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Thread: Lest we forget.

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    Lest we forget.

    The Anzac Legend

    Australia fed 331,781 young men into the World War I mincer of France, Belgium, Gallipoli and the Middle East. Almost 60,000 never came home. Of those who did, 213,000 returned wounded, either in body or mind. Another 85,000 Australians enlisted but did not serve overseas. In a nation of just 4 million, 416,809 of its men - all volunteers - were in uniform at some time during the years 1914-18.

    Shameful history of a desecration, SMH, 16 April 2005

    The Historial's mobilisation figure for Australia is 413,000, although 313,814 embarked. It rounds off the [WW1] dead to 60,000, for a percentage of 14.5. Australia's estimated population in 1914 was 4.97 million. Extrapolated to today's population, the nation would lose 240,000 citizens.

    Blood, guts and the stuff of legend, SMH, 24 June 2005

    The British troops were suffering from 'an atrophy of mind and body that is appalling... The physique of those at Suvla is not to be compared with the Australians. Nor, indeed, is their intelligence... They are merely a lot of childlike youths without strength to endure or brains to improve their condition... After the first day at Suvla an order had to be issued to officers to shoot without mercy any soldiers who lagged behind or loitered in an advance... [By contrast] It is stirring to see them [the Australians].. they have the noble faces of men who have endured. Oh, if you could picture Anzac as I have seen it, you would find that to be an Australian is the greatest privilege the world has to offer'

    Phillip Knightley quoting Keith Murdoch, father of Rupert, who wrote from Gallipoli in 1915. Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

    It is a story of great valour under fire, unity of purpose and a willingness to fight against the odds that has helped to define what it means to be an Australian

    Prime Minister John Howard, on the death of the last Anzac, Alec Cambell, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2002

    "Gallipoli was a bastard of a place," he said. "I never understood what we were fighting for. All I could think of was that I never wanted to go back to the bloody place."

    Albert White, aged 100, Brisbane, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2002

    Government Enterprises Minister, Dr Armitage, said the State Government had no intention of expanding trading hours, particularly to days of religious significance. "There are certain sacrosanct days that should not be contemplated for shopping ... and I believe that includes opening early on Anzac Day," Dr Armitage said.

    Anzac Shop War, Sunday Mail, 9 January 2000

    We do not glorify war on Anzac Day. Far from it. We remember the dreadful loss of lives in the many gallant battles fought by those brave young men who stepped forward when called upon to serve their country. Nor are we agressive, but we believe in showing the future enemy that we are so determined to defend our shores that he should think twice before taking on the Sons of Anzac!

    Sir Colin Hines, President, R.S.L. (NSW) 1977

    Australian soldiers have always achieved successed out of all proportion to their numbers. It is just that these great victories were overlooked at the time and then later obscured by military historians.

    Peter Firkins, The Australians in Nine Wars: Waikato to Long Tan.

    At pubs across the country, war veterans are proving Anzac Day is not just about ceremony. Sharing memories with mates over a schooner or two is just as important to those who fought for our country.

    Memories over a schooner, Sydney Morning Herald, Anzac Day 2002

    Today is about compassion, about endurance against overwhelming odds, about mateship, it is about a 'fair go' - these are the values that were lived by our Anzacs and our Aussie boys on the Western Front and at Gallipoli

    NSW Veterans Affairs Minister Danna Vale, Sydney Morning Herald, Anzac Day 2002

    The Australian soldier of legend was enterprising and independent, loyal, bold, egalitarian, cheerfully undisciplined and contemptuous of the class of British officers.

    Blood, guts and the stuff of legend, SMH, 24 June 2005

    The West Australians assumed that death was certain, and each in the secret places of his mind debated how he would go to it. Mate, having said goodbye to mate ... went forward to meet death instantly, running as straight and swiftly as they could at the Turkish rifles. With that regiment went the flower of the youth of Western Australia ...

    War Historian C. Bean who was stationed at Gallipoli during WW1

    It was the birth of a nation, and one can only hope that this thought provided some comfort to the parents of the Anzac whose very Australian headstone stands where the first landing took place. It reads:

    Died aged 18 near this spot
    April 25, 1915
    Did his best.


    Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

    Without naming Japan, Mr Howard said 20,000 Australians were captured in the space of a few weeks in 1942 - a reference to the sweep through South-East Asia by Japanese forces that culminated in the fall of Singapore in February of that year. The Australians "passed into captivity only to endure years of forced labour, starvation and brutality at the hands of a cruel enemy. Our prisoners of war came face to face with barbarity of a kind that younger generations can scarcely imagine. It was Australian soldiers on Papua (New Guinea) who checked and turned back a Japanese army that till then had known only victory. Australia, which had a population of just seven million in 1939, had "put a million men and women in uniform", Mr Howard said.

    PM remembers 'cruel enemy', SMH, 15 August 2005

    Former PoW Cyril Gilbert, secretary of the Ex-Prisoners Of War Association of Australia, condemned the Government's decision. "I would rather [the Japanese] get bloody shot, the lot of them. I wouldn't go and safeguard those Japanese murderers for all the rice in China," he said. "During World War II they murdered our chaps. They put them in huts and they set fire to the huts and those who couldn't get out were burnt alive and those that did get out were just shot and emptied into mass graves."

    Are we now ready to forgive the Japanese, Daily Telegraph, 24 Feb 2005

    You the mothers, who sent your sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace ...

    Mustafa Ataturk, 1934

    Mr Casserly, who transported troops and ammunition at Ypres, Armentieres and Amiens, can never shake the memory of carting young soldiers off to certain death. "They had no idea of how terrible it was," he said. "I used to look at their young faces and think of their mothers. "Next day most of them would just be blood and bandages. "Wherever you looked there would be these poor buggers on the side of the road, all wanting cigarettes, all busted up, some with arms and legs gone."

    Last WWI digger dies, aged 107, SMH 24 June 2005

    The Unknown Australian Soldier we inter today was one of those who by his deeds proved that real nobility and grandeur belongs not to empires and nations but to the people on whom they, in the last resort, always depend. That is surely at the heart of the Anzac story, the Australian legend which emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military victories so much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity. It is a legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.

    Funeral Service Of The Unknown Australian Soldier, Prime Minister Keating, November 11, 1993

    Many surviving diggers are concerned families could eventually take over the occasion. Rats of Tobruk Association president Joe Madeley said it destroyed the meaning of Anzac to have children and non-veterans marching in the column. And Terry McGuire, 82, secretary of the 26th Infantry Brigade Association, slammed the "carnival atmosphere" growing during Anzac Day marches. "It is a dignified march in memory of the fallen and I feel it is disrespectful to have kids running around cheering," he said. Norm Stockdale, secretary of the 39th Battalion Association, said too many families joining in would change the nature of the event. "We restrict it to one family member per veteran but it is in danger of becoming an American style celebratory parade," he said. He said: "Anzac Day is a solemn occasion. Anzac is all about those who went to war and came back. We march to honour those who didn't come back. "Many youngsters who join the parade just want to get on TV and wave and carry on."

    Marching against the tide, Sydney Morning Herald, April 9 2006

    Earlier, his voice had choked on the telephone as he remembered the war. ''I get very emotional when I think of my mates. There is not one of my close mates I enlisted with alive today. The Japanese were not human. Animals would not do what they did.'

    POW chief a prisoner of his own lies, Sydney Morning Herald, October 3 2009

    A digger is an Australian solider, typically from WWI and WW2. They are revered, and, in many ways, epitomise the real Australian culture that is perhaps dying with them. This reverence, very much alive in our children, is the closest thing most Australians have to a religion. We don't believe in God, but we respect our diggers like Gods. And with good reason.

    Although not well known around the world (many would not even know Australia was involved), those diggers have given more than their fair share during both World Wars - especially as they had to travel half the world to give it, and they gave it for people who would be unlikely to return the favour. The truth is that Australia has the highest casualty rate in the world, during WW1. That's right. In the world. And all of our boys were volunteers. We volunteered to be slaughtered at a higher rate than any other: 70%, 70%! of our boys were either wounded, killed or lost. Every family was affected, from every town, and that can be seen in memorials all over the country. Someone died from every second family. Think about that.

    In all, 100,000 Aussies were killed in wars during the 20th Century. 100,000 dinkum Aussies, who were more Australian than the current generation can imagine.

    The following is a poem in their honour.

    Diggers Lament

    It was with great sadness, that we saw
    a dusty old digger, turned from the door
    for a century he and his mates had drunk
    and laughed and cried, and lived through war

    But now it seems, he is not the right class
    No suit, no tie, no belt of brass
    To him it was all a tragic mystery
    Who were these Australians, who had forgotten their own history?

    Somewhat in shock, we skulled our beers
    and rushed to join, our aging peer
    hey cobber, we yelled, knowing his tounge
    he turned and stared, eyeing us one by one

    We built this bloody country, said he
    with our bloody hands
    we spilt our blood, we gave our youth
    and this is the thanks we have

    In our day the pub was for one and all
    a place for laugh and cheer
    at the very least, an honest bloke
    could find an honest beer

    Now noone wants to know us
    they throw us on the street
    sometimes I wonder why we bothered
    getting butchered, like raw meat

    the fair dinkums we were known as
    as we fought the war of hate
    but most of all, we aussie blokes
    fought for one another - as good mates

    Now I look around at Sydney
    Well, it just ain't the same
    the crowds - they aren't my people
    what they are is just a shame

    they shove, they push, they toot their horns
    they speak american if you're lucky
    the dinkum aussies, my cobbers and I
    we're disappearing in a hurry

    there's no shouting, mateship or blokeyness
    and 'bloody oath' is considered crude
    they think they are all winners
    I just think they're bloody rude

    they carry on, throughout their lives
    chasing the almighty zac
    but they know no joy, they have no mates
    they'll die alone - for moneys sake

    and what's worse, he sighed, is not here and now
    but where we're going to be
    and I ask myself, as I slowly die
    what happened to my country.


    David Downie, 2000

    http://www.australianbeers.com/culture/anzac.htm

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  2. #2
    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    This is the full quote. I originally heard about it from a Turkish friend of mine about 8 years ago, it is attributed to Ataturk. He was was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and founder of the Republic of Turkey as well as its first President.

    "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

    —Atatürk 1934

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    Last edited by .X.; 25-04-10 at 19:04. Reason: Sorry - missed seeing Burgs had already included it.

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    Senior Player Contributor Cowboy's Avatar
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    Being picky here, but Canada had a worse casualty rate than ours, we came second to them.

    However I myself find it hard to imagine a generation killed and maimed like we suffered then. May they live forever in our memory.

    ---------- Post added at 19:14 ---------- Previous post was at 19:06 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    The Anzac Legend
    PM remembers 'cruel enemy', SMH, 15 August 2005

    Former PoW Cyril Gilbert, secretary of the Ex-Prisoners Of War Association of Australia, condemned the Government's decision. "I would rather [the Japanese] get bloody shot, the lot of them. I wouldn't go and safeguard those Japanese murderers for all the rice in China," he said. "During World War II they murdered our chaps. They put them in huts and they set fire to the huts and those who couldn't get out were burnt alive and those that did get out were just shot and emptied into mass graves."

    Are we now ready to forgive the Japanese, Daily Telegraph, 24 Feb 2005


    Earlier, his voice had choked on the telephone as he remembered the war. ''I get very emotional when I think of my mates. There is not one of my close mates I enlisted with alive today. The Japanese were not human. Animals would not do what they did.'

    POW chief a prisoner of his own lies, Sydney Morning Herald, October 3 2009

    [/url]
    Is the Sydney Morning Herald trying to whitewash history and suggest that the Japanese were not a bunch of inhumane bastards. Unbelievable.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    The original article is here: http://www.smh.com.au/national/pow-c...1002-ggid.html

    The above quote and headlilne are a bit out of sync with what the actual article was about

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    The two articles are nearly four years apart too, I don't think it is any grand denyist plan

    Many surviving diggers are concerned families could eventually take over the occasion. Rats of Tobruk Association president Joe Madeley said it destroyed the meaning of Anzac to have children and non-veterans marching in the column. And Terry McGuire, 82, secretary of the 26th Infantry Brigade Association, slammed the "carnival atmosphere" growing during Anzac Day marches. "It is a dignified march in memory of the fallen and I feel it is disrespectful to have kids running around cheering," he said. Norm Stockdale, secretary of the 39th Battalion Association, said too many families joining in would change the nature of the event. "We restrict it to one family member per veteran but it is in danger of becoming an American style celebratory parade," he said. He said: "Anzac Day is a solemn occasion. Anzac is all about those who went to war and came back. We march to honour those who didn't come back. "Many youngsters who join the parade just want to get on TV and wave and carry on."

    Marching against the tide, Sydney Morning Herald, April 9 2006

    This one does concern me too.
    Scotch always has the Pipe Band playing an as such I have been in a couple of parades in an official capacity (rather than a remembrance capacity).
    Back then (18 & 19 years ago) there was a percentage of relatives representing their forebears but almost always in formal attire with medals on the right and correct side. Now days you see people in t-shirts who look like they have interrupted a day at the beach to come along as an afterthought.
    Personally I would like to see each WA group marching bolstered by uniformed cadets, with the old timers making up the outside of the formation to represent "age shall not weary them, or the years condemn" to really get a concept of the numbers who fell.
    It is not Mardi Gras, it is a solemn ceremony that in the resurgent rush of patriotic youth to embrace it may be losing its significance.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Age shall not weary them, but boy it makes a few of them grumpy old bastards!

    Allowing "kids running around cheering" is what my father, grandfathers and great grandfathers went to war for.

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    I think the key is time and place Boss

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Perhaps. I'd prefer kids running around cheering to dwindling somber crowds ...

    A suitable school curriculum should take care of the rest

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  9. #9
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    Perhaps Rememberance Day could go down that path as a compromise?
    To me, ANZAC Day is almost up there with Good Friday in terms of taking things seriously as a community.

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    Burgs...."quote..Back then (18 & 19 years ago) there was a percentage of relatives representing their forebears but almost always in formal attire with medals on the right and correct side. Now days you see people in t-shirts who look like they have interrupted a day at the beach to come along as an afterthought......unquote

    This has always been a contentious issue...I don't mind relatives marching with us personally...but a max of one per ex-serviceperson..AND suitably attired to show respect...otherwise they should be refused...AND as with our colomn (British Returned Service Personnel) have at least some idea how to march..!!! We take it seriously, so should the "add ons"..for want of a better term..!!!

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