Lest we Forget …

WWI Roll of Honour Wall at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

ANZAC Day, originally a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915, has grown to become perhaps the most important national day in Australia. In addition to recognising the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in war or on peacekeeping operations, ANZAC Day has become core to the identity of Australia itself, a day on which Australians reflect on the Anzac spirit and its place in Australia today. 

This ANZAC Day, we mark the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

Members of the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance practice boat drill off the island of Lemnos, Greece, in preparation for the landings at Gallipoli, April 1915

My Grandfather fought with the ANZACs at Gallipoli. 

He spoke very little of his experience but here is Dad's memory of his story...

Alfred Edgar Roberts was part of the British contingent sent to The Dardanelles to engage with the Turkish forces. He became part of the Allied landing at Gallipoli. 

Troops Landing At The beach. Photograph by Charles Bean at the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915.
As the British contingent were advancing into Turkish held territory one of the Turkish snipers managed to shoot him in the leg. The wound made it impossible for him to walk so he dragged himself into a gully to avoid being hit again by the sniper. 

Australian artillerymen dragging guns into position after the landing at Gallipoli, Turkey on 25 April 1915.Public domain photo by CEW Bean.

Two Aussie soldiers picked him up and dragged him back down to the beach where they had build a block house made of bully beef packing cases. The Aussie soldiers told him all their officers has been killed so they were fighting the Turks on their own. 

Image via Pinterest
He was eventually carried over to an area where the British were evacuating their wounded to a hospital ship. He was treated for his wounds on the ship and was taken back to England.

Landing at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915 courtesy of the Australian War Memorial
After a short recovery leave in the United Kingdom he was off again to the war, This time to France where the British were fighting a "trench war" against the German army. The Germans were using Mustard Gas as a weapon to drive the British back toward the French coast. Grandad unfortunately was fighting the war in this part of France and and suffered from the effects of the gas until he died in 1978.

A Royal Irish Fusilier at Gallipoli attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal his position. Photograph: Lt Ernest Brooks/ IWM via Getty Images
 He always praised the bravery of the Anzac's who assisted him in Gallipoli, who he credited with saving his life. He always had a high regard for Australians and was very proud that one of his sons immigrated to such a wonderful nation. 

x KL

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