Saturday, April 25, 2015

Musings on ANZAC Day

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings. I had a great uncle who went ashore that first day as a stretcher bearer.

His religious views did not allow him to take life, but he felt he must do his bit. William Drummond survived, repatriated to Australia to recover. This photo from September 1916 shows him convalescing.

Harry Gissing, a medic whose diaries have featured prominently in Australian press coverage, was (I think) a friend of Uncle Will's. I'm not sure; I'm working from distant memories.

Gallipoli and ANZAC Day have become very complicated.

Our blogging friend Noric Dilanchian has been campaigning for recognition of the Armenian genocide. The Gallipoli landing coincides with certain critical dates, providing a platform. for e a world wide campaign.

I remember when I first heard about this. It must have been in the 1970s. On the way back from Thredbo, Uncle Jim called in at Queanbeyan. He gave me a lecture on the topic. I'm still not sure why, but I learned a fair bit.

This  is a photo of Great Uncle Morris. He enlisted later and was killed in France in 1917.So of the three brother, two served, one died. My grandfather would have done too, but he was very deaf and as the younger brother someone needed to stay home to look after their sister.

I think that these things are best dealt with as personal experiences.

Last year, Anna and I visited the war memorial at Dangarsleigh near Armidale.  Later, there was a story on ABC New England North West on the memorial..I shared it on Facebook and received this comment from JCW.
We always found that memorial immesurably moving, especially because it was so unexpected. And from the latest unpleasantness in Afghanistan, there is yet another TAS boy on the honour board. I didn't teach him, but I knew him well. He is one of three. My darling friend and director Aarne Neeme lost his son in law, and the man who installed our security system lost his son. The One Day of the Year is an immesurably moving play. I am so grateful to have been part of Canberra Rep's amazing production of it. My elder son trained, but thank God, never had to go. Peter had 2 tours in East Timor, and they were some of the loneliest and scary days of my life.
I don't think JCW will mind me sharing that message.

I'm not going to any of the ANZAC day commemorations. It's too complicated. I am treating ANZAC Day as personal time.


On My New England Australia blog, I have brought up a few shots of ANZAC Day across inland New England: ANZAC Day 2015 across inland New England.


Anonymous said...

Neither did we. Took Hannah the Spaniel to Broulee to spend the weekend frolicking with her friend Monte the Labradoodle. There are many ways to remember the dead, and if all these people have died for our 'freedom', then I think the freedom to watch a couple of happy doggos run around the sand like looney tunes is right up there.

Jim Belshaw said...

Too right!

Rummuser said...

I recently saw The Water Diviner, an Australian movie with Russell Crowe based on a story about ANZAC. It is really a magnificent movie and if you have not seen it, please do.

Jim Belshaw said...

No, I haven't seen it yet, Ramana, although I had wanted too. The number of stars you gave it ranks it very highly indeed!