ANZAC DAY - APRIL 25 - Page 3

April 1st, 2005  
Young Winston
Originally Posted by Kilgore
Yeah it was a significant battle, but a waste of good soldiers. Fighting an uphill battle was a turkeyshoot for turks. It showed that the brits did not care about dead colonials at all.
The Brits lost about 20,000 dead.

I am reading Gallipoli by Les Carlyon at the moment. It's the best book I have read about the Dardanelles campaign.

It's a must read for all those interested in what Anzac Day is all about.
April 8th, 2005  
Just over 50 metres tall, New Zealand's only carillon is one of the largest in the world.
Actually there is another one in New Plymouth on Marsland hill, its not very large but it does function or at least it still did in 2003.

Shooting at Pukekura park posted on: October 16, 2003

Cruise arrived at the park's cricket ground by helicopter, with the film's other big names.
When action was called, loud gunfire sounded around the park, with Cruise being heard saying, "go on, shoot me".
Just then, as filming was in full-swing, the carillon on Marsland Hill chimed out its two o'clock tune, which promptly stopped the filming, but had Cruise and the rest of the cast and crew chuckling with amusement.
April 9th, 2005  
Well guys for anyone watching the Sydney march on ABC, keep an eye out for the guys and me from my SQN.
We'll be marching with the Pathfinder association and then whooping it up with htem after the parade.
Those guys should have some amazing storys to tell. Over a few beers of course!!!.
April 10th, 2005  
Originally Posted by aussiejohn
Originally Posted by Kilgore
Yeah it was a significant battle, but a waste of good soldiers. Fighting an uphill battle was a turkeyshoot for turks. It showed that the brits did not care about dead colonials at all.
The Brits lost about 20,000 dead.
There were 6 divisions from Britain at Gallipoli, compared to 1.5 Anzac divisions, and the casualties suffered by the British divisions were on a par by percentage with the Anzac forces.
April 13th, 2005  
Lord Londonderry
Originally Posted by redcoat
Originally Posted by aussiejohn
Originally Posted by Kilgore
Yeah it was a significant battle, but a waste of good soldiers. Fighting an uphill battle was a turkeyshoot for turks. It showed that the brits did not care about dead colonials at all.
The Brits lost about 20,000 dead.
There were 6 divisions from Britain at Gallipoli, compared to 1.5 Anzac divisions, and the casualties suffered by the British divisions were on a par by percentage with the Anzac forces.
Yes redcoat, the losses at Cape Helles and Suvla Bay were horrendous.

Terrible leadership.

I agree with aussiejohn. Les Carlyon's book on Gallipoli is a tremendous read.
April 17th, 2005  
My grandpa -- a Newfoundlander -- was at Gallipoli. (At the Somme, too. Survived both. The horseshoe finally fell out of his tukhes in Belgium.)

On 25 April, I'm going to lift a Foster's for the ANZACs and a Screech for the Royal Newfs.
April 18th, 2005  
The Great Anzac Myth

By Ryan Brown-Haysom

Next Monday, New Zealanders all over the country will gather to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the landing of the Anzac forces at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Right from the beginning, our understanding of Anzac Day has been clouded by the Anzac myth; a romantic and patriotic legend that obscures both the historical facts and the true nature of the battle. Moreover, the meaning and purpose of Anzac Day has been contested among various groups for as long as it has been commemorated. Now, as more young people are attending Anzac services in this country, there seems to be less discussion about what this day really means. Critic asks why the debate about Anzac Day has died down, and if it might not again be time to evaluate the significance of our commemorative day.

The Fog of War

When news of the Anzac landings reached New Zealand in the last days of April 1915, the government immediately declared a half-holiday. Flags were flown at half-mast, and church services and patriotic meetings were held throughout both New Zealand and Australia. But the first information to emerge from the front was unreliable. Many newspapers ran with a British War Office announcement that claimed the Allies were advancing steadily up the Gallipoli peninsula; that 8000 Turkish troops had surrendered; that the Turks were on the retreat and burning their villages. It was an English war correspondent called Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, a writer for London’s Daily Telegraph, who first articulated the Anzac myth. Ashmead-Bartlett was sometimes careless with his facts, and he was subject to the stringencies of wartime censorship. Consequently, his reports of the Anzac landings in the British and Australasian press made the whole enterprise sound rather like a Boy’s Own adventure-story. Ashmead-Bartlett ignored the fact that the Anzacs were clinging to a mere 400 acres of ground, and that the Turks had forced the Allies onto the defensive. Instead, he praised the courage and loyalty of the Anzacs, while his attempts to question the wisdom of the orders they received were censored by the War Office.

Ashmead-Bartlett’s reports caused a sensation. The national pride of Australians and New Zealanders was roused by his heroics. Enlistment reached an all-time high in July and August of 1915, as young men lined up for recruiting centres in both countries. In June 1915, the newspapers reported that the Allied death toll at Gallipoli was a mere 688. In fact, it was already more than 2000, with another 6000 seriously injured. Nevertheless, newspapers quoted the Allied commander-in-chief, Sir Ian Hamilton, as saying that “good progress” was being made. Arguably, this was where the Anzac legend began: in the public imagination while the battle for the Dardanelles was still being fought. And, when the Allies were forced to retreat, the whole affair assumed the dimensions of a tragedy. Like Ashmead-Bartlett, many of the war correspondents at Gallipoli were classically-educated Englishmen who came to see an heroic battle fought near the site of ancient Troy. In August 1915, Ashmead-Bartlett wrote as though summing up a cricket match:

“The Anzac corps fought like lions and accomplished a feat of arms in climbing these heights almost without a parallel. [….] When all the details of these complicated arrangements are collected and sifted, they will form one of the most fascinating pages of the history of the whole war. It was a combat of giants in a giant country, and if one point stands out more than another it is the marvelous hardihood, tenacity, and reckless courage shown by the Australians and New Zealanders”.

It was the Australian war correspondent and historian, Charles Bean, who popularised the use of the word ‘Anzac’(which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). In his history of the Australian contribution to the Great War, Bean wrote: “Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat.” Bean’s idealised view of the Gallipoli campaign was expressed not only in newspaper reports, but also in his books, which subsequently sold hundreds of thousands of copies in Australia. In promoting this view of the war, Bean enjoyed the support of newspaper magnate Keith Murdoch (the father of Rupert Murdoch), who had close links with British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George. The real facts of the Gallipoli Campaign took much longer to filter back to the antipodes, and by the time the true death toll was known, and the scale of the defeat apparent, the Anzac myth was already firmly ensconced in our national consciousness.

The Glorious Dead

On 5 April 1916, in response to growing public pressure and a civic delegation, the New Zealand government gazetted a half-day public holiday to commemorate the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Its motives were perhaps mixed: the Anzac myth was already proving a potent means of promoting the war effort, and with conscription imminent, the day provided a useful focus for patriotic speeches calling on young men to enlist. A struggle for control over the day developed between the government and returned servicemen, who made it quite clear that they didn’t “want to go to a meeting to hear people who haven’t been [to war] spout and pass resolutions”. The returned soldiers preferred a public service conducted by an army chaplain, which would prevent the soldiers being split up into twenty or thirty different churches on the morning of Anzac Day. In the event, a compromise was reached, with processions of returned and serving service personnel followed by church services and public recruiting meetings at town halls. The commemorations were well-attended, with a reported 2000 present at the Anzac Day service in Rotorua alone.

Professor Tom Brooking of Otago University’s History Department teaches a third-year paper on the place of Gallipoli in New Zealand’s collective memory. He says Anzac Day has been claimed by returned servicemen from its beginning. In particular, the soldiers attempted to control the place of religion in the Anzac Day services. “In both Australia and New Zealand the soldiers basically tried to organise it themselves so they got together a ceremony that was martial but quasi-Christian and sort of quasi-pagan as well. That was partly deliberate because sometimes one of the most unpopular human beings in the First World War became the padre, because they were seen as hypocrites and that all they were doing was burying your mates. The soldiers were ambiguous at best about padres and about mainstream Christianity, whatever their personal beliefs. So they wanted a ceremony that they felt they owned and that they shaped and that they controlled, and [Anzac Day]’s still a bit like that”. Religion also became a source of division in the first Anzac Day services when Catholic and Jewish clerics declined to participate in ecumenical services. These divisions were not resolved until 1965.

Three days after the celebration of the first Anzac Day, the New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association (as it was then, later the Returned Servicemen’s Association) was founded in Wellington. During the remaining years of the war, the RSA represented the interests of soldiers, lobbying the government to prevent the word ‘Anzac’ being used for commercial purposes, and attempting to prevent the sale of liquor on April 25. From 1917, local branches of the RSA began to move to control public observance of the date. When the government proved slow to legislate to make Anzac Day an official holiday, the RSA insisted on the need for a day to specifically commemorate New Zealand’s contribution to the war. “ANZAC Day is a New Zealand Day”, wrote the RSA publication Quick March, “a National Day”. Nevertheless, it was not until 1920 that Anzac Day was made, by law, a statutory holiday and a day of national mourning. The solemn nature of the holiday provided returned servicemen and the families of the war-dead with an opportunity to remember the victims of the Great War.

Tom Brooking says the Anzac Day holiday emerged out of a collective sense of national trauma and grief. “You have 60,000 young Australians and something like 17,000 young New Zealanders who are killed, and the great bulk of them are buried over there. The Americans, in contrast, managed to bring back about 60% of their bodies from the Western Front, but the Australians and New Zealanders are scattered all over the place: in Gallipoli, in Palestine, and Syria, those sorts of places, and of course across France and Belgium. So there was this huge hole in people’s lives, and [they had two ways of] trying to cope with it: one was to build lots of strange memorials and erect lists of names all over the place, in schools and churches as well as in public spaces, [and the other] was to have some kind of ritualistic ceremonial day. And that’s what Anzac’s about. It’s trying to meet a huge need, because there was a massive sense of bereavement ... But of course, none of them quite filled the void, and that’s why there’s such a sense of so much strangeness and spookiness about the whole thing”.

The Battle for Anzac Day

From the1930s, links increasingly came to be made between the “spirit of Anzac” and current world events, with Anzac Day commemorations taking on a more pressing contemporary relevance during the Second World War. Attendance at Anzac Day services reached a peak in the 1950s, with 6000 attending the Auckland dawn service in 1957. Anzac Day had become not merely a day to mourn the losses of the First World War, but a day to commemorate all war, including New Zealand’s involvement in Korea and Vietnam. During the 1960s, Anzac Day became a regular target for anti-war protest, and in 1967 two members of Christchurch’s Progressive Youth Movement were convicted of disorderly conduct after laying a wreath protesting the Vietnam War. This protest marked a shift towards seeing Anzac Day in terms of the relationship between war and society. It also saw a growing politicisation of Anzac Day. In 1978, a women’s group placed a wreath commemorating women killed and raped in war. During the 1980s, feminists, gays and lesbians, peace activists, anti-nuclear activists, Maori separatists, and other interest groups all laid wreaths at Anzac Day services. Professor Brooking remembers the days when it seemed that Anzac Day was on the verge of obsolescence. “People of my generation were quite hostile towards it, and indeed Anzac Day almost died, really. It was getting very peripheral, marginal with the whole anti-Vietnam War movement in the late 60s and early 70s. It became something almost of a pariah to my generation”.

But in the last twenty years, this kind of ardent struggle for Anzac Day seems to have all but disappeared. Numbers of young people attending Anzac Day services have increased markedly, but there seems to be less interest in debate over what exactly it is that this holiday means to us. This is all the more interesting because the way in which Anzac Day is celebrated in this country has changed relatively little in the last forty years or so. The traditional ‘dawn service’ dates back as far as 1938, while the presence of members of the armed forces at a monument or cenotaph goes back to the early 1920s. Anzac day remains fairly secular, as it was originally, although various denominations often have their own services. Why is it, then, that our national day of commemoration suddenly seems to be so uncontested? Is it that we have arrived at a universally agreeable way of commemorating war?

At this year’s Waitangi Day celebrations, Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright observed that: “Not long ago, Anzac Day was a time of conflict between the peace movement and mainstream New Zealand. Now, the two viewpoints have converged. The day is one of sharing, of remembering our fallen heroes with pride and with sorrow at their sacrifice”. Although this sounds conciliatory, Cartwright’s emphasis on heroism suggests some of the more problematic issues surrounding the commemoration of war. TV One’s coverage of Anzac Day last year (“It was an act of ultimate sacrifice on a windswept peninsula a long way from home …”) suggests a greater willingness to swallow the familiar aspects of the Anzac myth than to challenge its implications. Are soldiers the heroes of war, or its victims? Should we focus on individual acts of courage, or on the military and diplomatic blunders that lead nations into war in the first place? And how much does Anzac Day really teach young people about the realities of war? Is it right to ‘celebrate’ Anzac Day, or should it remain a day of mourning? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, but I think they are at least worth asking.

Tom Brooking does not think that the increased representation of young people at Anzac Day services is a sinister trend. “I think it’s as much the pursuit of roots and heritage as anything chauvinistic or jingoistic, and I think it’s a recognition from movies and television that these guys did something special … Maybe it’s making the younger generation realise that they have been a bit lucky that they haven’t known war, and perhaps they’re going, in their own quiet way, to say thanks. I don’t think there’s anything too bolshy or chauvinistic about it”. Not all would agree. “Even though we’re honouring the dead, I am suspicious of this glorification of war”, Australian historian Pauline Kurby told the BBC at Sydney’s Anzac Day parade in 2002. Such responses tend to be muted in New Zealand, where the more stridently nationalistic aspects of Anzac Day are generally downplayed. In Australia, Anzac Day has a more longstanding association with patriotism. Serious reflection on the nature of Anzac Day was prompted in Australia last year when Prime Minister John Howard used the holiday as an opportunity to pay an unexpected visit to Australian troops serving in Iraq. The implied association between the ‘Anzac spirit’ and Howard’s unpopular support for American’s war was too close for many Australians.

One of the most prevalent myths that seems to be uttered on and around Anzac Day is that New Zealand’s national identity was forged at Chunuk Bair. Prime Minister Jim Bolger went so far in 1996 as to suggest that Anzac Day should replace Waitangi Day as New Zealand’s national holiday. Professor Brooking is sceptical of claims that New Zealand’s national identity was founded on the slopes of Gallipoli. “Possibly it’s true for Australia, but I don’t think so for New Zealand. It takes a lot longer for New Zealand’s national identity to emerge”. Nevertheless, the Anzac myth is still a potent aspect of our collective consciousness, as the renaissance of Anzac Day in the last fifteen years evidences. For this reason, if for no other, it is worth continuing to ask who it is that owns the Anzac myth now, and whether we can still wholly endorse that myth ninety years on
April 18th, 2005  
i got my anzac badge today
click "Badges and Medallion" - the one i got is the slouch hat badge

so if you see someone sitting in a shopping center in uniform or with a row of ribbons on his jacket, go chat to him and buy a badge, they fought to help make us what we are today, buying a badge to support them is the least we can do
April 19th, 2005  
Don't just support them once a year. Become active at your local RSL club. Stop there for a beer once in a while, have a chat with the old Diggers, and put some money over the counter. That helps them more than you'd believe.
April 20th, 2005  
I would have a beer with the old fella's, but the only thing stopping me is the local Copper.

Oh well, One more year than I will. Hopefully by then I'll be in the Reserves as well.