Abbott gives Hitler icons a wide berth


There are some photo opportunities all self-respecting prime ministers will try to avoid.


Like standing in front of a Nazi flag. Or admiring Hitler’s black Grosser Mercedes parade car.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott deftly avoided both when he visited the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on Sunday.

Presented with a corridor featuring the two prized World War II artefacts, Mr Abbott – surrounded by TV crews and photographers – stepped up the pace and headed to some first-hand footage of the 1944 D-Day landings.

If not for his fleet-footed manoeuvre the images could have been devastating.

It was later revealed Mr Abbott had presented some Australian artefacts to the museum.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) will loan its Canadian counterpart its William Longstaff painting, `Menin Gate at Midnight’, for an exhibition in Ottawa on Canadians serving in Belgium in WWI.

A set of 32 lithographs of drawings of Australians soldiers on the Western Front by William Henry Dyson will also be loaned along with the famous ‘Medicine Hat Trail’ sign from the Canadian trenches in the 1917 Battle of Messines.

As well, Canada, Australia and the UK will work together on a touring exhibition – Dominions at War – to commemorate the collective effort of the three countries during WWI.

Interestingly, AWM Director Brendan Nelson says the memorial plans to update its film about the Red Baron to include the Canadian side of the story.

Who shot down Manfred von Richthofen on April 21, 1918, has never been conclusively proven and both Canadians and Australians claim credit.

Private Alfred Fowler, of the 40th Australian Battalion, was convinced Australian gunners felled the famous German pilot. But it’s also possible a Canadian pilot, Roy Brown, had a hand in it.

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