Saturday, April 24, 2010

APRIL 25th


He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the RSL,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his mates;
They were heroes, every one.
Although sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his mates listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife..
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It's so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys,
Went to battle, but we know,

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days..

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

thanks Gordon H


ANZAC Cove is a small cove on the Gallipoli Battlefield in Turkey.
Anzac cove in the Peninsula became famous as the site of World War I
landing of the ANZAC on April 25 1915.
The cove is a mere 600m long,
bounded by the headlands of Ari Burnu (sphinx) to the north
and Little Ari Burnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south.
Following the landing at Anzac Cove
, the beach became the main base for the Australian and New Zealand troops
for the eight months of the Battle of Gallipoli.
ANZAC Cove was always within kilometre of the front-line,
well within the range of Turkish artillery though spurs from the high ground
of Plugge's Plateau, which rose above Ari Burnu,
provided some protection.
The first objective for soldiers coming ashore in enemy-held territory
was to establish a beachhead.
It was a safe section of beach protected from enemy attack
where supplies and extra troops could be safely brought ashore
. Commander of ANZAC, General William Birdwood,
made his headquarters in a gully overlooking the cove,
as did the commanders of the New Zealand and Australian Division
and the Australian 1st Division.
It was on 29 April that General Birdwood recommended
that the original landing site between the
two headlands be known as "ANZAC Cove"
and that the surrounding, hitherto nameless,
area occupied by his corps be known as "ANZAC".



D is for Digger
ANZAC was their official name,\

but ‘Digger’ is what the soldiers called themselves.
Where do you think the name came from?
No one really knows!
Some people think it was used because many soldiers
had worked in the goldfields of Ballarat and Bendigo before the war.
Others think is was used because of all of the digging in the trenches.
For whatever reason,
it is the name the soldiers preferred.
Today, if you call someone a Digger

it means they are your mate.


Now when I was a young lad I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
.From the Murray's green banks, to the dusty outback
While I waltzed my Matilda all over
.Then in 1915, my country said, 'Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done
.'So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war
.And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda,
'As the ship pulled away from the quay,
Amidst the songs and the cheers,
the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli
.And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand
we call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
.The big Turkish shell caught me arse over head,
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done,
well, I wished I was dead
Never knew there was worse things than dying.
So I'll go no more 'Waltzing Matilda,
'or through the green bush bars and wide
For to hunt and tent peg a man needs both legs
,No more 'Waltzing Matilda' for me
.They gathered the injured, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us all back to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
.And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay
,I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To mourn, and to grieve, and to pity.
And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
As they wheeled us down the gangway
.And nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
.And they all turned their faces away.
And the band still plays 'Waltzing Matilda,'
And the young men still answer the call,
But as year follows year,
those old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Mathilda, Waltzing Mathilda
Who'll come a-waltzing Mathilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who'll come a-waltzing Mathilda with me ?


The Last Post
If any of you have ever been to a military funeral
or Anzac Parade and ceremony in which The Last Post was played;
this brings out a new meaning of it.

Here is something everyone should know.

Until I read this, I didn't know,
but I checked it out and it's true:

We have all heard the haunting song, 'The Last Post'

It's the song that gives us the lump in our throats
and usually tears in our eyes.

But, do you know the story behind the song?

If not, I think you will be interested
to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the American Civil War,

when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men
near Harrison's Landing in Virginia .
The Confederate Army was on the
other side of the narrow strip of land.
During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier

who lay severely wounded on the field.
Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier,
the Captain decided to risk his life
and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.
Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire,
the Captain reached the stricken soldier
and began pulling him toward his encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines,

he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier,
but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath

and went numb with shock.
In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.
It was his own son.
The boy had been studying music in the South
when the war broke out.
Without telling his father,
the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken,

the father asked permission of his superiors
to give his son a full military burial,
despite his enemy status.
His request was only partially granted.
The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members

play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.
The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

But, out of respect for the father,

they did say they could give him only one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler.

He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes
he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.
This wish was granted.

The haunting melody,

we now know as 'The Last Post'
used at military funerals was born.

The words are:
Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.
Fading light
. Dims the sight
. And a star
. Gems the sky.
Gleaming bright.
From afar.
Drawing nigh.
Falls the night
. Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
As we go.
This we know.
God is nigh

I too have felt the chills

while listening to 'The Last Post'
but I have never seen all the words to the song until now.
I didn't even know there was more than one verse .
I also never knew the story behind the song
and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.
thanks Joan A


Vinvin said...

Thanks to all the diggers who came so far away from home to fight and die.

Phil, did you know there's an Australian Memorial in France and we celebrate Anzac Day too ?

Sandee said...

The Last Post was chilling.

Have a terrific day Phil. :)

Anonymous said...

Oops, the American version of that bugle call is "Taps" which is a different tune to the British version which dates back to the 1600's and is the original "Last Post".

Read this for an interesting take on Anzac Day. While recognising the sacrifice of so much of Australia's youth in the battle, I find a lot to agree with in this article. Bloody Churchill!

Once again I miss the dawn Service. Maybe next year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the history lesson. Aussies and Canucks continue to die in foreign wars that we didn't start; are we brave or just fools?

Phils Phun said...

Hi vinvin
The ANZAC services in France get excellent coverage in the media here.
The relationship between Aussies and those parts of France where battles occurred is strong.

Phils Phun said...

Hi Sandee
Thanks for that
Archie in the comments has pointed out that the article probably refers to "TAPS".
All the same its a great story

Phils Phun said...

G'day Archie
Thanks for that
When I think about it you are right. Should've checked myself.
Hows things up in the scrub??

Phils Phun said...

Hi David
Thanks my friend
Ihave sent you an interesting article that Archie sent me
Makes great reading

Phils Phun said...

Hi David
Thanks my friend
Ihave sent you an interesting article that Archie sent me
Makes great reading