, 1918. Many Australian soldiers who died in Egypt lie buried here. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial, Accession C04059

Schools were encouraged to place orders for the ribbons, the proceeds of the sales later going to the erection of memorials and the care and upkeep of war graves in Australia ... Lest we forget

Further reading:


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