Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


36th Battalion colour patch, AIF, associated with service of Lieutenant Vincent Burns


36th Battalion colour patch, AIF, associated with service of Lieutenant Vincent Burns

Object information


This colour patch is associated with the service of Lieutenant Vincent Alexander Burns who served with the 36th Battalion AIF during the First World War.

Burns enlisted in July 1915. He was wounded during the Battle of Messines in June 1917, dying of his injuries on 11 June 1917.

Physical description

A wool flannel colour patch of the 36th Battalion, that is oval shaped, and has a two colour design divided lengthways. It is constructed from two different pieces of fabric sewn together, one piece is cream, and the other is green.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises objects related to the First World War service of Lieutenant Vincent Burns and his death at the Battle of Messines in June 1917. The collection includes a next-of-kin plaque, medals, an identity disc, a female relative badge, items related to the 36th Battalion, and photographs and documents related to Burns. Burns enlisted in the Australia Imperial Force in July 1915. He joined the 36th Battalion when it was raised in February 1916 and departed Sydney on 31 May 1916. The 36th Battalion's first major battle was at Messines in June 1917. On 9 June Burns sustained severe shrapnel injuries to his arm and abdomen. He died two days later as a result of his wounds.

Through its official and unofficial mementoes and memorials relating to Burns, this collection represents a personal connection to the way families dealt with the loss of loved ones. During the First World War around 420,000 Australians enlisted for service. Of that number around 60,000 service personnel died and 155,000 were wounded in action. The Australian population at that time numbered approximately 4.9 million, so the impact on society was immense. Battalion loyalties could be very strong and became, in many instances, a soldier's surrogate family. Recognising this, bereaved relatives often made contact with relatives of men from the same battalion or with returned men from the same unit. These friendships and connections often helped people through their grieving.

Object information

Back to top