"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ANZAC Day 2009

Australian War Memorial, located in the nations capital Canberra.

Australian Flag.

New Zealand Flag.

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day falls each year on April 25th, it commemorates the landing at Gallipoli on that day in 1915, this ill fated landing had been planned to quickly knock Turkey out of the war became a battle that lasted eight months at a cost of over 8000 Australian and 2700 New Zealand soldiers lives.


Oldest Anzac Digger Dies.
Eric Abraham, from Brisbane, died at the age of 104 years in a Nursing Home on the 19th March, 2003. (This was the day Gulf II started)
Eric attended the last Anzac March and also reclaimed the bugle that went missing during World War I and was recovered and presented on his 104th birthday.
He joined the Army at the age of 17 years and was an original soldier of the Anzac campaign.

Those are the bare facts that make ANZAC Day one of our most solemn anniversary dates, it speaks of the pride we feel for the brave young men who left their homes to fight in a war on the other side of the world, and our sadness that so many of them never returned home.

There is a dawn service in every city and almost every and town in Australia when even now, 94 years on, men, women and children pay homage to our armed forces from this battle.

In Flanders stands the ancient town of Ypres. Once a centre of the flanders wool trade, it became one of the most important European city-states of the 13th Century. In 1260, Ypres had a population of some 40,000 - more than the population today. At the same time another great city, Oxford in England, had a population of only 4,200.

The area has been fought over, through the centuries by the Dutch, the French, the Spanish - no wonder that the area was called "The Cockpit of Europe." But it was the Great War which resulted in the destruction of the town, and the loss of its priceless medieval architecture.

The Menin Gate Memorial is perhaps the most visited Great War Memorial on the Western Front. (The only other serious contender is the Newfoundland Memorial Park near Beaumont-Hamel, on the Somme.)

The Menin Gate marked the start of one of the main roads out of Ypres towards the front line and tens of thousands of men must have passed through it and onwards along the infamous Menin Road, so many of them never to return.

Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927. [oil on canvas, AWM ART09807]

Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.oil on canvas

"Menin Gate at Midnight" is by far the most moving painting I have ever seen, it literally clutches at the heart strings when viewed in the darkened alcove of its display area.

One Australian greatly affected by the dead of the Menin Gate was war artist Captain Will Longstaff. Longstaff, living in England at the time, attended the unveiling of the memorial and that night he claimed he was unable to sleep. Going down to the memorial, and walking there in the dark, he had a vision of the soldiers who had marched through the Menin Gate during the war on their way to the front line. This vision he transferred to a great canvas showing ghostly soldiers rising out of the ground in front of the Menin Gate and moving off towards the Menin Road, Hooge, Zonnebeke, Broodseinde and Passaschendaele. Reputedly he painted the scene in one session when still under the psychic influence of his vision. Another story is that he was influenced by an English lady who had lost sons in the war and who told him when they walked together in the evening that she could feel ‘her dead boys all around her’.

The painting was an instant success and even scored a private viewing at Buckingham Palace by King George V and his family. Thereafter, following showings in major British cities, it was bought by English aristocrat, Lord Woolvington, and given to the Australian government and people. Shipped to Australia it was quickly added to the growing art collection of the proposed Australian War Memorial.

I'm sorry that this post became a little dis-jointed in trying to cover the things that are important to us on this very special day.


kenju said...

I remember when you wrote about this before, Peter. I hope your special day is a good one. The top photo is beautiful.

Pamela said...

I remember being impressed by that painting last year. Gee, time is flying. Has it been a year?

Jack K. said...

I hope the day was filled with the remembrances and feelings you wanted.

Thanks for sharing this most important time with us all.

If only we all would be so moved that we would eschew war and killing forever.

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Great article for Anzac Day. You did good!! Thanks for your comments, I am trying very hard to stay cheerful, but still have pain. Looks like I may have it foor life. You should show some respect for anyone 3 years older than you.
We are having some rain here at last.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Maria Morris-Burke said...

Thank you for this little lesson on Australia's history. You all have much to be proud of and I hope someday to visit Australia and learn more about this wonderful country.

Joy Des Jardins said...

This was a really nice article Peter...thank you for sharing it.

karisma said...

Lest we forget! Great post peter! Hugs to you and family xxxoooxx

Hels said...

"this post became a little dis-jointed in trying to cover the things that are important to us on this very special day". I also felt that way... and surprised myself because war is such a morally repugnant subject. I remember when my sons were 18 and would have done anything to stop them going off to war. Lest We Forget, indeed

I've created a link to my post,
thank you so much Peter

Jamie Dawn said...

I feel the pride that you write about in this post.
I share your respect for those young soldiers who fight and even give up their lives for their country.
Australia is a great nation, and I hope its citizens continue to honor their war dead and give them the respect they deserve.
That painting is haunting and powerful.
Thanks for sharing.


Walker said...

The cost of freedom should never be forgotten and the lives of those who sacrifieced them in a just cause should be remembered and celebrated always.