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100th ANZAC Day

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What a remarkable synchronicity! Just today I was talking to a friend, and he mentioned there was a new movie out, and it was about Gallipoli. In turn, that led to my telling him about "Breaker Morant," of which he knew nothing, and that it was at Gallipoli the Aussies more or less acquired their moniker the "Diggers." Every time I see or read about that assault landing I cringe.

Nice piece in The Guardian



John Kettler

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And while ANZACs were in their special inferno, the Irish rose up in Dublin, as detailed in "Foggy Dew." The actual song begins at 1:22, but why the Irish arose is explained starting at 3:00. Believe you will find it is highly related to the OP. This rendering of the song gave me chills.


John Kettler

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Actually the Irish Easter uprising began in 1916, pretty much all British forces were evacuated from the Dardanelles by January of that year.


I must admit none of these posts (including mine) have anything to do with Normandy or NW Europe in 1944-45.

Edited by Nidan1
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The Easter Uprising came after a series of bloody battles in which Irish blood was shed profusely for what many Irish viewed as the benefit of the oppressor and occupier, Britain. Many Irish didn't see World War I as being their business or their war. The lyrics, written in 1919, reflect this from the perspective of terrible Irish losses, with the two named being but examples, as seen elsewhere in the lyrics.


Right proudly high over Dublin Town they hung out the flag of war

'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar

And from the plains of Royal Meath strong men came hurrying through

While Britannia's Huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew

Oh the night fell black, and the rifles' crack made perfidious Albion reel

In the leaden rain, seven tongues of flame did shine o'er the lines of steel

By each shining blade a prayer was said, that to Ireland her sons be true

But when morning broke, still the war flag shook out its folds in the foggy dew

'Twas England bade our wild geese go, that "small nations might be free";

Their lonely graves are by Suvla's waves or the fringe of the great North Sea.

Oh, had they died by Pearse's side or fought with Cathal Brugha*

Their graves we'd keep where the Fenians sleep, 'neath the shroud of the foggy dew.

To bring this back to the ANZACs, they led the way at Gallipoli. Two Irish divisions, which landed at Suvla Bay, were the final effort to win the battle. The landing at Suvla Bay was intended to make a breakout possible for the ANZACs.


The chronology is reversed in the song, though, for the Irish were the doorkickers at Cape Helles landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula oppositethe ANZACs. Here's what happened there.


V Beach[edit]

Covering force[edit]

V Beach about two days after the landing, seen from the bow of the River Clyde.

V Beach was 300 yards (270 m) long and 10 yards (9.1 m) wide with a low bank about 5 feet (1.5 m) high on the landward side. Cape Helles and Fort Etrugrul (Fort No. 1) were on the left and the old Sedd el Bahr castle (Fort No. 3) was on the right, looking from the sea and Hill 141 was inland. The beach had been wired and was defended by about a company of men from the 3rd Battalion of the 26th Regiment, equipped with four Maxim guns.[40] The first ashore was the 1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers which landed from ships boats that were towed or rowed ashore. The rest were landed from a Trojan horse, the SS River Clyde, a 4,000-long-ton (4,100 t) converted collier, which had eleven machine-guns on the bow. Sally ports had been cut in the hull to allow the men to embark via gangways.[41] The ship held two thousand men; the 1st Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers plus two companies of the 2nd Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment (from the 88th Brigade) and one company of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.[42]

The tows containing the Dubliners were delayed by the current and came in thirty minutes late at 6:30 a.m. The shore appeared lifeless following the bombardment but as the boats were about to land, the Ottoman defenders opened fire. Guns in the fort and castle enfiladed the beach and killed many of the men in the boats, some of which drifted away with no survivors. Many more casualties were suffered as the Dubliners waded ashore and some wounded men drowned. The survivors found shelter under the bank on the far side of the beach but most of the landing boats remained on the beach with their crews dead around them. Two platoons landed intact on the right flank at the Camber and several troops reached the village only to be overrun.[43] Of the 700 men in the landing, 300 were killed and many of the rest were wounded.[44] The River Clyde grounded just before the tows. To connect the collier to the shore, a steam hopper, the Argyll a flat-bottomed boat, was to beach ahead of it to provide a floating bridge connecting the gangplanks in the bow of the River Clyde to the beach but the Argyll swung out to port and ended up broadside to the beach. The captain of the River Clyde, Commander Edward Unwin, led men outside to manhandle three lighters (transport boats) on the starboard side forward instead. Two companies of Munsters emerged from the sally ports, covered by the machine-guns on the bow and moved down the gangways to reach the shore but many were hit by bullets. Some troops managed to get ashore and others were drowned due to the weight of their equipment. Around 9:00 a.m. another company made an attempt but after one company had got ashore the casualties to the first two platoons were so great that the effort was suspended until dark.[45]

All praise to everyone involved in these terrible fights! As for relevance to CMBN, I would say the Gallipoli Campaign informed and shaped the ethos which made the ANZACs who they were as fighting men. But more directly, the ANZACs made very real contributions in both Operation Overlord and Operation Dragoon. Regarding the former, here's Wiki's take.






John Kettler

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Sniff... all this focus on us lot brings a tear to my eye. :)


It's was a special day here in Australia (and I'm guessing in New Zealand as well!). But yeah real misunderstanding by the general person on the street not realising we were 'small players' in the Gallipoli Campaign, nor the fact we actually made some larger contributions on the Western Front and across WW2 30 years later.


Still as the first military action for two newly formed nations, regardless of outcome (and sheer stupidity militarily), Gallipoli will always be a special place for us.

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I think that Ithikial hits the nail on the head. Fighting in their own national armies for the first time seems to me why Gallipoli still resonates "down under". He is also spot on about their role on the Western Front. Here in Limeyland the ANZACs, Canadians and, Indians are often forgotten when it comes to the Western Front, which is sad to say the least.

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