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Wireless ANZAC goes on exhibition

Date : 18 / 08 / 2016
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

Australian World War I Wireless Operator Eric Keast Burke, a photographer, journalist and radio experimenter with the amateur callsign XMO, has a public exhibition that starts this week at a gallery in Melbourne’s east. The Australian War Memorial reports very little has been written about the Wireless ANZACs in Mesopotamia, due to them being small in number and mainly technical troops keeping the battlefield lines of communications open.

The ANZAC 100 series of articles in Amateur Radio magazine 2015 also covered the work of Wireless ANZACs, including Bert Billings XJP and Arnold Holst XPH.

Now comes the story of Eric Keast Burke XMO who was in Mesopotamia from 1918-19 in the 1st Australian Wireless Signal Squadron, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, he went to Sydney with his family in 1904. He joined the Australian Infantry Force after training at Moore Park Sydney. He also helped his father edit the Australasian Photo-Review. Late in 1917, Eric was sent to Mesopotamia as part of the Australian and New Zealand Wireless Signal Squadron, and took a camera with accessories to help record the experience.

His squadron stayed in the region for a year after the armistice. Proudly through photos and lantern slides he held lectures that eventual funded publication of the wireless unit history.
These are at The Highway Gallery in Mt Waverley with its exhibition of ‘Horse & Morse WWI’, from August 19 to September 11. During World War II Eric also served as a Captain in the Volunteer Defence Corps, and worked in intelligence.

The Highway Gallery : Link
AWM report : Link
Biography : Link



 

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