Episode 03: “City As War Memorial”
Megan’s grandfather Harry was just a boy when his older brother “Dick” died during World War 1.
A twin, Private Richard “Charles” Spencer, 14th Btn., 1st A.I.F., was killed a few days shy of his 19th birthday on the 31st of January, 1918, on the Western Front near Ieper (or “Ypres”).
No doubt this played a role in Harry’s decision to join up in 1939.
Hungry for even more knowledge about her family’s military past, in Episode 03 Megan drives from Berlin to Belgium to find out how, when and why Richard died. It’s the first time any Spencer has visited his grave.
Alongside thousands of other “pilgrims” searching just like her, with amazement Megan discovers answers – and an entire town built as a war memorial.
As you’ll hear, in the muddy paddocks of Ieper and under the solemn Gates of Menin, Megan shares common ground with total strangers, founded in history, empathy and remembrance.
Full episode credits
Episode 03 released 29 March 2019. Duration: 59:50.
‘From A Whisper To A Bang!’ is written, produced and presented by Megan Spencer for the Australian War Memorial.
‘9pm Bugle Calls, Last Post and Reveille played by the Menin Gate Buglers.’
Accession Number: S00265
Listen to the full recording here
- Pieter Trogh, historian, In Flanders Fields Museum Research Centre, Ypres, Belgium
- Koenraad (Conrad) Dumoulin, Accredited Battlefield Guide, Flanders & the Somme
- Graeme and Peter from The Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers tour group
- Ruth Crouch
- Andrew Neijmeijer and the 2017 ‘V6’ students of Atlas College ‘OSG-West Friesland’, The Netherlands.
- Heath Bigg and Joanne Whiteman.
- Selected works from The Diggers’ Requiem, arranged, curated and conducted by Christopher Latham, musical artist in residence at the Australian War Memorial.
- Michael Shirrefs
Dr. Aaron Pegram; Pieter Trogh and Conrad Dumoulin; Ton de Jong and Atlas College; Chris Latham and The Diggers’ Requiem artists and composers; Amanda Dennett, Andy Heaney and the DEX team, Daniel Eisenberg and Lisa Warr; Dr. Alex Norman; Oliver Budack and Jürgen Budack; Joanne Whiteman, Emma Mansfield, Helene Spencer and the Spencer family.
Music from The Diggers’ Requiem included in Episode 03:
- ‘The Silent Field’, composer: Elena Kats-Chernin
- ‘Dead March’, composer: GF Handel / ‘The Somme Lament’, composer: FS Kelly
- ‘Lament For The Pipers Who Fell In The Great War’, composer: Pipe Major John Grant
- ’62,000 Bells For 62,000 Australian Dead’, recorded at the ANU School of Music Canberra by Veronica Bailey, Thomas Laue and Chris Latham (in ‘Lux Aeterna – In Paradisum’, composer: Ross Edwards).
- Concert performed in Amiens, France, on April 23, 2018, by Orchestre de Picardie and the Jena Philharmonic and with Australian soloists, conducted by Chris Latham.
- Listen to the full concert and read the program.
The Diggers’ Requiem is an Australian tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, jointly commissioned by The Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans Affairs, with the assistance of Peggy Polias & Ellie Cumming. It features work by seven contemporary Australian composers working with Artistic Director Christopher Latham on existing and new musical pieces. More details about this collaborative project at The Flowers of War.
In Flanders Fields Museum is part of ‘The Names List’, a project dedicated to creating a comprehensive list of all of the fatalities linked to the First World War, in Belgium. IFF historian Pieter Trogh invites you to contribute. Find out more information here
- A video of Megan and Atlas College student Maaike Lammers, reading her poem dedicated to the fallen soldiers of WWI, at Menin Gate. Video courtesy of Ton de Jong.
- Red Cross Eye Witness Accounts, Priv. Richard “Charles” Spencer, No. 5218
Or click here for full episode credits and additional information.