Harold Collins eventually made his way into the air force.
Harold Collins eventually made his way into the air force.

Anzac's amateur photos of Gallipoli battlefield go on show

SOUTH-East Queensland audiences have the opportunity to view photographs taken on the battlefields of Gallipoli in 1915 by an Anzac, Australian soldier Harold Emanuel Collins.

The exhibition is on until May 13 at Aspire Gallery in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington, before it shifts to the Anthea Polson Art Gallery on the Gold Coast from May22-June 18.

Mr Collins's images are a sobering reminder of life on the battlefield for many of his vintage.

His wartime experience included participation in the Gallipoli landings on April 25, 1915. He was there until the evacuation in December that year, serving on the frontline for most of this period.

In contrast to official war photography of this time, Mr Collins's grainy and unauthorised images paint a personal picture - capturing the adventurer's delight in his foreign surroundings; the infrastructure of war and everyday life on the battlefield.

Brisbane resident Sharryn Goldman said her great uncle had a humanitarian approach to battles.

"He never belittled the enemy, but saw they were simply 'doing their job',” she said.

From Gallipoli, Mr Collins was transferred to Cairo and later to Port Said, where he worked as an ambulance corpsman.

He was promoted to the rank of corporal and in late 1916 passed the entry exam to join the Royal Flying Corps (the predecessor of the Royal Air Force). He joined the 68th Squadron at El Arish on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai and was transferred to England for intensive training before being sent to France.

He remained on active service there until the end of the war and achieved the rank of warrant officer.

After the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Mr Collins was seconded to the British Army accounts.

He returned to Australia a year later, his numerous decorations including the Meritorious Service Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Somme Medal, Croix Combattant de L'Europe and the Anzac Medal.