In Australia, April 25th “ANZAC Day” commemorates the sacrifices of the men and women who have served The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in various wars over the years. It is a public holiday and many people turn out to honor the memory of the fallen in dawn services and by attending parades. It is probably one of the busiest days of the year for our RSL (Returned Soldiers’ League) Clubs as men and women get together to raise a glass in memory of bygone days and battles.
On this ANZAC Day 2010, I would like to take the opportunity to remember and to thank all those men and women who sacrificed their lives, to ensure our continued freedom.
The National Library of Australia holds many archives and articles from both the first and second World Wars, many of them ‘on the scene’ accounts of famous landings and battles. I thought that I would post an excerpt from one article here.
Between the first landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915 and the evacuation which began eight months later in December, some 43,750 allied soldiers lost their lives. At least 85,000 Turkish soldiers died.
The casualty figures were small compared to the later catastrophic losses in France and Belgium but nonetheless devastating for families at home as the true extent of the losses began to emerge.
The Australians had been training in Egypt, where the name Anzac, for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, was adopted. Some 18 000 of them had sailed from Albany in the south of Western Australia on 1 November 1914 expecting to disembark in England. Canadian troops had already arrived in England and the British were unable to accommodate the Australians-and New Zealanders-who were instead re-directed to Egypt. There they received their unexpected orders to go to Gallipoli-their first battle orders-following the failure of British and French naval assaults on Turkey in the Dardanelles.
At the setting of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them. Lest we forget.