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Category: Flags

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United Nations Flags with an Aussie accent.

Blue nylon United Nations flag flown over UN headquarters in Jerusalem at the start of the Six Day War between Israel and Jordan on 6 June 1967

Major Colin Frederick John ('Col') Woodland, who was serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) later collected the flag, which was signed by those present.

 Col Woodland was born at Peking, China, in 1922, son of Australian Salvationist missionary parents. 

 He was raised and educated in China, mostly at the English-speaking Tientsin Grammar School, although he and his family visited Australia several times on leave.  In 1940, completing his education in Shanghai, Woodland obtained a position with a local import-export firm, and also joined the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, a citizen's military unit.  He later became part of the Shanghai Scottish company, and helped to guard the perimeter of the International Settlement against Japanese incursion.  Owing to his father's deteriorating health, Woodland and his family left China in November 1941, and returned to Australia, narrowly avoiding the Japanese attacks on Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta en route. While in Singapore, he attempted to join a British regiment, but decided to follow his father's advice and return to Australia before enlisting.  In February 1942, he was accepted for service in the AIF, becoming QX29957 with 7 Pioneer Company, and in February 1943 he was posted to New Guinea as a reinforcement to 2/7 Infantry Battalion, joining the unit at Wau. During the following months, Woodland saw service at Wau, Mubo and Salamaua, but he was evacuated late in the year suffering from sciatica.  A further series of injuries rendered him unfit for active service, and he was discharged in mid 1944, joining the Commonwealth Public Service. In 1952 he enlisted in the CMF, and in 1957 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant with 3 Infantry Battalion.  In 1966, he applied to become an officer with UNTSO in Palestine, and was transferred to the regular army with the rank of Major.  The posting to UNTSO took Woodland and his family to Jerusalem, but the deteriorating situation and increasing hostility between Israel and Jordan led to the evacuation of families in May 1967. On 6 June 1967, the Six Day War broke out, and the Mixed Armistice Commission (MAC) headquarters of UNTSO in Jerusalem were at the centre of serious fighting as Israeli forces defeated the Jordanian Army.  Woodland remained on duty with other observers throughout the fighting, and oversaw the signing of the ceasefire on the Damascus road some days later.  In 1969, he returned to Australia and, on discharge from the regular army, rejoined the CMF.  He later became part of the Department of Foreign Affairs' Aid Branch, and worked in Vietnam and the south west Pacific before retiring from the public service in 1974.  Col Woodland died in Queensland in 1997.  AWM 32510
This flag was collected by 326853 Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Dean Herbert of the Australian Army, while serving as a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation (UNTSO) in 1997. UNTSO, which monitors activity in the strategically important Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, was the first Peacekeeping operation undertaken by the UN, in 1948, and remains in place today. The flag, which had flown over Observation Post 71, was souvenired by Major Herbert after it was withdrawn from use, being worn out by the extremes of climate in the region. AWM 31738
United Nations flag : UNMCTT (United Nations Mine Clearance Training Team) Afghanistan  &/or Pakistan c.1990s

Flags of the Nations of the UN in 1943.

Images from CWO H H "Sarge" Booker II

The name "United Nations", coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

States first established international organizations to cooperate on specific matters. The International Telecommunication Union was founded in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, and the Universal Postal Union was established in 1874. Both are now United Nations specialized agencies.

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In 1899, the International Peace Conference was held in The Hague to elaborate instruments for settling crises peacefully, preventing wars and codifying rules of warfare. It adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began work in 1902.

The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the first World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles "to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security." The International Labour Organization was also created under the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League. The League of Nations ceased its activities after failing to prevent the Second World War.

In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.

The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. Extracted from: Basic Facts About the United Nations 2000.

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces