Thursday, April 24, 2008


Tomorrow Friday 25 April is ANZAC day and we in Britain should appreciate the wonderful support Australians and New Zealanders gave the home country in two world wars many laying down their lives in conflicts thousands of miles from their home.
It is a memorable day for our family as I have just visited my 96 year mother-in-law whose father was drowned aged 34 in 1918 while serving as a petty officer in the Royal Australian Navy.
[From wikpedia]
The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.


Blogger Kerrie said...

We are just off to a local dawn service and here in Adelaide there has been an overnight youth vigil by 130 young people at the war memorial.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Kerrie.
It is nice to know that young people remember the bravery of previous generations.
Have a good day.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Hear, hear, Norm. When I grew up my sisters and I were always told these stories, of our brave allies and the sacrifices they made for us and for the lives we are able to live now, in liberty and peace.

My daughter recently visited the World War I battlefields on a school (eng lit) trip. They had to go to a ceremony as part of it, and an old Belgian gentleman struck up conversation with Cathy and her friends, about how grateful he and his neighbours were for the British actions in the war. Cathy was quite struck by it, I think that is the first time she's had a conversation with someone who was in active combat. (My father was slightly too young, joining the Navy in 1945, and Malcolm's father was in the Army but a prisoner of war of the Japanese; he never spoke of it or the war, preferring to forget it.)

I was very touched by the film Gallipoli when I saw it some years ago when it was made. You would know better than I about its historical accuracy, but I found it a very moving film.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine, I knew a few people who had a very hard war [a Dunkirk veteran who was a POW for 5 years and an officer who was among those who liberated Belsen] like Malcolm's father and they were very reluctant to discuss it.
Only under stress many years later did they reveal any of their war experiences.

I don't think we can comprehend the trauma that my parents' generation suffered. They were children in the Great War, my mother in law lost her father and my mother remembered her brother in uniform after being wounded, and then wearing black ribbons during the Armistice celebrations because he had been killed in late September 1918.
My father remembered Zeppelin raids and his father removing incendiaries from high buildings with him tied to him. He was a master glazier used to climbing up high and not worried by heights.
[I certainly did not inherit that ability.]
They and their brothers then had to fight in the Second World War or suffer bombs during the blitz and then just when they thought victory was in sight the V1 and V2 flying bombs at the end.

We have been so very lucky compared with them.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Location considered, my family was lucky in some ways. But I'll never forget that my mother nursed her great uncle through to his death, before I was born but I heard about it growing up, blaming the gases of WW1 for his demise. That was why, in the 90s, reading Faulks's Birdsong had great resonance for me. Following a part one where he pursued a love story, part two took you down into the tunnels that were excavated and just how much necks were on the line in what might be considered today, very primitive circumstances. We have previous generations to thank and to honour for the liberty we have today.

Sadly, "lest we forget" seems "we do forget". We've seen subsequent genocide in more than one country, but seem to do very little about it, if anything at all. The West and the Commonwealth has not lost its spine, I believe, but we have focused on economic reasons for intervention, rather than the integrity of human value and assistance for those targetted. Perhaps we have lost our spine?

It's great that Cathy had a trip and the education in school for awareness of this. Sadly, I don't think it's on every curriculum. I wish it was. We now have a society that needs to understand contemporary history more than ever, to understand how we got to where we are today and what we've overlooked in the process.

"Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers...", more here
but we never seem to learn from our history, do we? One thing's for sure: life is cyclical. What a shame!

9:17 AM  

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