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The Day We Remember

25 April 2012

Today (25th April) is ANZAC Day in Australia, and a public holiday.

Last year on this day (which was also Easter Monday) I was at my mother’s house preparing for her funeral the next day and I mentioned to my sister that it was ANZAC Day and we talked a bit about Gallipoli.

She then told me something I hadn’t known before (she often does that – she knows more than I do!).  My grandfather (my mother’s father) fought at Gallipoli.  He wasn’t Australian and I hear very little mention of troops, other than those from Australia or New Zealand, who fought there.  He was from Yorkshire but was with an Irish Regiment (maybe Judith knows which one??) – the whole of Ireland at that time (1915) being part of the UK, of course.   

I think I’ve mentioned here before that I feel more affinity for ANZAC Day than I do for Remembrance Day (in November) which was introduced to commemorate the end of the 1st World War.   I think this is because Australian armed forces’ memorial days revolve more around their involvement in the Far East (apart from the Gallipoli campaign, of course) than in Europe, whereas Remembrance Day generally concentrates more on action in Europe. 

Both my parents were in the armed forces (my father in the Army, my mother in the Air Force). My father spent the 2nd World War in India and Burma, while my mother was in Delhi then transferred to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).  They married in India, in Bangalore, in 1945.    My father used to tell me stories about the Australian troops he served with and for whom he had the greatest regard.

I now have my grandfather’s medals (my sister has my father’s) so I can now show any Australian that I have a connection to this country which goes back much further than my citizenship certificate.  

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4 comments

  1. You don’t have to prove anything Sally, we love you!


  2. Interesting. There’s a film about a regiment from a village in Norfolk that fought at Gallipoli starring David Jason… hang on a minute… Here you go. It was called “All the King’s Men” more details here.
    Aussies did other things in WWI, of course – for example they were havily involved in the tunnels that were dug under the lines at Ypres, that Sebastian Faulks wrote so brilliantly about in Birdsong. Both kiwis and Aussies also foungt in other battles in France. But for some reason it is Gallipoli that has captured the imagination of both Aussies and kiwis over the decades.


  3. I didn’t realise that British soldiers fought at Gallipoli either – but I was taught Australian history in Australia!

    Lest we forget!


  4. Hello Sally,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is a tribute to those who served.
    Julie (Rav: GoldenLeica)



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