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.
In 1943 Anzac Day, April 25, fell on the same day as Easter. Anzac Day commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I. Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.
New York City saw its first public observance of Anzac Day that year as some 300 Australian airmen and sailors marched in the Easter Parade and were cheered by the crowds lining the parade route. Anzac Day observances in Australia and New Zealand were muted that year, due to the day falling on Easter, and so many men were away fighting in the War.
American audiences had become familiar with the courage of Anzac troops by viewing the documentary Kokoda Front Line, the video at the beginning of this post, which memorialized the struggle of Australian troops fighting in New Guinea. Damien Parer, the cinematographer on the film won an Oscar for the film in 1943. He would die on September 17, 1944, age 32, filming Marines in combat on Peleliu
In Melbourne, Australia on Anzac Day, the US 1st Marine Division marched through the streets in honor of the day to the cheers of their Australian hosts.
Australian POWs spent a grim Anzac Day beginning the construction of a section of the Burma-Thailand railroad known as Hellfire Pass. Japan used Allied POWS as slave labor during the War and some 13,000 Australians labored on the railroad, approximately 2650 dying from starvation rations, disease, beatings and random murder by their captives. Hellfire Pass alone cost the lives of 700 Allied POWs, 69 of the men being beaten to death.
In North Africa the men of the New Zealand division spent the day fighting in Tunisia as the war in North Africa was coming to a victorious close for the Allies.
On Easter Sunday and Anzac Day in 1943, much bitter fighting remained, but people in the Allied countries began to believe that the tide was beginning to turn.