Today it is 104 years since that fateful day when the youth of Australia and New Zealand, as part of the British force, stormed the beaches of Gallipoli. April 25 is the one day of the year when we stop to commemorate them and all the men and women who served in defending our way of life.
World War 1 ended 101 years ago, with WW2 ending 74 years ago, the Korean War 66 years ago and our “boys” returned from Vietnam in 1975 some 44 years ago. The history of our world, however, is not one of peace among peoples but of conflict and since 1990 Australian forces have been involved in various Middle East conflicts, not to forget a number of peace keeping operations.
Unlike many other countries Australia is not a militaristic nation, and this was the theme of the address of a very eloquent young man at the local Dawn Service that I attended this morning. He stressed how our service men and women were defending our way of life and how as individuals we all have a responsibility to uphold the standards that have, and are continuing to be fought for. He suggested that by emphasising and practicing a sense of community (is that “mateship”) and inclusiveness it would help counteract those who wish to spread division and hate in our society. If this young fellow’s views are typical of the coming generation we will be in safe hands.
Like most of my baby boomer era many of my family and extended family have served Australia. A few of those family members who I particularly wish to remember are:
Alfred Edward Henry Harrison BRISCOE, who served at Gallipoli contracting malaria after which he was evacuated to Cairo, where he now rests in the War Memorial Cemetery.
Alfred Ernest Cornelius BRAY, who as an 18 year old volunteered in 1915 serving on the Western Front where he was wounded and gassed. He again volunteered in in 1941 serving in a training capacity.
Alfred Ernest MORRISON who as a member of the 8th Division was captured following the fall of Singapore in February 1942 spending three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war in Changi and on the Burma railway.
Norma Beryl BRAY, who joined the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) in 1942 serving at HMAS Harman and HMAS Rushcutter.
Clyde John Thomas BRUCE, who served in 4 Squadron defending Australia from the Japanese advance in New Guinea.
Violet Joyce TROTT, who was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment in a vital support role.
The military service of others in my extended family is commemorated at http://morrisons.id.au/ui49.htm