ANZAC Day - 25th April (1915) - ☼ Lest We Forget! ☼

ANZAC Day is here
We commemorate the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps on the beach at Gallipoli where thousands of our men fought impossible odds and succeeded. Then 7 months later took a stand against the commanding British and gave it all up perfectly! We may not have won the ground but we secured the world’s respect!

A legend was born and our National Character formed.

We have 2 days where we think of those who gave up their life for us to be free!
ANZAC Day 25th April (1915) – for our service in WW1
(Some think it should be our Independence Day!)
Remembrance Day 11/11 (1918) – for the armistice which ended this GREAT War.

These two dates also encompass commemorating the services of personnel in the subsequent wars – World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, Falklands, Gulf and still the unrest in East Timor and the Middle East. For the GREAT WAR was supposed to be the war to end all wars, sadly it was the war to unleash further world wars.

There was talk of changing ANZAC Day into our national day as it was the first time we as a nation became our own people! Everyone old enough and healthy enough fought – white and aboriginal! The death toll from this war almost wiped our nation out! As it took all our “breeding” men and killed a third of them!
In 1914 Australia’s population was
4.5 million
- 2.5 million were male

Of these males
- a third were children (about .75m)
- a third were old (.75m)
= 1 million men – eligible for breeding, work production and fighting

Of these males
- 300,000 Australian men went to war
- 61,928 men died (1.68% of the population)
Of the 238,072 who came back
- 152,171 men were wounded (more than half)
- 85,901 men returned whole

There were women who went to nurse (in those days women only nursed) and of them there were wounded and casualties but numbers have not been accurately kept as many women went of their own accord and paid their own way

300,000 fit and healthy young men went (age averaged 19yo)
85,901 returned whole in body …. but all suffered mentally.

Of the 700,000 men who remained to work the country many were discriminated against by the female population but many of these men (up to half) were unfit for battle and many were kept to work in support of those fighting.

Every Family had serving members and Death touched each family and every street!
Our Country Towns started planting “Avenues of Honour” Rows of elm trees to represent the rows of men who would not return. One tree per man!
These Avenues are still visible almost 100 years on!

On the 25th of April 1915 we stepped onto Turkish soil and 7 months later after stagnant fighting gaining no firther ground than the first assault, we decided to ignore the British Command and retreat from Gallipoli
- we achieved it in one night without a single life lost!

There were no records of “who” each soldier actually was, just company numbers. We were literally cannon fodder, a decoy for the Brits to land safely several miles further up the point!

Banjo Paterson [1864-1961] wrote of the ANZAC Legend that was born on Turkish Soil and United us as a nation better than any other event!
“We’re All Australians Now”, which includes the verse:

“The mettle that a race can show
Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
And feel what nations feel”

The ANZAC spirit was particularly popularised by Charles Bean [1879-1968], Australia’s official war historian. Bean encapsulated the meaning of ANZAC in his publication “ANZAC to Amiens”

“ANZAC stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat”

The Anzacs are said to have shown to a man on the battle field qualities that cluster around several ideas, including endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism, and mateship. According to this concept, the soldiers are perceived to have been innocent and fit, stoical and laconic, irreverent in the face of authority, naturally egalitarian and disdainful of British class differences.

Yep that pretty much sums us up
We’re True Blue Fair Dinkum Aussies! ☼Ü☼

ANZAC Day - 25th April (1915) - ☼ Lest We Forget! ☼

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Frankston, Australia

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Lest We Forget by Michael Critchley

Credits:
ANZAC
- Wikepedia
- ANZAC Site
- WW1 Statistics
Banjo Patterson [1864 – 1941]
Charles Bean [1879-1968]

information also from my own education – Australian Studies Deakin University 2002

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