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ANZAC Remembrance

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ANZAC Remembrance

Old 24th Apr 2010, 22:45
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I think the following poem may have been posted here on PPRuNe on a previous ANZAC thread, but no matter. It's unapologetically smaltzy, but I don't think that matters on whit, for it really brings home the impact the Great War had on so many people in Oz and NZ, particularly in the small country towns where people did not have the anonymity of the city.

As the poet says, I think every family in Australia (and, I'm sure NZ) - mine certainly did - had two or three maiden aunts who refused to marry after the love of their life did not return.

I'm not embarrassed to say I needed a good nose blow after reading this, even though I'd read it before.



The Anzac on the Wall

I wanderer thru a country town, 'cos I had some time to spare,
And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.
Old Bikes and pumps and kero lamps, but hidden by it all,
A photo of a soldier boy - an Anzac on the Wall.

"The Anzac have a name?" I asked. The old man answered "No,.
The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago.
The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale,
The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.

"I asked around," the old man said, "but no one knows his face,
He's been on that wall twenty years.... deserves a better place.
For some one must have loved him, so it seems a shame somehow."
I nodded in agreement and then said, "I'll take him now."

My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right
To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,
Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.

I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
The first reveals my Anzac's name, and regiment of course
John Mathew Francis Stuart - of Australia 's own Light Horse.

This letter written from the front... my interest now was keen
This note was dated August seventh 1917
"Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
They say it's in the Bible - looks like a Billabong to me.

"My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers... she's still my bride to be
I just cant wait to see you both, you're all the world to me.
And Mum you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out
I told him to call on you when he's up and about."

"That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the CO's dunny.
I told you how he dragged me wounded, in from no man's land
He stopped the bleeding closed the wound with only his bare hand."

"Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast
It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn't last .
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind
Cause out there on the battlefield he'd left one leg behind."

"He's been in a bad way Mum, he knows he'll ride no more
Like me he loves a horse's back, he was a champ before.
So Please Mum can you take him in, he's been like my own brother
Raised in a Queensland orphanage he' s never known a mother."

But Struth, I miss Australia Mum, and in my mind each day
I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away.
I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight
And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down
I'll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town".
The second letter I could see , was in a lady's hand
An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land.

Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean
It bore the date, November 3rd 1917.
"T'was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war
I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more"

"Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day.
And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been
We talked and laughed for days about the things you've done and seen"

"He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
I read the same hope in his eyes that you won't come to harm.
Mc Connell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed.
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange."

"Last Wednesday, just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight,
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright .
It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared
And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared"

"They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear
It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near.
Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?
Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,"

"That's why we need you home son" - then the flow of ink went dry-
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why.
Until I started reading, the letter number three
A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy,

Her son killed in action - oh - what pain that must have been
The Same date as her letter - 3rd November 17
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.

And John's home town's old timers - children when he went to war
Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell
How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.

She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
"My Johnny's at the war you know, he's coming home next week."
They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end.
A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend.

And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak
And always softly say "yes dear - John will be home next week."
Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say.
I tried to find out where he went, but don't know to this day.

And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd.
She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God .
John's mother left no Will I learned on my detective trail.
This explains my photo's journey, of that clearance sale.

So I continued digging, cause I wanted to know more.
I found John's name with thousands , in the records of the war.
His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame.
That last day in October back in 1917
At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean.
That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear
But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here.......

So as John's gallant spirit rose to cross the great divide,
Were lightning bolts back home, a signal from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?
Because he'd never feel his master on his back again?

Was it coincidental? same time - same day - same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it's more than that you know, as I've heard wiser men,
Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

Where craggy peaks guard secrets neath dark skies torn asunder,
Where hoofbeats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder
Where lightning cracks like 303's and ricochets again
Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track,
They've glimpsed a huge black stallion - Light Horseman on his back.
Yes Sceptics say, it's swirling clouds just forming apparitions
Oh no, my friend you can't dismiss all this as superstition .

The desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range,
John Stuart rides on forever there - Now I don 't find that all strange.
Now some gaze upon this photo, and they often question me
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.

"You must be proud of him." they say - I tell them, one and all,
That's why he takes - the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall.


(The charge at Beersheba took place late on the afternoon of 31 October 1917. Recommended reading, The Australian Light Horse, by Roland Perry)
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 23:44
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In the new graveyard of Codford St Mary in Wiltshire are buried 99 ANZAC servicemen from the First World War, and one from the Second. It's a place as far from their homeland as it's possible to be, being diametrically opposite Australasia on the globe.

Codford St. Mary (New) Churchyard, Wiltshire

If anyone is passing through the area, spare a moment to stop in the village. The cemetery is signposted from the road.
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Old 25th Apr 2010, 09:06
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Lest we Forget.

Duncs
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Old 25th Apr 2010, 09:24
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Been a long day. Up at 5:00am attended the dawn service at 6:00am, then home for breakfast. Leaving again at 10:00am for the ANZAC Day parade, forming up at 10:30am. The service after the parade went on and on and on. Our Standard Bearer (RAFA), well into his eighties, crumbled to the floor and I helped carry him off to the sidelines. The medics got him up and on to a chair. Checked later he's making a good recovery.

Afterwards our local RSL - Returned Services League (Oz equivalent to the Royal British Legion), laid on a free lunch and drinks for all parade participants. Sometimes when you get a thousand plus spectators applauding the marchers, it helps with the remembrance of those no longer with us. It was a good day to be a veteran.

We did remember.
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Old 25th Apr 2010, 09:29
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While not always as grand as the Australian War Memorial, ANZAC memorials are usually well kept, even small ones deep in the Never Never.





Anzac Day 2008, Birdsville Queensland, with the visiting 173 Army Surveillance Squadron.
http://www.diamantina.qld.gov.au/site/media/documents/newsletters/2008/May_08.pdf

Lest We Forget.

Worrals (grateful civillian, great-grand niece of a returned Gallipoli veteran)

Last edited by Worrals in the wilds; 25th Apr 2010 at 09:45.
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Old 27th Apr 2010, 07:43
  #26 (permalink)  

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Brian.

I'll always remember your brother on that day, as it was my 4th birthday in 69.
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Old 27th Apr 2010, 11:43
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A sad day, If you get a chance Discovery Channels I think it is, are running an excellent Ballard programme about the landings.
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Old 27th Apr 2010, 22:16
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There was a lovely snippet on the NZ service at Gallipoli when three Maori ladies, all members of the NZ Defence group attending with the NZ Prime Minister, fronted up to sing a song of remembrance. Now those three had just learned of the crash of the RNZAF Iroquois with three dead In Wellington, and they were clearly upset but nevertheless putting their hearts into the song when a small group of Turkish men started chattering among themselves only to be hushed into silence by a group of young Australians! Now that's what ANZAC means!
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Old 30th Jul 2017, 11:57
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Have you forgotten yet.............

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKeVgT1Rq4M
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 12:14
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Sorry I am a day late with this; was invited to observe the remembrance some years ago by colleagues at the time from Australia.
105 years ago yesterday.
*hand salute*
I remember back in the 80's as we were about to enter the Turkish Straits on our way to Istanbul; we went past the Helles Memorial, but our ship's route did not take us past Lone Pine.
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 16:05
  #31 (permalink)  

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My brother lives in Western Australia, and this year the service was by radio. At 0530 he was in his front garden, with medals and a candle. The service broadcast the Last Post, the Silence, then the NZ National anthem, followed by the Australian one. Apparently only four families bothered to get up that early, and Allan was the only one who came to attention; but as he says, "that's military for you"
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Wiley View Post
I think the following poem may have been posted here on PPRuNe on a previous ANZAC thread, but no matter. It's unapologetically smaltzy, but I don't think that matters on whit, for it really brings home the impact the Great War had on so many people in Oz and NZ, particularly in the small country towns where people did not have the anonymity of the city.

As the poet says, I think every family in Australia (and, I'm sure NZ) - mine certainly did - had two or three maiden aunts who refused to marry after the love of their life did not return.

I'm not embarrassed to say I needed a good nose blow after reading this, even though I'd read it before.



(The charge at Beersheba took place late on the afternoon of 31 October 1917. Recommended reading, The Australian Light Horse, by Roland Perry)
Have just read this,I think there is a lot of dust in the air,eyes are still wet.
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 16:46
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Originally Posted by spitfirek5054 View Post
Have just read this,I think there is a lot of dust in the air,eyes are still wet.
You may find that it is still a little dusty when you view the attached contribution from a Royal Australian Navy Band, with the compliments of Navy Net - and a past Royal Navy exchange officer https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community...y-2020.184663/

Jack
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 16:51
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Codford Churchyard

Tried to post elsewhere but failed. Codford my regular visit on ANZAC Day; 2020 the exception. Never at Dawn or for the village breakfast, but always a good picnic later in lovely churchyard. Site of WW1 hospital, straight off the boat and to hospital, sad. East of Matakana in North Island, my sister in her lockdown remoteness heard the music from distant Warkworth. Not too far from Codford, carved into chalk at different locations, are a Kiwi and an AIF capbadge.

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance........"
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 17:25
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
You may find that it is still a little dusty when you view the attached contribution from a Royal Australian Navy Band, with the compliments of Navy Net - and a past Royal Navy exchange officer https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community...y-2020.184663/

Jack
Yes,it is still dusty,thank you for posting,
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 20:25
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In retirement I am OC 1245(Cirencester) Sqn Air Training Corps, Each year we take part in the ANZAC Parade and Service in the Gloucestershire village of Leigterton. During WW1 it is where the Australian Army Air Corps did their early training. It could be said that Leighterton and nearby Minchinhampton was the birthplace of both the RAAF and the RNZAF. Sadly there are several graves of Aussies and Kiwis who never made it home. We couldn't parade this year because of the Virus however we will be back next year paying our respects to those brave pioneer aircrew who gave their all ultimately for us.
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 21:25
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We were unable to host the usual ANZAC Day commemoration at Waddington for the 467/463 Sqns RAAF Association this year due to the obvious restrictions. However, the Station laid a wreath at the Propeller in the memorial Garden on behalf of the Association. No Lancaster flypast this year either, but we were all there in spirit!!


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Old 26th Apr 2020, 23:44
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FROM THE MID PACIFIC

Here in Kiribati we held a short service at the ADF Compound commencing at 0430, attended by those resident in Tarawa who had seen active service. The service was held in the Miss Bee Haven bar which overlooks the wreck of the USAAF B24 aircraft of the same name in Tarawa Lagoon.


Following the service we moved to the Coastwatcher’s memorial in Betio where wreaths were laid as the sun rose from the Pacific. The first wreath was placed by HE Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati. Although the formal ceremony had been cancelled some weeks ago, HE Taneti heard late on Friday that a small wreath laying ceremony would be held and made arrangements to attend. “I’ve always paid my respects on ANZAC Day and 2020 will not be an exception,” he told me. I would hazard a guess this was the only ANZAC ceremony world wide where the local Head of State attended. Of course, just as the ceremony commenced, the heavens opened up.


Following the wreath laying we returned to the ADF compound for a traditional gunfire breakfast and swapping of stories. During the breakfast we paused to hear the 0600 playing of the last post from the AWM.

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 27th Apr 2020 at 02:23. Reason: Remove odd colour changes
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Old 27th Apr 2020, 08:57
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EdVFX In another little village in Wiltshire, Sutton Veny, the church has a lot of Aussie war graves. All immaculately kept, mainly by children from the local school. My friend said to me "notice anything unusual?" No. He pointed out that most had died in 1919. The war had finished and they were waiting in this beautiful English village to go home. They had survived a brutal war and were cut down by the Spanish Flu epidemic. So very, very sad. God bless them.
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 10:54
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Pom Pax,
For obvious reasons it did not happen last week but last year the local Air Cadets placed a wreath on the 75 Sqn Memorial in Mepal Village. I will ensure that this happens next year.

Clear Skies.

BL
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