Sunday, April 25, 2010

ANZAC

Just on dawn on the 25th of April ninety-five years ago the first boats of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps grounded at Gallipoli in Turkey.For the first time as a nation Australia was going to war. As a brand new nation and proud member of the British Empire, Australia pledged to join the war effort as soon as World War One began in 1914.

But we didn’t have an army to speak of, so recruitment and training began. The initial force sent overseas was a combined corps of Aussie and Kiwi troops.

The ANZACS initially went to Egypt to train. From there they were deployed in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign as part of a larger allied force.
After nine long months of bloody conflict the campaign failed and the Allied Troops were evacuated. During those nine months 28,150 Diggers (the Oz word for soldier) became casualties with a total of 8,709 killed. The Kiwis had 7,473 casualties with 2,721 killed.

For the people from Downunder these numbers killed and wounded were simply staggering. Remember during WWI Oz only had a population 4.5 million and NZ a population of 1.1 million.

By the time the war dragged to an end in 1918 over 330,000 Aussie recruits had served overseas, all volunteers.
The casualty rates for Australian soldiers in WWI were horrendous as the Diggers were often used as "shock troops", 67% of Aussies serving overseas during WWI became casualties.

Australian society, like so many others, was traumatised by the carnage.
Every Aussie town, city and state has a war memorial of some kind.

So every April on the 25th, both here and in New Zealand, Anzac day is held to commemorate those who served and those who were lost in every war Oz has fought.

The day begins with the Dawn Service.

Then the traditional ANZAC Day Parade begins.

The parade is led by The Police Pipe Band.Behind which is the Parade Marshal in a WWII vintage Jeep.He was so excited about waving at the crowd he nearly fell out of the Jeep several times.Then an Australian Light Horseman.He is followed by a stream of cars carrying veterans who are too unsteady to march any longer.

Including Rolls Royces newand old
Cars old and quaint.Then current naval personnelVeterans in an old troop carrierOr under their own steamOr with some assistance from familyA proud officer leading her troops,And in the ranks both men and women, something that would never have happened 95 years ago.A day for patriotism,For wearing kilts, lest we forget the highland roots of some,A day for smiles,For laughter,And for reflectionFor passing a word of advice to the young.

12 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Hi

Thanks for the wonderful pics of these brave soldiers old and new.

May those who have fallen and survived be always remembered.

take care
x

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely post! I got a little teary. It's so important to recognize and appreciate these brave people. Awesome photos as usual - each one tells a story.

Michele Emrath said...

I knew nothing of this. I learn so much from you! And the patriotism shown here is moving.

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

notesfromnadir said...

Always great to read and see history. Really enjoyed the pictures--they captured so much. Excellent work!

Jaydee Morgan said...

That was a nice history lesson for me - and the pictures brought it home. Awesome post!

Kristen M. said...

It's fascinating to me how the faces can show pride and sadness at the same time. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

Indeed, lest we forget.

Wonderful post, for a very worthy topic.

Christine said...

A very moving post. Thank you for sharing this.

Ann said...

A great memoriam to those troops past and present.

Al said...

Hi Kitty,
Thank you.
Take care.

Hi Jemi,
Thank you.
You are absolutely right it is important to recognise the loss and the suffering of our veterans.

Hi Michele,
ANZAC is of course immensely important Downunder, but it is a sideshow in world history. I’m only too happy to share.

Hi Lisa,
Thank you! I am only too pleased you enjoyed my post.

Hi Jaydee,
Thank you. I am always happy when someone calls one of my posts “awesome”.

Hi Kristen,
It is fascinating how much people can express without a word. I am pleased you enjoyed my effort.

Hi Wendy,
Thank you. Lest we forget, such powerful words.

Hi Christine,
I am pleased you liked it! You are welcome!

Hi Ann,
Thanks for dropping by. Pleased you liked the it.

Lisa said...

Lovely tribute. My son just watched the movie "Gallipoli" while he was spending time with my parents and was stunned by it. He just kept saying "I never knew about that."

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
Thank you! A great movie, The sheer madness of the fighting in WWI is wonderfully captured in a very human way.