April 25th – Anzac Day

Earler this year one of the guest artists at our Folk Club was
Martyn Wyndham-Read and I told you all about the evening here

Anyway during that evening he sang a song
adapted from a poem written in 1916
about the thoughts Australian Soldiers (Diggers)
may have had about leaving their fallen mates at Gallipoli

This coming Monday is April 25th 2011 – Anzac Day 
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.
It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries.

One of my ancestors served at Gallipoli
unfortunately he died in France shortly after.
This is my tribute to all those who served and never returned home

Leaving Anzac
sung by Martyn Wyndham-Read accompanied by Iris Bishop

This is the poem written by
Cicely Fox Smith
in 1916
Farewell to Anzac
Oh, hump your swag and leave, lads, the ships are in the bay —
We’ve got our marching orders now, it’s time to come away —
And a long good-bye to Anzac Beach — where blood has flowed in vain
For we’re leaving it, leaving it, game to fight again!

But some there are will never quit this bleak and bloody shore —
And some that marched and fought with us will fight and march no more;
Their blood has bought till Judgment Day the slopes they stormed so well,
And we’re leaving them, leaving them, sleeping where they fell.

Leaving them, leaving them — the bravest and the best —
leaving them, leaving them, and maybe glad to rest!
We’ve done our best with yesterday, to-morrow’s still our own —
But we’re leaving them, leaving them, sleeping all alone!

Ay, they are gone beyond it all, the praising and the blame,
And many a man may win renown, but none more fair a fame;
They showed the world Australia’s lads knew well the way to die;
And we’re leaving them, leaving them, quiet where they lie.

Leaving them, leaving them, sleeping where they died;
Leaving them, leaving them, in their glory and their pride —
Round them sea and barren land, over them the sky,
Oh, We’re leaving them, leaving them, quiet where they lie!

Cicely Fox Smith
(pronounced “sigh-sli” as in precisely)

Edited to add:
This poem was obviously written after the infamous campaign directed by the British in an attempt to take Constantinople during WW1; a debacle that saw the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Forces at the incorrect location at Gallipoli, and which resulted in 11,000 Anzac casualties during the 9 months of fighting the Turks who were well entrenched on top of the steep cliffs at Anzac Cove and Lone Pine


6 thoughts on “April 25th – Anzac Day

  1. I am a Canadian who well knows of the Battle of Gallipoli and the significance for New Zealanders and Australians. In the great loss of this battle and the sacrifice of many young men, your two countries gained images of yourselves as Nations beyond mere colonies. The Battle of Vimy Ridge achieved the same thing for Canada.


  2. Nice to see you in the A2Z blogging challenge. I am not aware of the Anzac Day before your reading of this post and googled in the net to find. I felt very sorry and every country have this type of incidents in its history basket.In any war, solders are the final sufferers at the end – what ever may be the result of war.I am following your blog.Please do visit my blog and if your like please follow my blog.And provide with your valuable comments.


  3. Dear Cathy – thank you so, so much for this post. My great Uncle Thomas was at Ypres, and he survived through it all to come home to NZ. While over there Thomas sent his youngest sister,Elizabeth, a brooch made from shrapnel casing with a little gold for the Ypres banner. Elizabeth, known as Betty, was my paternal grandmother and I now have that brooch (I asked my folks at Xmas where it was as they used to have it in display – and I was given it).Right now the brooch is pinned beneath the ANZAC poppy on the jacket I have been wearing lately.WWII had two more Great Uncles away in the armed forces – and Walter and Fred got to come back too. I feel very fortunte.Sending much love and care, especialy knowing that your dear DH is another "Vet",Michelle xxxx and a pretend-sleeping Zebby (aww, bless him for his affection and patience)


  4. A wonderful tribute, Cathy. This was also a new one on me, also. The poem is very moving. We must remember all that have fallen.XXX


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