State Library Victoria is open ANZAC Day, Thursday 25 April, from 10 am to 6 pm.

Home > Stories > The unofficial World War II photographs of Alfred Huggins and Syd Grant

The unofficial World War II photographs of Alfred Huggins and Syd Grant

A black and white photo of a group of soldiers standing together on the HMS Kimberley.
16 September 2021

In the La Trobe Journal No 106 September 2021, Jim Claven discusses recent donations to the Library containing photographs that document the experiences of two Victorian soldiers in the Greek campaign of World War II, and explains why they are such important additions to Australian military history.

During World War II, the Australian government strictly censored the writings and photographs of civilian media and military personnel. However, despite this, two soldiers from Victoria’s Western District appear to have been determined to capture ‘their war’ in photographs. Private Sydney (Syd) Grant and Sergeant Alfred Huggins independently and unofficially created photographic collections that together constitute an impressive archive of images of the Australian involvement in the war.

These collections, including letters, audio recordings and other documentary material from throughout their war service, were recently donated to State Library Victoria by the men’s families. The author of this article assisted the families with these donations. The Sydney Grant Photographic and Manuscript Collection contains 320 photographs, and the Sergeant Alfred Huggins Collection contains 232 photographs and postcards.

This article introduces the archive through a small selection of photographs of the Greek campaign of 1941, in which these two soldiers participated, that demonstrates their importance in Australia’s war records.

You can browse and download the full-text article or purchase your hard copy from Readings online below. 

Buy now

We would like to thank the following people who donated the collection of photos used in the La Trobe Journal No 106 September 2021: Philip James Huggins, David Frank Huggins, Jim Claven and members of the Lemnos-Gallipoli Committee.

About the La Trobe Journal

Published by State Library Victoria, the La Trobe Journal features illustrated articles by researchers and writers inspired by the Library’s rich collections. Learn more.