Although traditionally remembered on 25th April, today we will be having the annual ANZAC Day parade and remembrance service to commemorate
Australians and New Zealanders who have died in conflict.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served
and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.
Originally 25 April every year was to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman
Empire during World War I. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga.
If you're wondering why someone from the southern part of the UK is posting a thread about this, our local village churchyard has a war memorial and
106 (and three unknown) graves of ANZAC troops. We had war hospitals scattered around the village, and injured troops from abroad would be brought
here for treatment.
Country: United Kingdom
Identified Casualties: 109
Historical Information Due to its proximity to the port of Southampton, its railway connections and an abundance of large houses in the area,
Brockenhurst was chosen in 1915 by the War Office to become a hospital centre. Initially, Lady Hardinge's Hospital (named after the wife of the
Viceroy of India) for the Indian troops of the Lahore and Meerut Divisions was established south of the village.
This was then replaced by No.1 New Zealand General Hospital in June 1916, after the Indian Divisions were replaced by ANZAC troops. The New Zealand
Hospital remained at Brockenhurst until closed early in 1919. The churchyard contains 106 graves of the First War, of which one hundred are in the
New Zealand plot. In addition to the 93 New Zealand graves, there are also three Indian and three unidentified Belgian civilians (employed at the
Sopley Forestry camp). On the East side of the New Zealand plot is memorial incorporating a Cross.
Although i have nothing to do with Australia or New Zealand, these war graves have always been a very personal place for me. For years after leaving
the British forces, i had a difficult time. For various reasons it was too much to stand at the local war memorial with the rest of the village. So
instead i walked up to the ANZAC war memorial and stood there on Remembrance Day, often on my own, with maybe one or two people paying their respects
afterwards, but often on my own.
It was peaceful, but more importantly, each of the war graves are marked with the name, rank, number and unit of each soldier. Their age too. When you
see how young these lads were, it certainly brings things home to you, even as an ex soldier myself. It was more personal than the war memorial in the
village that just had surnames inscribed. This is like meeting old friends again each time i go up.
So today i will go to the ANZAC parade with my kids, they know the history, they know the reasons why the soldiers are here and not elsewhere. They do
ask questions, some of which i can't answer properly like "How come they were so young when they died?".
Just makes you think thats all.
When i was a kid, i first learnt about Gallipoli partly from my favourite band of the time, The Pogues. Not everyones favourite lyrics, but having
seen the not so glam side of conflict, they ring very true.
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 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.
— Atatürk 1934
A day of remembering the ones who fell is a good thing to have.
Having a day of remembering the corrupt politicians who sent them into their demise would be even better though. Funny we don't have those.
It sometimes seems that other countries forget or diminish the role Australians played.
If you are ever interested, try and find out how the Battle of The Bulge played out with regard to Australian troops. It is largely a forgotten piece
of history. Now the US Airborne and Patton's Armor seem to take all the credit, and while credit is certainly due, it seems nobody remembers what
Aussie troops managed to do.
There isn't any more courage than sacrificing yourself for a cause especially in war.. It's just a shame the evil a/holes who made these brave
people sacrifice themselves haven't got the balls to do it themselves... "Lest We Forget".. And never forget the people responsible either, they
are rampant in our time and are doing the exact same with our soldiers today.
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