As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Something for the weekend, The Last Post. One hundred years ago the Gallipoli campaign began. Australian, New Zealand, British and French troops would slug it out for over eight months in ferocious fighting over the Dardanelles, the pathway to Constantinople and perhaps an early end to the Great War. Although unsuccessful, the raw courage, tenacity and resourcefulness of the Australian and New Zealand troops were sources of pride for their young nations and they are remembered each April 25 on Anzac Day.
It is remembered by me each year as a salute to the courage and self sacrifice it honors.
At the beginning of the war the New Zealand and Australian citizen armies, illustrating the robust humor of both nations, engaged in self-mockery best illustrated by this poem:
We are the ANZAC Army
We cannot shoot, we don’t salute
What bloody good are we ?
And when we get to Ber – Lin
The Kaiser, he will say
Hoch, Hoch, Mein Gott !
What a bloody odd lot
to get six bob a day.
The Anzac troops referred to themselves as “six bob a day tourists”. By the end of World War I no one was laughing at the Anzacs. At the end of the War a quarter of the military age male population of New Zealand had been killed or wounded and Australia paid a similarly high price. Widely regarded as among the elite shock troops of the Allies, they had fought with distinction throughout the war, and added to their reputation during World War II. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the German Desert Fox, rated the New Zealanders as the finest troops he ever saw.