Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

24/8/2004

Australian War Diary

Lest we Forget

EPILOGUE

In reverence, the old man stood
In dawn’s grey misty gloom
He murmured an almost silent prayer
Before that empty tomb.
The memories came flooding back
He saw them all again
His mates, who wore that old slouch hat
And died on strange terrain.
For Cenotaph means empty tomb
As from the ancient Greek,
And that old man with ribbons up
No solitude would seek.
It’s Anzac Day, and as he stood
As if in lonely prayer,
He smiles, for all his unseen mates
Were with him; standing there.

attrib. author unknown
kindly donated by the 7th Divisional Cavalry Association

Australians know little of the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces in World War II, but an alliance of teachers and the RSL is campaigning to end the apathy with a special day.

Australians know all about US marines storming Pacific atolls in World War II, but much less about young Diggers turning back the Japanese at Milne Bay.

They recognise US General Douglas MacArthur, but most have never heard of Australia’s gritty General Thomas Blamey.

Images of US Navy aircraft carriers in combat at Midway are familiar to Australians, but how many know of the gallant HMAS Perth and the 357 men who sacrificed their lives aboard her in the Battle of the Sunda Straits?

The broad answer is that we sell ourselves short because of our lack of awareness of our heroic past.

We pay homage to US troops who died taking Iwo Jima under murderous fire, probably because we learned about them in US films, but have almost no national memory of the bloody hand-to-hand fighting by Australians in Bougainville.

More Japanese bombs fell on Darwin than on Pearl Harbour.

Spitfires fought in the skies over Darwin, as they did over London, but we are more likely to remember the Battle of Britain than the assault on our north.

We also know little of Frank Partridge, son of a banana grower, the first militiaman to win the Victoria Cross, who charged a nest of enemy machine-gunners to save his mates.

This site tells the story of the couragous Men and women of Australia and can be found at the link on the rhs

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