Thursday, April 24, 2008



It's ANZAC day tomorrow..... which stands for Austrlian and New Zealand Army Corps. This group was part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies back in 1915. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 7000 New Zealand soldiers were wounded at Gallipoli and 2721 were killed. The Australian army also suffered heavy casualties: 26,111 were injured and 8,141 were killed.

The first Anzac Day took place on 25 April 1916. As time went on, the ceremony of remembrance was extended to the soldiers of the Second World War. It now honours all New Zealanders and Australians who have served in a military campaign.

My Great Grandfather was one of those injured Gallipoli peninsula. Sadly he was blinded from British shrapnel during the attack. He later became involved in setting up different schools around the world to give soldiers skills to cope with their own blindness.

He wrote a book "Tales of a Trouper" which was published in 1920 about his experiences at Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli peninsula.

From what I've read, and heard he sounds like he was incredibly stubborn and unlikely to quit anything he started. Perhaps the strong willed attitude runs in the family?

This poem, while written by a Canadian medical officer Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae during WWI always reminds me of the sacrifice and the lives that were given for our independence and freedom.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


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