Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. It is the day we remember all Australians and New Zealanders who died in all wars, Conflicts and Peacekeeping Operations; Anzac Day might have Originated from Gallipoli but is now commemorated by all forces: Army, Navy and Air Force, for all service personnel that have fought and died for their country.
Anzac Day is one of Australia's most important National Commemorative occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australia and New Zealand forces during the First World War: the landing of our troops on the shores of Gallipoli at Anzac Cove on the 25th April 1915.
Gallipoli tends to seem strange to outsiders, as it appears to be a celebration of Australia and New Zealand's greatest defeat, but rather it is a commemoration of those who died serving their countries in battle.
Although Anzac Day is a military day, it is simply a time for Australians and New Zealanders to remember the anguish of war, build bridges with past enemies, and praise the character of soldiers who did it tough, but showed great character in the face of adversity.
The human aspect of Anzac Day can be attributed to the fact that it originated with veterans themselves, rather than being politically motivated, on the 25th of April 1923 in Albany, Western Australia. The Reverend White led a party of friends in what was to be the first Anzac Dawn Service. The date was the Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, a failed invasion of Turkey which cost 7,600 lives of Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders. It wasn't until 1927 that the first official service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph.
Although the Gallipoli Campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australia and New Zealanders actions during the Campaign left us with a powerful legacy, the creation what became known as the "Anzac Legend" an important part of the identity of both Australia and New Zealand.
Dawn is central to the Anzac Day Service as it was a favoured time for attack. Another central feature of Anzac Day is a paragraph taken from a poem:
- "Ode for the Fallen"
- "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."
At 11am on the 11th November 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. In November, the Germans called for an Armistice (suppension of fighting). In order to secure a peace settlement, they accepted the Allies terms of unconditional surrender. Remembrance Day in Australia is an occasion to Commemorate and remember all Australians who died as a result of War on the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11 Month. A minute's silence is observed and dedicated to those Military Personnel who died fighting to protect our Nation. Traditionally sprigs of Rosemary are worn on Anzac Day and sometimes on Remembrance Day. Rosemary is usually handed out by the RSL and Legacy. Rosemary has particular significance to Australians and New Zealanders as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
New Zealand's national day of remembrance is Anzac Day, the 25th April, "Poppy Day". The reason for the oddity of New Zealand having their remembrance on Anzac Day happened in 1921. The paper Poppies for Armistice that year arrived by ship too late for 11th November, 1921 so an RSA branch distributed them at the next commemoration date (25th April, 1922 which happened to be Anzac Day) and that date stuck as the new Poppy Day in New Zealand.
The Victoria Cross is Australia and New Zealand's highest Military Honour The Victoria Cross is awarded to persons who, in the presence of the enemy, display the most conspicuous gallantry, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour, self sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty.
Australians have been awarded the Victorian Cross in the following conflicts:
- 6 in the Boer War 1899-1902
- 64 in World War One 1914-1918
- 2 in North Russia 1919
- 20 in World War Two 1939-1945
- 4 in Vietnam 1962-1972
- 3 in Afghanistan 2001-present.
New Zealanders have been awarded the Victoria Cross in the following conflicts:
- 1 New Zealand War 1864
- 1 Boer War 1901
- 11 World War One 1914-1918
- 8 World War Two 1939-1945
- 1 Afghanistan 2001-present.
"Digger" is an Australian and New Zealand Military slang term for Soldiers from Australia and New Zealand. It originated in World War One. "Digger" and "Dig" were used by Soldiers as friendly terms of address equivalent to "Cobber" and "Mate". Accounts of the soldiers bravery, suffering and the larrikin spirit in the First World War fused together to form the enduring image of the Aussie Digger.
Proudly worn by the Soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Force in both World Wars, "the Rising Sun" Badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition. The distinctive shape of the Badge, worn on the upturned side of a Slouch Hat, is commonly identified with the spirit of Anzac. The Rising Sun has evolved over time and today Australian Army Soldiers wear the seventh pattern
Rising Sun. The Photo is of the First Army Hat Badge to use the Rising Sun. It was introduced in 1901 and remained in Service for a short time the badge was referred to as the Commonwealth Horse Hat Badge, being first worn by Soldiers of the various Commonwealth Horse Units who were destined for South Africa in 1902.
In WWI, New Zealand initially mounted an Expeditionary Force (1st NZEF) of 17 Infantry Regiments, 12 Mounted Rifle Regiments, Artillery, Medical, Corps and Specialist units etc. The force was further reinforced all of which had their own hat and collar insignia. This force was known as the 34ths. The insignia for the 34th Reinforcements 1917 was adopted throughout the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force as it gave a sense of identity to all the soldiers. This insignia became known as the 1st NZEF badge and used the motto "Expeditionary Force" for the scroll under the insignia, "Onward". In contrast, the other main NZ badge from WWI appears to be taken from the hat badge used by the British Section of the 1st NZEF 1914, which was made up of New Zealanders who signed up in England but wanted to serve in a NZ Regiment. This badge used an Oak leaf pattern instead of the NZ Fern leaf and used the motto "Onward" in the bottom scroll instead of "Expeditionary Force".
The Slouch Hat became standard issue headress in 1903 and became a famous symbol of the Aussie fighting Soldier during World War One and continued to be worn throughout World War Two,its use since that time has made it a National Symbol.
General Bridges, the first Commander of the first Australian Imperial Force, was found wearing his Slouch Hat back to front when found fatally wounded at Gallipoli. As a mark of respect and Remembrance for Bridges, when the Slouch Hat is worn at Royal Military College-Duntroon it has become traditional to wear the chinstrap buckle on the right hand side of the face and the brim down. However, when the Slouch Hat is worn ceremonially for example, Anzac Day, it is worn in accordance with wider Army Custom - brim up and chinstrap buckle on the left hand side.
The iconic Kiwi lemon squeezer hat was introduced by one of New Zealand’s outstanding soldiers of the Gallipoli Campaign, Lieutenant Colonel William George Malone who was KIA during the Battle of Chunuk Bair 1915. Originally for his Taranaki Rifles Regiment, the hat was designed to mirror the outline of Mount Taranaki and also to allow run off in the rain. The hat went on to be adopted first by Malone’s Wellington Regiment and later by the rest of the New Zealand Infantry Division on 1st January 1916.
Worn on Remembrance Day (11 November) each year, the red Poppies were amongst the first to flower in the devastated battlefields of Northern France and Belgium in the First World War. In soldiers folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their Comrades soaking the ground.
- Australians wear Poppies on Remembrance Day for three reasons:
First, in Memory of the sacred dead who rest in Flanders Fields;
Second, to keep alive the Memories of the sacred cause for which they laid down their lives;
Third, a bond of esteem and affection between the Soldiers of all Allied Nations and in respect for France our common battle ground.
- "In Flanders Field" (The first verse)
- In Flanders Field the poppies blow
- Between the crosses, row on row ++++++
- That mark our place, and in the sky
- The Larks, still bravely singing, fly
- Scarce heard amid the guns below.
- Written by:
- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918)
In Military tradition the Last Post is the Bugle call that signifies the end of the days activities. It is also sounded at Military funerals to indicate a Soldier has gone to his final rest and at commemorative services such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
Two minute silence was first Observed in Australia on the first Anniversary of the Armistice and continues to be observed on Remembrance Day 11 November.
Over the years the Two Minute silence has also been incorporated into Anzac Day and other Commemorative Ceremonies.
Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. Legacy currently care for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.
The original Unknown Soldier was entombed in Westminster Abby in London on the 11th November 1920. Plans to honour an unknown Australian soldier were first put forward in 1920 but it wasn't until 1993 that one was at last brought home.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the body of an unknown Australian soldier was recovered from Adelaide Cemetery near Villers-Bretonneux in France and transported to Australia. The Unknown Soldier was interred in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial on the 11 November 1993. The Unknown Soldier represents all Australians who have been killed in wars.
The New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is at the National War Memorial Wellington. The remains of the Warrior, one of 18,166 New Zealand Casualties during World War One, were exhumed on the 10th October, 2004 from the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, near where the New Zealand Division fought in 1916. The Warrior is one of more than 1,500 New Zealanders killed at the Somme, France, most of the 1,272 remain unidentified.