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The AIF team flag

The AIF team flag

The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) cricket team was formed in 1919 from Australian servicemen. This team flag belonged to wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield who served as a corporal with the 15th Field Ambulance during the war and went on to serve as Australia's leading wicketkeeper from 1922 to 1937.

The AIF team was formed by Corps Headquarters in London to provide entertainment for the thousands of battle-weary Australian soldiers in Europe at the end of the First World War. The team played 34 matches in England, recording 15 wins, 15 losses and four draws, and then, at the insistence of the Minister of Defence, toured South Africa on the way home. Six men from the AIF team went on to play for Australia.

A colour photograph showing a flag used by the Australian Imperial Force Cricket Team in the First World War. The flag is based upon the Australian Commonwealth flag. It has the Union Jack in the upper left corner. A map showing the location of battles in Belgium and France has been superimposed over the flag. Part of England is visible, superimposed over the Union Jack. In the lower right of the flag is printed 'A.I.F. Cricket Team'. The majority of the flag is red, while the area with the printing is an off-white colour. There are four stars on the flag. The large star under the Union Jack has 'Gallipoli' printed in it. The three smaller stars to the right of the Union Jack, arranged in a triangle, have 'Egypt', 'France' and 'Flanders' printed in them.

The cotton AIF team flag with a map of Europe and the Union Jack screen-printed in red, white and blue. The flag is approximately 420 mm wide and 250 mm high. Photo: George Serras.

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A black and white photograph of the Australian Imperial Force cricket team, taken in England in 1919. There are 15 men in the photograph. Seven of them stand in a row. Six of them sit on chairs front of the standing men. The remaining two sit on the ground in front of the men sitting on the chairs. All of them wear light-toned trousers and shoes. The men at either end of the standing row wear army tunics; the rest wear civilian coats. The man at the right end of the standing row wears batting pads on his lower legs. In the background are trees. The cricketers are on what appears to be well-kept lawn.

The AIF cricket team at Lord's Cricket Ground in England in 1919. Bert Oldfield is in the back row on the far right. Courtesy: Australian War Memorial, Negative Number D00685.