Category Archives: History

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

Anzac flag

April 25th is a solemn day of remembrance here in NZ and in Australia.  It marks the sacrifices made by members of ANZAC (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)  when they joined  to fight alongside Britain in the first World War.

Young men flocked to join up having no earthly idea of what they were getting themselves into, but filled with a fervour “For King and Country.”

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 192...

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 1922 shows the landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first deployment of the ANZACS  was at the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli.  The information the command  received about the terrain and an under estimation of the Turkish forces led to a disaster.  Nine months later the Allies withdrew leaving behind 46,000 dead.

“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.”
From Ode of Remembrance, taken from Laurence Binyon’s
“For the Fallen” first published in 1914.

This day is also commemorated in Turkey at Gallipoli where the cove has been renamed ANZAC Cove.  Many ex-servicemen and their families travel to Turkey each year.

And Waltzing Matilda?  This was the song played as the troops sailed out from Sydney, Australia at the start of that fateful enterprise.  Click here to hear John Williams singing “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.

I have written in more detail on this day both in 2011 and 2012.  It is a sad commentary on the people of the world that even after this “War to End All Wars” we still send our young men and women out to be slaughtered by ‘the enemy’.


Last post being sounded at North Beach, Gallipoli.
Photo Mike Bowers, Sydney Morning Herald

And now there are no more survivors from Gallipoli.
RIP all the fallen and

Alec Campbell
Last Gallipoli survivor from Australia
(died May 2002 aged 103)

Alfred Douglas Dibley
Last Gallipoli survivor from New Zealand
(died 18 December 1997 aged 101)

See other posts:

A Man on the Moon!

“Young girl in Calcutta barely eight years old
The flies that swarm the market place will see she don’t get old
Don’t you know she heard it on that July afternoon
She heard a man named Armstrong had walked upon the moon”
Lyrics by John Stewart.

I am quite sure that everyone over the age of 50 can tell you where they were on that July day in 1969 when man first walked on the moon.  If you are not old enough or if you just want to relive that time watch this video.

I know where I was.  In a Holiday Inn in Montreal.  Having arrived with 2 small children from New Zealand via the UK, we were ensconced in two units while we decided on where to buy a house.  It was a very warm day and the children were playing outside and paddling in the pool waiting for me so that they could go into the swimming pool, while I sat goggle-eyed watching the scratchy video footage on this amazing event.

The audio and vision of the great moment came to us all through the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station just outside Canberra, from where it went right around the planet and people everywhere stopped what they were doing to marvel at this feat.

And over the years we have heard little or nothing about Neil Armstrong, the reluctant celebrity.  He lived his life quietly in Ohio away from the glare of publicity.

Then in 2011, Alex Malley the CEO of CPA Australia scooped a rare interview with Armstrong.  The interview was to mark the 125th year of CPA existence.  In fact, the interview was broadcast in four parts and was aired in Australia and worldwide. During the interview, Armstrong talked about his love of flying and his determination to get a pilot’s licence at 15, his feelings about being part of the US Space Programme and how it was to land on the moon.

And now we hear that this stellar figure of modern history (if history can be termed modern) had died following cardiac surgery at the age of 82.  His family called him a “reluctant American hero who served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut.”

“And I wonder if a long time ago somewhere in the universe
They watched a man named Adam walk upon the earth”