Anzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national commemorative occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. One of our top Australian customers, Phillip, has written a blog in celebration of the occasion.
"April 25th each year sees Australians and New Zealanders flock in big numbers gather at War Memorials, Shrines and Cenotaphs everywhere from the big cities, the regions and the smallest outback communities to remember and commemorate what our brave ANZAC men and women have done for us over many conflicts and peacekeeping missions from across the globe. This morning, I took the time to attend the Dawn Service in Melbourne and watch the march of our diggers.
The term “ANZAC” is an acronym and comes from the term “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”. Our ANZAC’s also carry the nickname “Digger”. It is a unique situation where two sovereign countries serve in theatres under the one unified name.
When the call was put out by Mother England to come and fight for King and Country, young men seeking adventure answered the call. Volunteers, not conscripts. Some proved a little might i say ‘frustrating' for the experienced British Generals, but hey… thats our boys.
Not knowing what their future was, they received their uniform, tin hat and their gun and off to war they went. Remember these where men who may not have even been to Sydney or Melbourne, let alone to the great unknown of war.
On April 25 1915 young men from all over this great southern land and our friends from New Zealand landed at Gallipoli under a hail of bullets from Johnny Turk as they landed on the beach that is now known as “ANZAC Cove”. The bravery, determination and heroism these young men performed in the face of impossible odds has formed a cornerstone to how we as Australians conduct ourselves. Gallipoli was our most infamous battle… Yes it was also our greatest military loss of life in Australian history with nearly 9,000 soldiers killed. But this is where the legend of ANZAC was born.
But this ANZAC Day I want to touch on the battle of Villiers-Bretonnoux as its the 100th year anniversary since this key battle took place.
Greater love hath no man
Villiers-Bretonnoux is a village in France that was situated on the Western Front. They key of Villers-Bretonnoux is that it stood in the way of the rampaging German Army and Paris. It was the Australians under the command of General Sir John Monash on Anzac Day 1918 along with the British and French forces who re-captured the village and thus was a major turning point in the Great War for the Allies. After the disaster of Gallipoli where close to 9,000 ANZAC’s lost their lives, Villiers-Bretonnoux was a triumph for our boys as the Germans where set for defeat.
Villers-Bretonneaux has such remembrance of Australia, they have named streets after Australian cities and a school has a sign saying “Do Not Forget Australia”
Their name liveth for evermore
Sadly today, there are no original ANZAC’s left alive, but their legend lives on through their descendants to proudly march in the name of their fathers and grandfathers who served with such dignity and bravery all those years ago. Our World War 2 veterans are thinning out in numbers also, but their memories, their strength, their legend lives on for evermore. Veterans from conflicts such as the Korean War, Vietnam and more recently Iraq & Afghanistan march proudly to the cheers of Australians and New Zealanders who will line the streets of every town and city across these two countries.
Anzac Day is not just a day for solemn reflection, but a day for old mates to catch up to share memories of a bygone era. Diggers will meet at the pubs and RSL Clubs right across Australia and New Zealand for the traditional ANZAC Day game of “2 Up” and a few cold beers.
Sport will take centre stage come the afternoon with in Melbourne the traditional Essendon v Collingwood AFL game will be played at the MCG infront of over 90,000 people and the NRL will have their traditional Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragona game in Sydney at Allianz Stadium in front of 40,000 fans.
From what has been a very special yet very emotional day, we give thanks and honour those who fell, those who grow old and those who currently serve. We give thanks and honour for evermore. The spirit of Anzac is well and truely alive. From the landing at Gallipoli to 2018. The name of ANZAC will live for evermore.
“They shall not grow old,
As we who are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."
Lest We Forget"