Ashley Ekins is Head of the Military History Section. He is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and has worked as a military historian with the Australian War Memorial since 1989, specialising in the history of the First World War and the Vietnam War. Ashley has published widely on the role of Australian soldiers in the First World War and is completing a comprehensive study of military discipline and punishment in the First AIF. He has also engaged in a specialist study of the Gallipoli campaign.
Ashley has visited Gallipoli on twenty separate occasions and has explored the battlefields extensively with Turkish, Australian and British historians. Since 1996, he has led the Memorial’s thirteen annual battlefield tours to Gallipoli as tour leader and historical guide. He has twice accompanied a government-appointed review team to Gallipoli as historical adviser and consultant. Ashley is frequently consulted for historical advice on Australian involvement in the First World War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts. He has contributed to six major documentary films and his assistance and advice are widely acknowledged in a substantial number of scholarly and popular publications.
Ashley is also an authority on Australian military involvement in the Vietnam War. As an author of The Official History of Australia Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975, he has written extensively on Australian ground operations in Vietnam. He co-authored, with the late Dr Ian McNeill, volume eight in the series, On the Offensive: The Australian Army in the Vietnam from 1967-1968, published in 2003. His sequel volume (and the final volume in the series). Fighting to the Finish, covering Australian Army ground operations in Vietnam from 1968 to 1973, was published in 2010.
Ian McNeill and Ashlcy Ekins, On the Offensive The Australian Army in the Vietnam War, January 1967-June 1968 (Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, Sydney, 2003). This is volume eight of The Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975.
Ashley Ekins and lan McNeill, Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army in the Vietnam War 1968-1972 (Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2009), the ninth and final volume of lle Official History of Australian Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975.
A Guide to the Battlefields, Cemeteries and Memorials of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Australian War Memorial. Canberra, 1998 (revised edition, 2000, third revised edition 2002, fourth revised edition 2008)
Public Talks and Academic Conference Papers Delivered
Interview on the history and significance of the Gallipoli campaign, ABC television live broadcast, lnterpretive Program, Anzac Day Dawn Service – Anzac Commemorative Site, Gallipoli, 25 April 2008
Presentation. “‘l order you to die’: Ataturk as military commander on Gallipoli, 1915″, delivered at conference on the occasion of the 125th birthday of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish Embassy. Canberra, 8 December 2006
Commemorative closing address, “The meaning of Remembrance Day”, Australian War Mernorial commemorative area, 11 Novembcr 2006
Talk on the history of the Gallipoli campaign and guided gallery tour delivered to visiting ‘Kookaburras’ men’s national hockey team. Australian War Memorial galleries, 11 August 2006
“A ridge too far: military objectives and the dominance of terrain in the Gallipoli campaign”, paper delivered at international conference The Gallipoli Campaign: International Perspectives, 2000, convened by Onsekiz Mart University, Canakkale, Turkey, 24 April 2000
“Master of the battlefield: thc dominance of terrain in the Gallipoli campaign. 1915″, paper delivered at international conference Terrain in Military History, convened by the University of Greenwich, London. 6 January 2000
“‘A new basis for discipline’? Military crime and punishment among Australian soldiers on the Somme, 1916″, paper presented at the Colloque International (lnternational History Conference) convened by the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Peronne. France, 1-4 July 1996, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the battle of the Somme
Contributions to Television Documentary Films
Historical advice and recorded extended interview on the Gallipoli campaign and the experience of visiting Gallipoli for documentary feature, Gallipoli: Brothers in Arms, by Andrew Denton, broadcast on Enough Rope, ABC television, 26 April2007
Historical adviser, contributed to script development and recorded extensive interview for feature length documentary film, Gallipoli: the frontline experience, by Director Tolga Ornek, premiered at Australian War Memorial, April 2005
Historical adviser and recorded extensive interview for documentary feature film, ”1918 Remembered: Brothers in Arms”, by Chris Masters, Four Corners, ABC Television, 9-10 November 1998
Historical adviser and recorded extensive interview on discipline and punishment among Australian soldiers in the First World War and executions by firing squad, for documentary feature story, “ANZAC tragedies revealed after 80 years”, by Ross Coulthart, Sunday, Nine Network, 8 November 1998; updated programme, “ANZAC pardons”, broadcast as cover story on Sunday, Nine Network, 13 November 2005