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Thread: Lest We Forget!

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    Lest We Forget!


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    Horror turns to joy with Armistice

    Rod Moran,
    The West Australian
    November 11, 2013, 6:18 am


    The scene in Perth, 95 years ago, on Monday, November 11, 1918, when news of the Armistice came through, was one of overwhelming joy. Four years of carnage that had so horrified the nation - with WA's 32,000 AIF volunteers suffering its proportion of killed, wounded and maimed on battlefields in New Guinea, Turkey, the Middle East and Western Europe - had finally come to an end.

    REMEMBRANCE DAY: Special 8-page tribute in The West Australian today

    In the city, large crowds gathered spontaneously, including in front of Newspaper House in St Georges Terrace, headquarters of _The West Australian _and the afternoon newspaper, The Daily News. A huge assembly also gathered on The Esplanade.

    "One continuous cheer best describes the great impromptu meeting held . . . on the posting of the official message," _The West Australian _reported. The tumult lasted for about an hour an a half and "few of those who had contributed to the triumph of the Allied armies were not remembered.

    "Naturally the terrace, as the headquarters of the newspapers, was the quarter to which the people were attracted when the work of the day was done." The paper reported that there had never been a public gathering like it before in Perth.

    Cheering and patriotic singing welled along the city's major thoroughfare as the mayor, Mr (later Sir) William Lathlain, tried to address the throng. "Speeches were essayed by the mayor and those who joined him later but it was a forlorn hope to make oneself heard against cheers, supported by an obligato from every noise-making device imaginable. Before long the mayor had completely exhausted his vocal powers, and the people, giving vent to pent-up excitement, cheered and sang incessantly."

    _The West _'s report noted that the range of subjects worth cheering seemed inexhaustible. "There were cheers for the Empire, cheers for all her Allies, cheers for the various arms of the fighting forces, cheers for the great men of the war, cheers for the soldiers of Australia and of her sister dominions, cheers for those who had gone from Western Australia, cheers for those among them who had gained the VC, cheers for the sick and wounded, cheers for the returned, and cheers, too, for the glorious dead."

    Songs echoed through the CBD, including the national anthem and patriotic numbers from the history of the British Empire. And a lot of the crowd apparently knew a ditty called We'll Hang the Kaiser from a Sour Apple Tree.

    The brother of WA Gallipoli hero, and fatal casualty, David Simcock - a red-headed fruitseller around Perth affectionately dubbed Pink Top - was given a rousing reception, too.

    The gathering slowly dispersed, with everyone hoarse or completely voiceless. "The mayor bade his hearers look for the announcement of further celebrations in the morning's paper, and the first of the war celebrations was over," _The West Australian _ reported.

    Subsequently, there was a large gathering at Fremantle Oval. In Perth, there were big processions through the city's streets, organised by the Friendly Union of Soldiers' Wives, among other groups. Women and children wore sashes across their chests emblazoned with the single golden word - Peace. Others carried placards reading War is a Destroyer and Peace Means Prosperity. Even the smallest rural Wheatbelt hamlet and coastal towns held their own celebrations in their streets.
    Women and children wore sashes across their chests emblazoned with the single golden word - Peace."

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-...ith-armistice/

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    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-1...-war-i/5083444

    Historians attempt to find WWI's first bullet deep in Australian waters

    The seemingly impossible task of finding the very first shot fired by Allied troops in World War I has begun, and the key to the mystery may be at the bottom of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne.

    As the nation marks Remembrance Day, historians say Australian gunners were the ones who fired the first shell at a German ship.

    One hundred years on, the Anzac Centenary Commission is hoping it can salvage the six-inch explosive from the ocean floor.

    Around noon on August 5, 1914, a gun crew stationed at Fort Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula fired across the bow of German cargo steamer SS Pfalz.

    Local historian Keith Quitten says it was not as simple as point and shoot.

    At the time, the Commonwealth government was based in Melbourne and such action had to be approved there.

    "The commander at Fort Queenscliff was told there was a declaration of war," Mr Quitten said.

    "The attorney-general got his lawyers to look up the legal details of how the shot was to be fired and informed the fort that it should be fired across the bow of the ship," he said.

    "It was reputed they could cut the tow rope between the towing ship and the target with the first single shot fired from each of their six-inch guns."

    Long-lost clues discovered in cardboard box

    The press at the time got most of its information from the pilot of the German ship, who made most of it up.

    That all changed last year with the discovery of a cardboard box full of military documents.

    The shot had to be fired from the gun in the bay before the enemy ship got too close to Swan Island, which had a naval mine depot.

    "However, if the shell missed the ship and landed there, there was a chance there could be an explosion in the mine depot itself, or a little further on that it could hit the township of Queenscliff."

    But the crew did not get any instructions and the commander decided on his own volition to fire the gun.

    The ship was halted and detained, making this not just the first event of World War I, but the first capture of a German asset.

    It will be a mammoth task: Baillieu

    Armed with a better idea of where to look, a recovery mission has been suggested as part of the Anzac centenary commemorations.

    Former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu is heading up the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee.

    "The fact that the very first shot was fired in Victoria from Point Nepean, I think, underscores the depth of commitment Victorians made," Mr Baillieu said.

    He added that finding a 100-year-old artillery shell at the bottom of a bay "will be a mammoth task".

    "Of course it would be an extraordinary thing to locate and recover the shell. I don't think there is any doubt about that," he said.

    "It would have to be intact. But it is not beyond the realm of possibility if the shell didn't explode and there is still a little bit of doubt about that."

    Having spoken with specialist divers and historians, Mr Baillieu says any search would have to happen in the summer months.

    Everyone agrees that finding a six-inch shell at the bottom of a sea bed is a long shot, but the temptation to give it a go is too great.

    "It's an unlikely prospect but it is nevertheless and tantalising one," Mr Baillieu said.

    "And were we to locate and recover the very first shell fired by the British empire in World War I, then I think that would be an international event," he said.

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    pity the sub editor for this article doesn't know the difference between a bullet and a shell!

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    11/11/2013
    By Waratahs Rugby Media Unit


    Today we remember all Australians who have given their lives or suffered in war and peacekeeping operation.

    On the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month we stand in silence and remember.

    To all those who lost their lives, including the President of the NSWRU Major James McManamey who was among the 388 members, both players and officials, who were killed in action in World War I, we salute you.

    Here are some powerful excerpts from NSW Rugby history, drawn from The Guardians of the Game book by John Mulford, that describe the time during and immediately after WWI. They show the irrevocable impact of the battle, but also the defining of the NSW Waratahs' spirit, that was born in First Australian Imperial Force rugby team that formed in Egypt prior to leaving for the assault on Gallipoli.

    1914 - 1918 - WWI
    On 5th August 1914 Australian Prime Minister Andrew Fisher declared war on Germany and its allies. The NSWRU took the Prime Minister’s call to arms very seriously and announced that "arrangements for the coming season included drilling and military training and the cancellation of big matches and competitions". Some 90% of its players enlisted and most rugby clubs disbanded. In contrast, the NSWRL confirmed that their competition would continue "to provide much needed entertainment for a troubled public". NSW Premier Holman was heavily critical of the NSWRL and contended "Your comrades at Gallipoli are calling you. This is not a time for football or tennis matches, it is serious". Rugby Union in NSW suffered significantly from the decision to cease business during the war whilst the NSWRL prospered during this period.

    1915 - Gallipoli
    During the eight horrific months of the ANZAC battle at Gallipoli, the NSWRU Annual report of 1915 details "One hundred and fifteen players from New South Wales paying the ultimate sacrifice". This included the loss of the President of the NSWRU Major James McManamey. By 1918, the toll had risen to 388.

    1919 - The AIF is formed
    The impact of WWI on the NSWRU was crippling. However, a very special consequence of so many NSWRU players going to war was the talent and spirit that was born in the 1st Australian Imperial Force rugby team that formed in Egypt prior to leaving for the assault on Gallipoli. Wallaby and Olympic Gold Medallist TJ ‘Rusty’ Richards wrote in his diary: “Most of these matches before our soldiers travelled to Gallipoli were played under the shadows of the Great Pyramids, games that meant as much to the players and their keen followers as ever did an international at the Sydney Cricket Ground”. Rusty went on to write about rugby between the Battalions in France: “Rugby Football matches have now become common amongst the Australian troops whilst resting after a spell in the trenches...for tomorrow they will be en route to the Somme again and the greatest hell ever thought of. But what care they for the morrow, let’s find out who are the best footballers while there is still time in hand”.

    1919 – The AIF’s triumphant return
    The period between Armistice on 11th November 1918 and when members of the 1st AIF team made it home to Australia included some historic rugby matches, including a famous victory against the French Army XV in Paris. The 1st AIF team were so well regarded that they were invited to compete for the King’s Cup, a tournament including England, South Africa, NZ, Canada and the royal Air Force. The 1st AIF team scored the most points of any dominion and defeated the rampant New Zealand side 6-5 in the game of the tournament. These 1st AIF rugby stars returned to Australia post war having established a global reputation. With the NSWRU and QRU in disarray and broke due to their decision to disband for the war, an east-coast exhibition tour was hastily organised for the 1st AIF which ultimately saved the NSWRU from dissolving. However as most of these 1st AIF stars were from NSW, the QRU didn’t receive the same injection of players back into their ranks and they dissolved in 1920, not reforming again until 1928.

    http://www.waratahs.com.au/News/News...8/Default.aspx

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    good read

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