Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ON ANZAC DAY

I'll be delivering the address at Russell in the Bay of Islands. For me the years will roll back to 1965 when, at the Australian National War Memorial in Canberra, all the New Zealand officer cadets training in Australia formed the fourth Guard of Honour beside those representing the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce to mark 50 years since the beginning of the ANZAC legend

The salute. if I remember rightly, was taken by Price Henry, Duke of Gloucester, but what was particularly memorable was the parade of 1,000 plus original ANZACs.   That was a piece of living history and as a person embarking on a military career it was a privilege to be able to meet with them after the event and hear their stories first hand.

At Russell I'll be commenting that we meet not to glorify war, or to argue the toss as to who won or lost, but simply to remember those who served during times of conflict and to reflect upon their selfless sacrifice.    I'll tell the story of Jack Harris, aged 15, who forged his birth certificate in order to join up and who was killed-in-action on 15 August 1915 at Lone Pine.   I'll remind those present of the need to acknowledge and support all those who currently serve in our armed forces and especially the 142 about to deploy to Iraq ... that it's vitally important that we never subject them to what we did to our Vietnam veterans when we hung both them and their families out to dry.

There will be many speeches made on ANZAC Day but for me the most moving thing will be to see and witness ordinary New Zealanders from all walks of life taking the time to pay their tribute to those who serve and have served.

That's ANZAC Day for me.   What about you?


7 comments:

oneblokesview said...

The 4th Guard of Honour in 1965 was not only NZ Army Officer Cadets training in Oz, but a bunch of Navy Non Commissioned officers from Jervis Bay and a bunch of scrawny young RNZAF Apprentices from Wagga Wagga. I was one of the latter. Yes the 1000 troops covering the Museum to the Lake was bloody impressive.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit younger - as a Kiwi Cadet at ADFA and Duntroon, was in the Catafalque Party at the Australian War Memorial in 06. Mainly WWII vets and Vietnam vets at the ones I've been in.

For me, ANZAC Day is more special in the small towns of Aus and NZ (I did a fair few regional Australia ANZAC Days too). The big cities get too tied up in the semi-religion that ANZAC Day is becoming. The smaller ones feel more authentic, more about the individuals who served / died. The bigger ones feel more tied up in myth and idol worship.

I remember my mates who died in Afghanistan, that has the most meaning for me.

Ciaron said...

Without giving too much personal info away, I will be leading the anchor section of our BB Company on parade at the local remembrance service. We'll be drilling them all night tonight in preparation.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget that day either, Veteran. Doesn't seem 50 years ago though!

Stewart 61

Quintin Hogg said...

My Yacht Club lost a number of members in both WW1 and WW2.
There is a memorial to them in our club foyer.
I will be saluting both their memory and the memory of my great Uncle who flew in Bomber Command in WW2 and survived and my wife's Uncle who fought in the Battle of Britain and did not, there.

The Veteran said...

Thank you oneblokesview and Stewart 61 ...
yes, I forgot the quite disparate make-up of the fourth GoH.

I do however remember the rehearsal. Accompanying us from Portsea was the NZ Drill Instructor, WO2 (later) Major? Graeme Brighouse (ex SAS). His job was to hartmonize the different drill and words of command used then by the three separate services into something approaching one.

Not sure whether he succeeded but the crowd didn't seem to mind and gave us a big cheer.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I agree with a bit younger 'anonymous.'

Two years ago we attended dawn service at Waikerie, on the Murray river about 90 minutes drive NE of Adelaide.

The town has a population of about 2,000 and I counted between 500 and 600 at the service. You don't see many socialists in these parts.