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Interlude – Anzac Day

No Lone Wolf content.

For non-Australian / New Zealand readers, April 25 commemorates the 112th anniversary of the first major military action in which Australia took part since becoming an independent nation.

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Here’s the entry on Australian involvement in World War I.

A couple of statistics :

  • Over the course of World War I around 421,000 Australians served in the military, while Australia at the time had a total population of under 5,000,000.00.
  • Yes, that’s right.  ONE IN TWELVE OF THE ENTIRE AUSTRALIAN POPULATION SERVED IN THE MILITARY.
  • Two out of three of the Australians who served in the military were killed or wounded at some time during the campaign.
  • Of the 32,000 initial volunteers who enlisted immediately after the declaration of war, only 7,000 survived until the end of World War I.
  • The Gallipoli campaign, which started on 25 April 1915, was a dismal failure of planning in almost every respect.

 

Here’s some artistic reflections.

The finest scene in Gone With the Wind, when wiser heads attempt to point out the realities of war :

Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. And when the wars were over no one ever knew what they were about.”

Iron Maiden’s meditation on the agony of a soldier :

Weddings Parties Anything on those who didn’t travel to the war.

And this :

In Flanders Fields – John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

——————————————————————————————

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

German war cemetery, Neuville-St-Vaast, Pas-de-Calais
Copyright David Crossland

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13 thoughts on “Interlude – Anzac Day

      1. The Italians were rather maligned by both the British and the Germans during the war. The former to build up their troops confidence, the latter to claim all the credit for themselves. A lot of Italians were taken prisoner, but a lot of everyone were taken prisoner.

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      1. I’ve always also been under the impression that “Waltzing Matilda” is much more famous than “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.

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      2. Waltzing Matilda is one of the most universally known songs in Australia. “And the Band Played….” is certainly well-known, and I studied it at school, and have seen many references to it since. The latter, in fact, is so revered, that it is often miscredited as a ‘traditional’ song rather than to Eric Bogle.

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    1. The Irons have a great number of names regarding these follies. ‘Run to the Hills’ could easily apply to Australian indigenous people. ‘The Trooper’, is another great example.

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  1. Now I’m wondering what it says culturally that Australia has a holiday to mark their entry into the war while most allied countries have a holiday on 11/11 to mark the end of the war.

    Incidentally, going to the National World War I museum on what we Americans call Veterans Day is a really powerful experience, and my main takeaway was that we forget just how awful WWI was because WWI was even worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your article made me look up Military history of Australia on Wikipedia (font of knowledge, nonsense and propaganda, sometimes all at the same time) and despite niggles on other points it stated:

    “Throughout these conflicts Australian soldiers—known colloquially as Diggers—have often been noted, somewhat paradoxically, for both their fighting abilities and their humanitarian qualities”.

    Can’t really think of higher praise for a nations army than that.

    As for Galliope and other campaigns, Sandy Mitchell summed it up :
    “Military efficiency is a myth, the side that screws up second last wins.”

    Liked by 1 person

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