Thursday 25 April 2013

Australians Remember

Earlier today, with an almost full moon still beaming, thousands gathered in Brisbane's CBD for the Anzac Day dawn service (pictured).

The Australian prime minister attended the dawn service in Townsville, north Queensland.  Townsville, where the weather can reach 50 degrees or more, is Australia's Aldershot.

As well as paying respect to the fallen, a senior officer asked people to remember today's veterans.

"We not only honour those who have died to protect our way of life, but we also honour those were wounded physically and emotionally and those who have stayed at home to support personnel in operations.
"We honour those friends and family who continue to support personnel after they return."


Edward Spalton said...

I remember hearing an old Digger talking about the landing at Gallipoli which was largely accomplished by ships' boats.

Very much to the surprise of newspaper correspondents, these boats were commanded by young midshipmen, learning their trade as they had done since before Nelson's day. They could be as young as twelve.

The old soldier said that his boat hit some sort of a snag and the Major (as he put it) "stood up and started to shout the odds" only to receive a stern rebuke from the Midshipman "Sit down, Sir! I command here!"

The soldiers loved it and shouted "Good on yer, kid!"

I followed up the stories about the "war babies". There were questions in the House and the youngest were taken out of active service. The most interesting thing to me was that the mothers of these youngsters supported their sons' wishes to stay and take their chances with their shipmates.

Demetrius said...

One aspect of Gallipoli rarely mentioned is about the Turks. I suspect there was an unwritten assumption on the basis of the old Ottoman army that their fighting qualities were suspect. In fact like many others where the generalship was bad and the logistics worse they failed. But when properly trained and equipped it might be very different. Notably, in trenches on home territory and with staff work etc. then reformed on German advice. Also, with German rifles and machine guns it meant they could offer very stiff opposition from strong defensive positions. These were quite different from earlier times when an Ottoman Army was always in trouble in the field because of the logistics. Part of the tragedy was that many of the troops, notably the Anzacs had not had battle experience beforehand. They were used at Gallipoli because of the assumptions that the Turks would not offer much of a challenge.

Edward Spalton said...

Yes, and the Turks were also commanded by an outstanding young officer, later known as Kemal Ataturk.

Another little known fact is that the second last man to leave was a Major Clement Attlee, later Prime Minister, whose company's discipline was so exemplary that it was chosen for the rearguard. The last man was the general. They did some things properly in those days.

subrosa said...

Thank you for your contributions gentlemen. Another history lesson (although I knew about Attlee Edward).

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