Kate Ariotti
Kate Ariotti

Project Title: Captive Anzacs: World War I Australian Prisoners of the Turks

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Martin Crotty

Project Abstract: The historiography and popular memory regarding Australian prisoners of war is overwhelmingly dominated by stories of the World War II prisoners of the Japanese. My thesis, tentatively titled “Captive Anzacs”, investigates the experiences of a different group of Australian POWs - the approximately 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen who were held captive by the Turks during the First World War. The thesis examines the men’s transition into captivity and their time as prisoners, analyses the homefront representation of the prisoners and how their capture and captivity at the hands of a radically different enemy impacted on their families, and extends into the post-war period to assess the reception they received upon their return and the long-term effects, or legacy, of their imprisonment. Themes such as culture clash, diversity, fictive kin, and shifting representations of the Turkish enemy form the framework of the study. In exploring this relatively unknown aspect of our military and social history, the thesis provides an alternative to the dominant narrative of the Australian experience of World War I and contributes to a more rounded understanding of Australian POW history.

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