Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ANZAC Day wrap-up

In yesterday's post ANZAC Day, national identity & the power of images I mentioned the blog World War Two Day-By-Day and that at this time in World War II ANZ troops were engaged in the defence of Greece, while at Tobruk besieged Australian troops were playing a key role in holding Rommel out.

At the time, I didn't know that the first ANZAC day ceremony was being held in Athens to mark the Greek campaign, while there had also been plans to hold a ceremony in Tobruk before the Libyan troubles intervened.

In this post, I just want to round off the previous post to pick up a few of the ANZAC Day stories I saw in my travels.

A story in the New Zealand Sunday Star Times, the forgotten Anzacs by Rob O'Neil, provides a New Zealand perspective on one element of the Greek campaign.

I mentioned that an ANZAC Day ceremony would be held at Villers-Bretonneux in France. This photo of the ceremony is from the Australian.    

Wreath laying ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux

A number of bloggers provided family perspectives, such as Neil Whitfield's  Anzac Day scans. I wrote A New England family war story.

As has been the case for many years, the Gallipoli ANZAC Day ceremonies were attended by many young Australian. This photo from the Australian shows part of the crowd. Young Australians Gallipoli 2011

I mentioned the war memorials that dot Australian and New Zealand towns. I should have added countryside. A story by Jennifer Ingall on ABC New England North West, 16 dead, but who were they?, gives an insight at a purely local level.Grace Gordon Archibald with Frank Richard Archibald's medals.

One thing that I did not mention in the original ANZAC Day story is of Australia until quite recently to recognise the role played by its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Diggers.  The photo shows Grace Gordon Archibald with Frank Richard Archibald's WWII medals.

The contribution of the Archibald family is actually well recognised in Armidale. However, Michelle Hoctor's story in the Armidale Express, Family’s plea to put a brave man at rest, provides a human face to the story of one digger. 

In the previous post, I mentioned that the strange nature of ANZAC Day - celebration of a defeat on side, of a victory on the other - laid the basis for unexpectedly close relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia. In a tweet, tahir gürsoy wrote:

@phbarratt @JimBelshaw i wish to be there again my heroes and anzac soldiers sleeps together in my land, RIP all.

To finish this wrap-up with another photo from the Australian. This photo members of the Turkish Air Force acrobatic team perform over the Turkish Navy Warships sailing near Turkish Memorial at Gallipoli.

Turkish Stars Gallipoli


Tim wrote in a comment:

There are a group of Western Australian school students taking part in the the ANZAC commemorations in Greece and Crete. They won the Premier's 2011 ANZAC essay competition.

My congratulations. What a wonderful opportunity.  


Anonymous said...

Jim, thank you for two very interesting pieces. I've gotten much pleasure/sadness in reading both your and others' linked words.

I think I've attended many if not most of various quiet country Anzac Day ceremonies over the past 60 years - firstly as a baby, then fidgity youngster having to listen unthinkingly to my father drone on and on, in his role as military representative from various army bases he commanded. Perspective changes with age - don't I now understand!

My father never saw active service in the Second World War. He was in England on some sort of munitions research project when hostilities commenced, was ordered back to Australia, and spent the whole of the war in South Australia at the weapons research facility. This was always a source of embarrassment to him, over the years, despite the fact that his Army Service Record clearly shows his repeated requests for transfer to active war service.

There are lots of ways to serve, and lots of ways to celebrate whatever is meant by Anzac Day to us as individuals, but I continue to think he did his bit to the best of his ability, in the role he was given. I wish him peace and grant him honour for his service.


Jim Belshaw said...

You raise a very good point, KVD, one that has always made me a little uncomfortable about some aspects of ANZAC Day. My father was pretty much in the same position as yours, and the same issues came up.

For my part, remember that I registered as a conscientious objector on religious grounds during the Vietnam period.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jim - I was aware of your stance as you've mentioned it before.

But as I get older I find I'm much less inclined to throw simplistic stones at other people's houses. Just worried I may hit a truth that I am ignorant of.


Jim Belshaw said...

Some of us go that way, KVD, others go in the opposite direction!

Tim said...

There are a group of Western Australian school students taking part in the the ANZAC commemorations in Greece and Crete. They won the Premier's 2011 ANZAC essay competition.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you, Tim. I brought your comment up in the main post. Do you know where they are going to in Crete?