Monday, April 23, 2018

KEEP TELLING THE STORIES...LEST WE FORGET...


Anzac Cove, Gallipoli
Gympie's Memorial Gates and Memorial Park
Major General The Honourable Sir Thomas William Glasgow
Villers-Bretonneux


The amount of tears I’ve shed when listening to Herbert Marshall’s narration of Paul Gallico’s story  - “The Snow Goose” would fill Hinze Dam.  The recording, produced in 1948, had pride of place during my childhood. 

To this day, each time I read the novella tears flow. 

Over the years I’ve gifted the book to children of my friends with the belief every child should be familiar with the inspirational tale about Philip Rhayader, the reclusive, disabled artist living in an abandoned lighthouse in the Essex marshlands. The story, which includes Fritha, the shy young local lass who found the wounded snow goose, is one filled with pathos, symmetry, hope and tragedy.  Setting aside her timidity, Fritha took the injured bird to Rhayader.  As he nurses the injured bird to good health, Fritha pays regular visits.  A trusting, respectful friendship between the reticent artist and the reserved child grows day by day. 

In 1971, BBC-TV turned “The Snow Goose” into a film, featuring Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter.

Even as I write about this beautiful, poignant story emotion overcomes me.

The Snow Goose, its injuries healed, guides the humble, disabled Philip Rhayader who, in his tiny sailboat, traverses the English Channel - time and time again - selflessly ferrying Allied soldiers to safety during the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk, northern France, during the early stages of the Second World War.

A few weeks ago I read about Honorế, a young French orphan boy.  On Christmas Day 1918, Honoré wandered into Germany’s Bickendorf Base where Aussie airmen were eating.  The boy explained his family had been killed at the beginning of the war.   

After the young boy stumbled into their base, the Aussies took care of him for a few months. They called him “Henri” because they had difficulty pronouncing “Honoré”. 

Tim Tovell, one of the airmen, became close to the boy.  Tovell smuggled Honorế back to Australia in May, 1919.  He hid Henri in an oats bag, and then in a basket on a troopship headed for Australia.  When Henri was discovered the captain agreed to keep the lad’s presence a secret.

Once safely back on Aussie soil, Tim and his wife adopted Henri.

Henri lived in Queensland with his new family for five years.

In 1924 Henri moved to Melbourne. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force, firstly as an office boy at Victoria Barracks, then as an apprentice mechanic. 

Aussie author, Anthony Hill tells the heartrending story in his book, “Young Digger”. 
Tragically, in 1928, aged around 21 years, Henri was killed in a motorcycle accident. 

Inexplicably, in the 1950s, his original gravesite at Melbourne’s Faulkner Cemetery was vandalised.  Victoria’s RAFF Association and the federal government restored Henri’s grave in 2009; and a new headstone was inaugurated in honour of Honorế.  

Until four years ago I physically attended the Dawn Service. 

Along with our mother and grandmother, when my late brother, Graham and I were children, throughout our childhood years we attended the Dawn Service every Anzac Day. 

The Dawn Services were held at Gympie’s Memorial Gates, which are the entry to the pathway that leads across to Gympie’s Memorial Park.   The Dawn Service is still held at “The Park Gates”.  

After school on the eve of Anzac Day, Graham and I would make a wreath from the chrysanthemums that blossomed in our garden.  Our wreath would join the others placed at the site the following morning.

Even though, over these past few years, I no longer attend the local Dawn Service here on the mountain in person, I do attend from afar...always in spirit, if not in the physical form. 

To me, Anzac Day is a sacred day.  I devote the whole day, my way, alone, by choice, in memory of those who have served our country in the many conflicts; those who still serve, and those who will, sadly, have to continue doing so in the future.

Many tears are shed throughout the day...of them I am not ashamed, nor am I embarrassed.

Before the crack of dawn, from when television coverage commences early Anzac Day morning...I begin watching the televised services...from around 4.15 am forward. 

Thenceforth, I watch the various services, including the always beautiful, stirring Currumbin Beach Service.  The coverage then leads onto the Brisbane’s Anzac Day march.  My viewing doesn’t cease at the end of the march.  

From there, I watch the live telecast of the emotion-filled Dawn Service at Gallipoli; from there, I then become engrossed by the moving Villers-Bretonneux service in tribute to the Aussie Diggers, along with their mates from New Zealand, who fought on the Western Front.

It is the least I can do in respect of the brave deeds and sacrifices made by so many....


The Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux will be opened, this Anzac Day...25th April, 2018....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Glasgow_(general)

(Major General The Honourable Sir Thomas William Glasgow KCB, CMG, DSO, VD (6 June 1876 – 4 July 1955) was a senior Australian Army officer and politician. Glasgow rose to prominence during the First World War as a brigade and later divisional commander on the Western Front. Post-war, he was elected to the Australian Senate, representing Queensland as a Nationalist Party member from 1919 to 1931, before appointment as Australian High Commissioner to Canada.
William Glasgow was born at Tiaro, near Maryborough, Queensland, on 6 June 1876, the fourth child an Ulster Scots farmer. He was educated at One Mile State School in Gympie, Queensland, and Maryborough Grammar School. After leaving school he went to work as a junior clerk in the office of a mining company in Gympie. Later he worked as a clerk in the Queensland National Bank in Gympie.
After returning to Australia, Glasgow formed a partnership with his younger brother Alexander, and they took over his father's grocery store in Gympie. On 21 April 1904, he married Annie Isabel, the daughter of Jacob Stumm, the Federal member for Lilley. He tired of storekeeping and bought a cattle station in central Queensland.
In 1903, Glasgow organised the 13th Light Horse Regiment at Gympie. He was promoted to captain in 1906 and major on 6 May 1912. When war broke out in 1914, he was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force with the rank of major in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment on 19 August 1914.[2] He embarked for Egypt on 24 September 1914 where his regiment trained until called forward for dismounted service at Anzac Cove.)  See more information on the site given above...

Man’s inhumanity to man is never-ending.  Humans prove over and over again they’re unable to live in peace; incapable of living in peace.
 
Thousands of stories emerge from the brutality of war - stories that are simultaneously inspirational and heartbreaking. 
 
Wednesday, 25th April, is Anzac Day
. 
For me, Anzac Day is one of the most important dates on our calendar, if not the most important. 

Let us never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women of our Defence Force, past and present – and future.
 
Members of our Defence Force deserve our respect, moral support and gratitude...as do their families and loved ones for the sacrifices they’ve made, and continue making...



LEST WE FORGET.....


Currumbin Dawn Service, Gold Coast, Queensland




28 comments:

  1. Lovely Lee.
    Haven't read that book or had I heard of it.
    Always went to Dawn Service when I went to school, never missed - and several times since..

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    1. Hello, Margaret....Yes...Anzac Day is a very special day. It resonates with me...stirs me deeply.

      Thank you for coming by. :)

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  2. That's a very fitting tribute. I was not familiar with either story. The narration of The Snow Goose is available to hear on Youtube. Very odd about the vandalised grave. Maybe just random. The Bearded Famous Media Person/Senator Neighbour was telling me about his forthcoming trip to Villers-Bretonneux and he was very much looking forward to it.

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    1. Hi, Andrew....Yes, I know Marshall's narration (along with others) is available on YouTube). Over the past few days I've been playing it.

      Random or not...to do something like that is disgusting. Some idiot, ignorant young fools only last night, in Box Hill, Melbourne took wreaths away from a Memorial site, laughing at their irreverent actions. I feel so, so angry...fools!

      A good friend of mine visited Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day about six years ago....he said what he felt was indescribable...and I can understand that.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/teenagers-take-wreaths-from-box-hill-war-memorial-site/news-story/ab4ea0c30bc1f0d2117ef92d912732e9

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  3. It will be a sad Anzac Day in my neck of the woods. The neighbour who died recently was a proud Vietnam Veteran. His wife will have salt rubbed in her wounds on Wednesday as she watches the parade.

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    1. Oh, EC...it certainly will be. Tomorrow will be exceedingly difficult for her...very, very sad; but I'm sure she will also feel a great depth of pride....and rightly so.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. The story of Honore is very moving!
    Australians fought anywhere in the world. In Israel we too have an ANZAC memorial,in the south near the border with Gaza strip, and it's quite a popular site. I visited there two years ago and mentioned it in one of my posts - The Red South (type the word Anzac in my search tag on the sidebar, and you get to it).

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    1. It is very moving, I agree, DUTA. Apparently there are two books written about his story, and I must read them both.

      I wasn't aware there was/is an Anzac Memorial in Israel. That's so very interesting to know.

      I've just gone in and read your post..."The Red South". What an amazing Memorial that is, just north of Be'eri/Beeri...a stunning structure. Thank you to the people of Israel, from me, our Aussie Diggers and our Kiwi/New Zealand mates for the respect shown to them, for their bravery and sacrifices made.

      I think the Memorial is quite wonderful tribute..an honour - I hope more Aussies and Kiwis are aware of its existence. I've certainly passed on this information to friends.

      Thank you for coming by. :)

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  5. I'm going to be very UN-Australian and say I'm ready to forget. Those wars were supposed to bring peace to the world, but do we have peace? No. We have criminals and terrorists driving through hordes of people, blowing up places, kidnappings, beheadings etc.

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    1. Thank you for coming by, River.

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  6. If only leaders - political or otherwise - would learn the meaning of those three simple words - "Lest We Forget". The best memorial to all who tragically lost their lives in military conflicts would be a peaceful world with no more war. You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...

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    1. Imagine....

      If only it could, and would be so....if only everyone would learn...but, sadly, it appears humans in all stations of life will never learn...

      Yes....just imagine...

      Thanks for coming by, Yorkie. :)

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  7. Just stopping by and looking at your photos - you get some really good ones there.

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    1. I hope you stop by again, Sandie...and read the words...which explain the pictures, and, which, I think, paint a better, if not sadder, picture.


      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I commend you for remembering the fallen and those who have served to protect your country. sadly today I found a post about a movie star who was against the vietnam war who caused many service men to be mistreated and ridiculed. Someone had the audacity of laughing at my post on fb. so many folks in our country are ignorant of the past and ridicule those who serve to protect them and those who help to protect other democratic countries.

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    1. G'day, Linda...that person who laughed at your FB post most certainly is ignorant. She has much to learn about everything it seems...and one of the first lessons she should learn is respect.

      Jane Fonda was a traitor to her country during the Vietnam War...I won't watch her movies etc. Naven't done so for many long years.

      I have always respected our Service men and women...and I always will have respect for them. I have respect for the men and women who have served in our Allied Forces, too...of which the US is one.

      Those who disrespect our men and women of our Defence Force, past, present and future I would willingly put into a leaky canoe with a teaspoon as a paddle, and send them off out to sea, off the wherever else they prefer to be.

      Thanks for coming by, Linda. :)

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  9. A fitting post and tribute...

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I appreciate your comment. :)

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  10. A brilliant story. Anzac Day has more meaning now. It must be a sad day on April 25th for you but to remember is to show respect. That’s all you can give but at least you show respect which is all you can do. A great account and well worth a read. I am humbled by their dedication and yours too.

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    1. Thank you, Terry.

      We all should never forget those who gave their all, and those who give their all....I have great respect and gratitude for our men and women of our Defence Force...past and present.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Lovely Tribute! To be honest don't know much about Anzac Day, but will have to look into it now.

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  12. Hi Kelleyn...you obviously aren't in Australia, then. I can't find where you are...but thank you. :)

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  13. As I come from a long military line, I agree with all you say. I feel that here in Britain not enough is done for ex soldiers, even though they are admired and honoured by the population. How sad that Henri should come through all that and then die so young. I am lucky to have lived my life so far in peaceful places.

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    1. Hello, Jenny...You and me both re living, so far, in peaceful places. As you can see from what I've written I have respect for our members of our Defence Force...our own and those of our allies...I always have had, and I always shall have respect for them.

      Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your words. :)

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  14. I do think it's wonderful that despite our differences in the U.S., all can agree that military service is honorable and veterans should be treated with special regard. It would be nice however if there were no need for armies and such.

    I have to confess that I had to Google ANZAC as I wasn't quite sure of the significance. Then I saw the traditional importance of the dawn service you attended.

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi, Dave...Of course it would be wonderful if there was no need for a Defence Force...in any country. Sadly, that will never be...because of human behaviour since the world began.

      It angers me when people disrespect our members of the Defence Force. They deserve our support in every way.

      It's always nice to hear from you...thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. Touching story... it gives me hope. The older I get the more peaceful I become. I used to trust those in power, thinking if there was a war it was because there had to be. You know what? There doesn't have to be.

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