War Memorial's priceless Ascot lifeboat gets a new home

THE Australian War Memorial's priceless Ascot Boat will be lowered into its position tonight (March 24) in the newly redeveloped First World War galleries.

The lifeboat came from HMT Ascot, a transport vessel that carried Australian troops from Egypt to Turkey, and was used by the 13th Battalion during the April 25 landings at Gallipoli.

It received several bullet holes while on shore and these are still visible on the exterior of the vessel.

Australian War Memorial historian Peter Burness said the lifeboat was earmarked for the Memorial's collection by Charles Bean in 1919 but remained on the beach at Gallipoli until 1921, when it was finally shipped to Australia.

"Since that time it has been an invaluable piece of the Memorial's collection and one of the few priceless items in Canberra," he said.

"The steel lifeboat from HMT Ascot was temporarily moved in June, 2013, to allow for redevelopment work to take place on the First World War galleries."

The First World War Galleries have recently undergone a $32.52 million redevelopment after receiving Australian Government funding.

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