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Little Kate

Little Kate
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Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
Birthday
September 13
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When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~ Author Unknown

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APRIL 24, 2012 11:25PM

The ANZAC Legend

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25 April - ANZAC Day.  The day The ANZAC Legend was born.

ANZAC day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  ANZACs … a name they wore with the greatest of pride.  A name that, to this day, is spoken and remembered with the greatest of pride by a nation.

When war broke out in 1914, Australia was a very, very young federal commonwealth and the new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the other nations of the world.  In 1915 ANZAC soldiers were amongst the allied forces that were sent to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies.  They landed on Gallipoli on 25 April and were met with fierce resistance from Turkish forces.  A stalemate ensued and the campaign lasted for eight long months.  Both sides suffered extremely heavy casualties and endured the greatest of hardships. By the time the Gallipoli Campaign ended, over 120,000 men had died. More than 80,000 Turkish soldiers and 44,000 British and French soldiers, including over 8,500 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.

Although the military objectives of the Gallipoli campaign were not met, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as The ANZAC Legend became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways we viewed both our past and our future.

ANZAC day is a day of national remembrance.  A day when Australians reflect on our past and of the sacrifice that the many have made for our small but great country.

But it is a day when we not only reflect with sadness on the lives lost; but also we feel within our hearts great pride and joy for the unconditional love so many had for their country.

One story known to Aussies is that of Simpson and his donkey. Simpson landed in Gallipoli on 25 April and from that very first night he would lead his donkey, which he variously called Duffy or Murphy,  up Shrapnel Gully and then Monash Valley carrying water on the way up and the wounded on the way back. Simpson and his donkey did this for nearly four weeks with very little regard for the danger they were in.  One morning, while carrying a wounded soldier, Simpson was killed by machine gun fire.  His donkey, though, continued on down the well-worn track that he had trod over and over the past four weeks, obediently carrying the wounded soldier to those that would tend him.

But The ANZAC Legend isn’t any one story.  It is more of a feeling.  It’s a feeling of great pride in the mateship and bonds that our Aussie diggers have with one another; gratitude for their courage and their selflessness; respect for their “just get in there and do it” and “give it a go” attitude; and perhaps more than anything, it’s the spirit we know they possessed ... the qualities an Aussie digger shows on the battlefields of war … endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism and, above all else, mateship.

Lest we forget.

 


The Tomb of Lt. John Learmonth, A.I.F.

“At the end on Crete he took to the hills, and said he’d fight it out with only a revolver. He was a great soldier.”
One of his men in a letter.

This is not sorrow, this is work:  I build
A cairn of words over a silent man,
My friend John Learmonth whom the Germans killed.

There was no word of hero in his plan;
Verse should have been his love and peace his trade,
But history turned him to a partisan.

Far from the battle as his bones are laid
Crete will remember him. Remember well,
Mountains of Crete, the Second Field Brigade!

Say Crete, and there is little more to tell
Of muddle tall as treachery, despair
And black defeat resounding like a bell;

But bring the magnifying focus near
And in contempt of muddle and defeat
The old heroic virtues still appear.

Australian blood where hot and icy meet
(James Hogg and Lermontov were of his kin)
Lie still and fertilise the fields of Crete.

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Schoolboy, I watched his ballading begin:
Billy and bullock and billabong,
Our properties of childhood, all were in.

I heard the air though not the undersong,
The fierceness and resolve; but all the same
They’re the tradition, and tradition’s strong.

Swagman and bush ranger die hard, die game,
Die fighting, like that wild colonial boy –
Jack Dowling, says the ballad, was his name.

He also spun his pistol like a toy,
Turned to the hills like wolf or kangaroo,
And faced destruction with a bitter joy.

His freedom gave him nothing else to do
But set his back against his family tree
And fight the better for the fact he knew

He was as good as dead. Because the sea
Was closed and the air dark and the land lost,
“They’ll never capture me alive,” said he.

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

That’s courage chemically pure, uncrossed
With sacrifice or duty or career,
Which counts and pays in ready coin the cost

Of holding course. Armies are not its sphere
Where all’s contrived to achieve its counterfeit;
It swears with discipline, it’s volunteer.

I could as hardly make a moral fit
Around it as around a lightning flash.
There is no moral, that’s the point of it,

No moral. But I’m glad of this panache
That sparkles, as from flint, from us and steel,
True to no crown nor presidential sash

Nor flag nor fame. Let others mourn and feel
He died for nothing: nothings have their place.
While thus the kind and civilized conceal

This spring of unsuspected inward grace
And look on death as equals, I am filled
With queer affection for the human race.

 

~ John Manifold
 (1915-1985)
Australian Poet

 

 

 

 

References:
http://www.awm.gov.au
Wikipedia
Australian Poetry Since 1788 (Edited by Geoffrey Lehmann & Robert Gray)

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Comments

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Little Kate, thank you for sharing this.
Rennis, thank you for reading. I appreciate it.
A great country indeed! Of THAT there is no doubt!
How I wish I could visit some day.

Very strong write up!
JD, thank you!

I wish you could visit too. I just know you would love it. It is a great and beautiful country.
Yeppers...I'd wrestle me a koala bear I think...and maybe you too!
LOL, JD! You gotta be careful ... both those cuddly koalas and I can put up a good fight when we have too!
What a wonderful post, so full of remembrance.

Wars are ugly things
which beauty filled men fight.
They are not lost
to those who loved them
nor to the land for which they fight.
Remembered they are,
into our long good nights.
Kate, you and your countrymen have every right to the feeling of pride that glows in your piece here. What these young men endured during the Gallipoli Campaign is unimaginable.

Without in any way intending to subtract in the least from your piece, as an outsider looking in, I must confess that I understand the great pride the Turkish people still have in the conduct of their young men, also, in this Ottoman victory. It was here that Lt. Col. Mustafa Kemal, later the father of the modern Turkish nation, issued his order to his 57th Infantry Regiment:

I do not order you to fight, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can come forward and take our places.

Every single man in the Ottoman 57th Infranty Regiment was then either killed or wounded.

And so it is that I must agree with your poet. There is no moral. But there is certainly reason for remembrance.
Sheila, very true and heartfelt words. Thank you.
Brassawe, thank you. You do not subtract in any way but rather add to my post. The Turkish lost so many in the campaign. The loss of life, just one life, on any side is sad but yet a testament to the courage of the soul and absolutely a reason for great pride in him or her by his or her country.

Thank you for sharing, Brassawe. I am indeed grateful that you did
Kate, the day has been wonderful here.
To be in town for the march ... the natty old diggers of WW2 meet & embrace, the sometimes slightly shaggier vets of more recent wars throw a loving arm around a mate ...
No more WW1 survivors but a sprig of rosemary or a poppy, on every lapel or buttonhole in sight.

If I could add to Brassawe's quote, Lt. Col. Kemal later said this, to the families of ANZACS who died in Gallipoli :

There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us 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. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Thanks for this tribute, Kate.
I tried to keep in step today for my father. I wore his service bars from Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria, Darwin & New Guinea. If that sounds like the boast of a proud son ... you bet it is.
Kim, as I finished reading your comment just now ... I am left with a smile for a proud and boastful son and a heart that feels heavily your loss of the father that walked with you in spirit today. My heart also feels pride and love for him AND you, Kim.

As I imagine you trying to do him proud by keeping in step in the march, I also imagine your head held high and your chest out ... bursting with the pride of a nation ... as indeed it should.

Thank you for adding to this too, Kim. So true. There is no difference. Sons all. Side by side they died.

I am so proud, Kim. Your dad did good. Very, very good.
Hi Little Kate,

Interesting, I'm just learning all about the Gallipoli campaign when I ran across your post. Here's to your brave ones.
devilgrrl, like all things war, it's a sad thing. Thank you so much for reading and for the toast to our soldiers.
Beautiful tribute, salute!
You are always so full of surprises, Kate. I found this be a fascinating review of an an important part of your history. You and Kim are both such fine examples of what your brave soldiers fought and died for.

By the time the Gallipoli Campaign ended, over 120,000 men had died. Things like this always catch my eye. To those who read the sentence it's a shocking statistic, a number, but 120,000 families and loved ones had their lives changed irrevocably. It is good that you are memorializing them in this way.
Lest we forget ...
Here ... and will be for a while ...
So many thoughts ... for all ... sons ...
all ...
There is something terrible and awesome in the willingness of young men to die for a cause.
Fascinating and stirring tribute, Little Kate, along with the learned comments of Kim and Brassawe. And it affords me the opportunity to inquire, at long last, just how the term "digger" did derive?
Kate, the love of your country shines transparent with your writing.
Bless you for this.
Beautifully done lil Kate, for all your men, fathers, brothers all. Kim, also, for your Dad, a proud day for rembrances.
Kate, Kim,
I don’t think there is anything small about your country.
Listen here ... to the enormous pride ... and love.
Listen to the great wisdom ... of such loving, loving hearts.
Listening here ... with gratitude. Listening here ... with love.
This is a little off subject, but I was a big fan of Aussie tennis player Patrick Rafter. Such a gentleman. He would say "Sorry, mate." if he had to catch his toss. I think they called him Saint Patrick.
Oh, to have had a history teacher like you! I'm quite certain I'd have a far greater appreciation if I had (sigh) ... still, I've not ever lost that thirst to learn, and with this post have one more link to add to my ever growing chain of connections from yesterday to today and the spirit that links all of us around the world.

Question: What does lirrikinism mean? It's not listed in the Oxford Dictionary.

~R~
Songbird, thank you.

John, it is very hard to think about 120,000 young men losing their lives as they did in only one campaign but think about it and remember we must. And, yes, the toll of 120,000 is far greater when we think about their loved ones. And thank you, John, for the very lovely compliment you paid Kim and I.

anna1liese, thank you so much for taking the time to hold them in your thoughts and your heart as I know you so solemnly do. Each and every one someone's son ... someone's loved one ... brave and giving souls all.

Chicken Maaan, as I understand it no-one is entirely certain just how the affectionate nickname of "Digger" originated ... there seem to be a number of theories. One is that it was because the ANZAC troops were particularly good at digging tunnels between their own trenches and that of the enemy. I understand, too, that there were a lot of ex-gold diggers within the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and that possibly explains both the nickname and their skills at digging tunnels. Another theory is that when ANZAC troops were digging the trenches in Turkey, their mates would playfully call them 'diggers' and the name stuck. Whatever the origin of the nickname, it was and is one that is worn with much pride.
Mission, if it shines through then I am glad for it is true. Thank you so much.

Rita, thank you. I was particularly touched by Kim's comment after he had returned from the march in Sydney. What a proud day for him ... for all of us ... but especially for a son to be marching for his dad ... a dad that served his country in Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria, Darwin & New Guinea. wow.

anna1liese, it may be comparatively small in size and population to some but her heart ... our heart ... is just as big as they come! Thank you again dear, sweet friend ... thank you.

Sarah, you made me smile! I don't know him personally, of course, but Patrick Rafter is known by all here to be a true gentleman. And I smile too because I get picked up quite a bit on my habit of saying "sorry" all the time when I haven't really done anything wrong!

eyespye, a "larrikin" is someone who plays harmless pranks on others (usually often!); has a wicked sense of humour; and is often self-depracating too. "Larrikinism" is a very strong facet in Australian culture. So many of us have a streak of larrikin in us! We love to have harmless fun at the expense of others and, most importantly, at our expense too! What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? ; )
What a great word that larrikin. ;-} Being one that loves semantics, I'm quite certain I'll be weaving larrikinism into all kinds of communiques now. Thanks, Kate!

Now ... about that history lesson ... I'm all eyes and ears so, dear lady, please keep continue to educate on all things Aussie. I for one am fascinated!
Hmmmm ... looks like I could use an editor, too. Sorry for the boobalah. :-(
eyespye, you make me smile big time!!! I think you just might be somewhat of a larrikin yourself! But I'll sure be tuned in and waiting for you to use the word sometime soon.

I don't know that I make a great history teacher of all things Aussie (I suspect Kim might be much better at that than I) but perhaps I'll "give it a burl" one day. (There's some Aussie talk for ya!) ; )