Friday, April 25, 2008

Trivial History April 25

This is a poem some of you may have heard parts of on TV ads for the Anzac Day AFL match.

Sir would it help if I shed a tear,
I swear it's the first time since this time last year.
My spine is a tingle - my throat is all dry,
As I stand to attention for all those who died.

I watch the flag dancing half way down the pole,
That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul,
I feel the pride and the sorrow- there's nothing the same
As standing to attention on ANZAC Day.

So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
Will you take a message when you finally do leave
To your mates who are lying from Tobruk to the Somme
The legend of your bravery will always live on.

I've welcomed Olympians back to our shore
I've cheered baggy green caps and watched Wallabies score
But when I watch you marching (Sir) in that parade
I know these are memories that will never fade.

So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
Will you take a message when you finally do leave
It's the least we can do (Sir) to repay the debt
We'll always remember you - Lest We Forget.
By Damian Morgan 1998.

I don't have to tell you the significance of today's date but I will share, briefly, some of my Dad's uncles with you.
The red spot was Alfred - died April 25, 1915.
The purple spot was Roy - died France 1916.
The green spot was Arthur - invalided home 1918 after mustard gas attack, died 1929.
The three pale blue spots were Percy, Reg and Charles who came back.

1809 Isaac Nichols started blowing his whistle when he became the first Post Master in Sydney.

1815 Lt-Gov Davey thought the bushrangers were having far too good a time so he proclaimed martial law throughout Tassie.

1856 The blokes who could tell time established the 8 hour Labour League in Melbourne.

1896 Women had something to say and they let their votes speak for themselves when they were allowed to cast a ballot in the South Oz Legislative Assembly election.

1915 Soldiers were landed at the wrong beach and struggled to wade ashore at what is now known as Anzac Cove.

1916 The first Anzac Day was observed with large crowds attending church and public ceremonies. Aussie and New Zealand servicemen in Egypt and London also commemorated the day.

1925 The Australian War Memorial was founded in Canberra.

1930 First Dawn Service held in Australia by Rev Arthur White, himself a WW1 veteran, at Albany, Westralia. This was where the first convoy of Anzac's sailed away and was, for many, their last glimpse of Australia.
Rev White laid a wreath on the water and, as it floated away, he said,
"As the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them".

1990 75 years after the landing at Gallipoli Aussie WW1 veterans returned to pay their respects to those who didn't return.

Those heroes who 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 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 living in our bosom and are now in peace.
Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
Mustafa Kemel Ataturk 1934
ANZAC Memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey


  1. That is a great poem.

    I'm sorry your family had so many losses in the war.

  2. I've always loved it,Bettina.

    The sad thing is that that was common and is nothing compared to those who had sons return shell-shocked or disabled in some way or worse.

  3. Beautiful bittersweet post Jayne- well done.
    I agree great poem.
    How old were your Dad's Uncles ?

  4. "1896 Women had something to say..."

    Women always have something to say. That's why men invented ear plugs.

  5. Thanks, Trish.
    The youngest was 17 and the eldest was 29.

    Proving yet again that men don't listen to the voices of commonsense and logic, Brian :P

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog. I find Anzac Day to be very emotional. We were lucky in that my grandfather survived the war. Sadly the person he was on his return caused a family split so i did not get to meet him until a few years before his death. The impact of war is not always in death and physical injury. The flow on effect is just as devastating.