“We will remember them”
On the 25th April each year many Australians and New Zealanders remember those who have died in wars – that day is ANZAC Day.
The day is the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand in particular, to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who served and died in military operations for their countries.
In the UK the national remembrance day is the 11th November. That date was chosen as the Armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.
The Gallipoli campaign was a disaster. Specifically after the landings, so few remained from the Dublin Fusiliers and Munster Fusiliers that they were amalgamated into one unit, “The Dubsters”. Only one Dubliner officer survived the landing; overall, of the 1,012 Dubliners who landed, only 11 would survive the entire Gallipoli campaign unscathed. The campaign casualties (according to Wikipedia) were 21,255 from the United Kingdom, estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.
- My Dad’s uncle, William Flynn Hynes (aka Hines)was at Gallipoli in the 1st Battalion of the RDF and was one of the many, many casualties. He was killed on 29th June 1915 and his memorial is at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Helles. William was 37 years old, and he and his family lived, like my parents, in Hackney. William left a widow and seven children.
- My Dad survived WW1 although he was treated for dysentry in hospital in the Middle East from Salonica and also contracted caught Malaria before he was posted to the BEF in 1917; he was injured in France in 1918 at Le Catelet with the BEF and was directed to work at the Woolwich Arsenal during WW2.
- My Dad’s brother John (aka Jack) served in the British Army throughout WW1 and at the end of the war he married Blanche and the couple then emigrated to Canada (Winnipeg area). Jack, a Sergeant, served during WW2 in the Canadian army and was quite badly injured. Jack’s son Reginald also served during WW2 in the Canadian forces. I met Jack briefly in the late 1950’s when he visited his mother (who was in her early 90’s) in the Lister Hospital in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Both Jack and his mother both passed away in the early 1960’s.
- I never really knew my cousin Harry Jones, as I was a baby when he died in 1945. He died when the Lancaster Bomber he was in as a flight engineer crashed into the grounds of a manor-house in the east of England. The accident happened just a few days before the war in Europe ended. The oldest of the crew was in his very early twenties. I certainly remember Harry-boy, even though I never really knew him in person.
It is normal at ANZAC as well British commemoration services to recite the the fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen“. This was written in 1914:-
They shall grow not old, as we that 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.