Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Let's Stand For Those Men We Call The "Anzacs"

I caused a bit of consternation around here at home this morning, I think. My two cats aren't used to seeing me go out at 4.30am. Both were hovering around the back door when I returned from the Dawn Service, having spent the time of my absence discussing with each other the strangeness of my behaviour, no doubt. The three of us tripped over each other as we stumbled to come inside and, even though I'd given them some breakfast before I went out, they were eager for more, so I bowed to their superior knowledge.

Again, this year the folk of the mountain showed up in droves at the Service. The only face I recognised amongst the ever-increasing crowd was our local councillor. This is the fifth Dawn Service I've attended here on the mountain and the crowd must have doubled or more in size. (number, not obesity!)

I wish people would stop doing things to trigger off my urge to giggle! They do it on purpose, I'm sure, because they know I'm uncontrollable!

Everyone was standing, candles in their hands, singing "Abide With Me" (I didn't want to scare the guy next to me, so I just silently read the words. He must have felt similar as he didn't sing along, either)...but voices rang clear and strong through the early morning mountain air until....silence. I'm not sure if it was the lone piano-accordion player or the Pastor who was leading the hymn...but one of them...or perhaps both...forgot there was another verse! And there stood everyone...mouths half-open, waiting to be led into the third verse. A quiet voice came through the microphone, "There's another verse." And everyone continued again where they left off! The two fellows next to me cast sideways glances at me with stupid looks on their faces. I wish they hadn't done that!

Once again this year we beat the kookaburras in starting their day. This happens every year and it's wonderful. The bugler began playing the first notes of the "Last Post". In the tall gum trees guarding the Tamborine Mountain War Memorial, the kookaburras loudly, proudly sang out their glorious rejoicing, heralding the dawning of a new day. It seems so fitting...so "true blue" Australian. There's not much that is more "Australian" than the 'laughter" of kookaburras first thing in the early morning light....or their final salute at the setting of the sun.

May our men and women in far distant places always hear the call of the kookaburras, leading them back home to safety.


  1. Sounds a very touching service, Lee, and none the less so for the hitch.. I mime words to hymns, too, as I'm always so scared of being off-key!

  2. Great report Lee. It brought tears to my eyes. Isn't it wonderful that the crowd is growing each year?

  3. Welsh...I KNOW I'm going to be off-key! I told the guy next to me when I took up the chair beside him I would torture him with my singing! lol

    Yes, jmb...it is wonderful that the crowds are growing each year...it's happening throughout the country. And the number of young people and kiddies with their parents is great to see, as well.

  4. Well, here's a toast from a home brewed Cooper's ale to the ANZACS, Charles Upham, and the Coast Watchers. We owe them quite a lot.


  5. Thanks, Gto...here's looking at you! I raise my glass of rum and milk to all our fine men and women of the Forces, past and present.

  6. What a lovely service that sounds like.

  7. It was, Serena...there's something special about a Dawn Service...always.

  8. Remember: it was the Galahs that sent them there in the first place.

  9. Well, Lee...I'm glad the "Galahs" brought our boys back to help secure our borders in the Second World War...I take my hat off to all the brave diggers that trekked and fought along the Kokoda Trail...and those that held the Japanese at bay from invading Australia. Remember,the sinking of the Centaur off Moreton Island...

    "On 12 May 1943 the Centaur sailed unescorted from Sydney at 0945 hours carrying her crew and normal staff, as well as stores and equipment of the 2/12th Field Ambulance but no patients. It was sunk without warning by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943 at approximately 0400 hours, its position being approximately 27°17' S, 153°58' E about 50 miles east north-east of Brisbane.

    Of the 332 persons on board, only 64 survived. These survivors spent 35 hours on rafts before being rescued. Sister Ellen Savage, the only one of twelve nursing sisters on board to survive, though injured herself, gave great help to the other survivors and was awarded the George Medal for this work."
    And this....

    "At 3.45 am on 30 May 1942, a Japanese float-plane, piloted by 27 year old Flying Warrant Officer Susumu Ito, was launched from submarine I-21. By 4:20 a.m. the floatplane, burning navigation lights, circled twice over Sydney Harbour near where the USS Chicago was anchored. It was initially thought to be an American plane but eventually some fighters were sent up to intercept the plane. Another plane was also reported at Newcastle. Neither could be found.

    At sunset on Sunday 31 May 1942, there were five Japanese submarines positioned off the New South Wales coast near Sydney. Japanese mother submarines I-22, I-24, and I-27 launched midget submarines about 12 kms east of Sydney. I-21 and I-29 were the other two submarines supporting the attack on Sydney Harbour.

    Submarine I-21 later took part in an attack of a different kind when it shelled Newcastle on 8 June 1942. On the same night Submarine 1-24 also shelled the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
    At 8 p.m. midget submarine No. A14 was detected by an electronic indicator loop but was ignored due to other small boat traffic. The submarine became caught in the western sector of the anti-submarine net. The Japanese crew detonated a demolition charge killing themselves.

    At 9:48 p.m. another inward crossing was reported but again ignored. It was midget submarine A from I-24 (M24). At 10:27 all vessels in the harbour were alerted of the submarines presence. USS Chicago spotted the submarine and fired on it with tracers from its pom pom guns. At the same time midget No. A21 was entering the harbour. The auxiliary naval patrol boat Lauriana, a peace-time motor cruiser and another patrol vessel, the Yandra tried to ram the midget and attacked it with depth charges.

    Sydney ferry Kuttabul

    At 11:10 p.m. HMAS Geelong fired at midget submarine A (M24), just before it fired 2 torpedoes at USS Chicago. One exploded under an old ferry, HMAS Kuttabul, killing 19 sailors and wounding 10. The other torpedo ran up on to the shore and failed to explode.

    At 3:00 a.m., USS Chicago spotted midget No. A21 which had been battered by depth charges as it entered the harbour. Several craft attacked it with depth charges. It was later found disabled on the harbour floor with its motor still running. The 2 crew had shot themselves. Nine areas in Sydney were damaged by shells fired from the submarines."

    What about the bombing of Darwin...the Battle of the Coral Sea...Midway?

    It's easy to forget what our parents went through during those dark days....particularly those who lived in the northern areas of Australia,living their nights in fear of air raids.

    It's easy to forget now, as most of us sit back in relative comfort, that if it had not been for our people in the Armed Forces...our lives would be a lot different.

    As I said in my other blog, FauxNEWS....

    "It’s so sad…and war goes on and on. Will man ever cease killing man? But the fight for freedom has to go on or their lives and deaths have been in vain.

    We must remain who we are…who we were…and that is worth fighting for."

    Thanks for commenting, Lee. :)

  10. Fabulous post, Lee, brought a tear to my eyes.

  11. Hey, Robyn...not sure if I should say I'm glad I brought a tear to your eye...but I am glad you like my post. Thanks to you...I'm having a drink...! ;)

  12. Hi Lee ~~ A coule of excellent posts for Anzac Day. Thank you for the effort yo put into both. I love
    Kookaburras, there is nothing like their "laugh" that we grew up with.
    Thanks for your comments and I sure
    hope the Sweet Peas grow and later flower and I also like their scent.
    Take care,Lee, Love, Merle.

  13. Now that's excellent value Lee, we got three posts for the price of two... and all good stuff.

  14. Hi Merle...I'm sure your home will soon be filled with the blossoms of the Sweet Peas and their aroma. Thanks for your comment. :)

  15. Gidday Lee,
    Nice post on Anzac Day. I must have a voice similar to yours, because as soon as I begin singing (?) all the dogs in the neighbourhood start ahowling!!

  16. Apologies for the lateness, but cheers to you all from Houston. I caught your comment about the Aussies on LST the other day, Lee. I agree with you. Australia has always been an awesome ally of the United States and calling that into question was out of line.

    Don't feel bad about the voice Lee. I don't have one either. I can play several instruments, but unfortunately my own voice isn't one of them.

  17. Anonymous10:16 AM

    I enjoyed your post. Least we forget. Your boys were in Vietnam also.

  18. Hi there, Peter...yes one of my comments in here could have been a post on it's own! ;)

    Wazza...good to see you...we should form a choir! Hehehehe!

    The Dude...good to see you...I must admit I did bristle when Aus was linked into the rest of that post in LST...I thought it unfair and had to say my bit! Thanks for comment and thanks for giving my blog a plug in HeadShaker's. :)

    Hi Steve...yes, our boys were in Vietnam and the marched proudly yesterday in the Anzac Day parades.

  19. Hey, I'm learning something from my blogging buddies. I actually recognized the kookabura when you posted it this time. Now, if I can just learn how to spell his name....

  20. Heya Corn Dog...you're getting there. ;)