Public Holidays come and go, some have more meaning than others and you could say a certain level of commercialism has crept in along the way, but one day is more sacred than the rest to a lot of Australians and New Zealanders, and that’s ANZAC DAY.
A.N.Z.A.C, Australian and New Zealand Army Corp, they are the soldiers who took part in an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25thof April, 1915. The Allies planned to capture the Peninsula to open up the Dardanelles with the objective to advance on what is present day Istanbul.
The battle dragged on for 8 months with over 8,000 Australian soldiers killed, although the military objectives weren’t met a powerful legacy remains to this day and the 25thof April is a date to remember all those that we’ve lost as a nation to war.
My Dad’s father James Hall joined the Australian Light Horse as a trooper and on the 25thof April 1917 was sent to France as Private Hall being part of the 20thInfantry Battalion, six months later he was injured in battle in Belgium, he made it back alive.
Dad also had 3 brothers who fought in various wars. John Hall grew up in the depression and being unemployed he joined the army. Many men did this so their wages could be sent home and if killed their families would receive a war pension. John joined the Army in 1943 and was a gunner in a tank attack regiment stationed in Borneo, whilst there he become a cook and earned the nickname ‘cold water Ben’ because he could make tea with cold water.
Fred Hall also served in World War 2 as a driver in a Tank Attack Regiment in Borneo. James ‘Jimmy’ Hall also served in World War 2 as a private in the 28thInfantry Battalion and served up in Darwin. They nicknamed him ‘swampy Jim’ as it was his job to retrieve pilots from Allied aircraft who had returned from bombing raids and crash-landed in crocodile infested swamps near the airfields. He pulled out the Pilots who were still alive, then he’d go back for the dead.
Mum’s Father also served in World War 2. Captain Arthur Hunter enlisted in 1939 in Newcastle and was sent to the Middle East from 1940-1943. He made it home but ‘never spoke about it’.
In these tough times we needed tough people, it’s impossible to imagine the hell they were subjected to, war is war, from the Boer, World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and everything in between, its part of who we are.
Many families have similar stories of loved ones who served throughout the years but as time ticks by and the Generations come and go people fear we will diminish the role these fine Aussies/Kiwi’s played in our collective history.
But we must never forget the sacrifice that was made by the men and women who fought, served, perished or were wounded to give us the freedoms we enjoy today, the ANZAC’s mean a great deal to this country and always should.