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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

REMEMBER ANZAC DAY!

Gallipoli LandingANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is the day every year that commemorates the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli. There is a very sad movie that tells this story with Mel Gibson in it, I recommend it. ANZAC day is very important and meaningful to Aussies and Kiwis (New Zealanders) who remember the sacrifice and honor, the dignity and the spirit with which these young men met their end.



The Australian Government has a Culture and Recreation site which carries more details about this tale:

As part of the larger British Empire contingent the ANZACs were brought in from training in Egypt to participate. The ANZACs comprised the 1st Australian Division and the composite New Zealand and Australian Division. On 25 April 1915, the ANZACs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Instead of finding the flat beach they expected, they found they had been landed at an incorrect position and faced steep cliffs and constant barrages of enemy fire and shelling. Around 20,000 soldiers landed on the beach over the next two days to face a well organised, well armed, large Turkish force determined to defend their country - and led by Mustafa Kemal, who later became Atatürk, the leader of modern Turkey. Thousands of Australian and New Zealand men died in the hours and days that followed the landing at that beach. The beach would eventually come to be known as Anzac Cove. What followed the landing at Gallipoli is a story of courage and endurance, of death, and despair, of poor leadership from London, and unsuccessful strategies. The ANZACs and the Turks dug in - literally - digging kilometres of trenches, and pinned down each other's forces with sniper fire and shelling. Pinned down with their backs to the water the ANZACs were unable to make much headway against the home-country force.

The Gallipoli campaign was an enormous failure, a failure bought at the cost of an enormous number of lives, and the failure led to the resignation of senior politicians in London. Thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers had died, and thousands of other Allied troops from France and Britain also died.

An Anzac commemorative location has been built at Gallipoli in conjunction with the New Zealand government and with the approval of the Turkish government.

This seems like something the Australians would rather forget, doesn't it? But instead they have made heroes and a solemn memory of the heroic failure, as fits Australian history well. Senior Lecturer in History at the University of New England Dr Frank Bongiorno notes:

Australians are particularly inclined to make heroes of noble failures, such as the defeated Eureka rebels, the suicidal Jolly Swagman in 'Waltzing Matilda', and Ned Kelly.

Here, from the Australian website are some useful facts about ANZAC day:
  • ANZAC is an abbreviation for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
  • AIF is an abbreviation for Australian Imperial Force.
  • April 25, Anzac Day, was the day the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.
  • The first dawn service on an ANZAC Day was in 1923.
  • The ANZACS were on the Gallipoli Peninsula for only 8 months, around 8,000 of them died there.
  • There is no town called 'Gallipoli'. It is the name of an area. Visitors to Gallipoli usually stay at nearby towns - like Ecubeat.
  • The ANZACs were all volunteers.
  • The Gallipoli Peninsula is very near the famous ancient city of Troy.
There are no longer any living survivors of that infamous blunder by the British generals.

Commenters on Australian Blogger Tim Blair's site had this to say:
Here’s to the memory of those who served Australia. God bless.
-The_Real_JeffS


This was a complete disaster, the wrong beach was selected to land on and the slopes were too steep to climb, the Turkish army mowed the troops down with machine guns from the tops, like chickens to the slaughter.
The Kiwi soldiers didnt stand a chance.
It is definately a sad day for New Zealand for the WW1 soldiers
-by IainMorrison2

We honour the courage of the fallen and their legacy on this day iainmorrison and generally have the grace and good manners to leave the analysis (and historical revisionism) to another day.
-by Crusader rabbit


I just got back from the Dawn Service in Martin Place in Sydney. Biggest crowd I’ve seen so far at the event. The only visible additions were Kim Beazley, who was apparently in Sydney at the time, a seriously mean TAG-EAST SAS soldier in the dignitary section, and a fairly visible security detail, packing, in slightly ill-fitting suits (they appeared to be for the event itself rather than CPP for any particular dignitary). Also good to see the TS Sydney Navy Cadets at the event.

Special mention today for Peter Kent, WWII veteran, 83, served on the Bathurst-Class Corvettes as an ASDIC operator but got roped into operating one of the Oerlikon 20mm guns on deck at one stage - he still turns up every Saturday at ANZAC rifle range and still joins in on weekly service style rifle shooting matches. I just hope I have his spirit when I reach his age.

All in all, a very moving ceremony this morning.
-by Ausdiplomad


Je me souviens
(I remember), the motto of Quebec.

That’s all that is required. Duty does not require gratitude (no offence Crusader Rabbit)-duty is what must be done.

Robert E. Lee said that duty is the sublimest word in the English language “you cannot do more, you should not expect to do less”.

Their duty was to fight on that day, our duty is to remember them with honor.

One of the reasons that I so despise multiculturalism is because it seeks to induce us to remember the past only with guilt. But we have achieved so much due largely to the sacrifices of brave men. I am proud and humbled by their example.
-by 91B30


#1 Kyda Sylvester,
It was not just this day, but the tenacity with which the ANZACS clawed their way ashore, set up defensive trenches under withering fire, and clung on there for months in hellish conditions, long after there was any chance of a victory.
Even the defending Turks were admirers.

All this in their very first exposure to war in nearly every case.
The equivalent to the Marines storming the most difficult D-Day beaches.

In reality, if a British naval Admiral hadn’t earlier refused to pursue and destroy fleeing enemy ships defending the area, the failed Gallipoli Campaign would not have been necessary.
-by Barrie


Interesting article by D. D. McNicoll in The Australian about the French force at Gallipoli which had 9800 killed. He notes that “most of the French troops were black tribesmen recruited mainly from the French west African colony of Senegal.”

Also worth noting that the Zion Mule Corps at Gallipoli was the forerunner of the Israel Defence Forces.

Also, check out the photograph of the Turkish guard of hnour on the front page of The Australian (25/4). It brings to life the words of President Ataturk on the Turkish memorial at ANZAC Cove:

"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 to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway 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."
-by Geoffrey MG


It’s worth pointing out that while the Dardanelles campaign is remembered, correctly, as unsuccessful, Turkish casualties were almost double the allied casualties. And it’s not certain that casualties would have been any better had the ANZACs landed at the correct beach. Anzac Cove, while open and exposed, was neverthless lightly defended, and the move to capture the cove and the cliffs overlooking it was one of the few successful aspects of the campaign.
-Jim Geones


#31 I’ll do that very thing, Crusader Rabbit! It’s been said that every man has two countries - his own and France. I don’t know who authored that howler, but my own sense is that every American (of the Right Wing Death Beast variety, anyway) looks wistfully at Australia and/or NZ as his home away from home.
-by paco

This simply makes me think back to when there was a time when great men tried great things at high personal cost and the response was not contempt, fault-finding, and undercutting the effort at home, but rather honor, respect, and reverence for their efforts, failed or successful. Either way, I'm with paco. For those who drink, hoist one for the lads of ANZAC.



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