Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: ANZAC Day
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 16:33:31 +0800
It was nice to see the posts about ANZAC day. This Sunday I'll be working
night shift and on duty at the state war memorial for the dawn service.
Afterwards I'll be marching in the police contingent in the ANZAC day
parade later in the morning (ironically, still in uniform, but after I'm
ANZAC day has a lot of meaning to me personally. My grandmother had a
brother who was in the 11th Battalion, AIF (that's the Australian Imperial
Force; the name of the contingent that left Australia to serve with the
British Empire forces during the First World War.) Joseph Stannard enlisted
when war was first declared (his army number was 834) and the 11th
Battalion was one of the first units to land on the shore at Gallipoli on
the morning of April 25th 1915. Unfortunately Joe's service was rather
short; he received a head wound that day and died a week later in a
military hospital in Egypt of meningitis.
My family also lost a member in the second world war. In this case, an
uncle on my dad's side, he was a member of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion,
a unit made up of almost entirely Western Australians who arrived in
Singapore a matter of days before the Japanese invaded and captured it.
Almost the entire battalion were taken prisoner by the Japanese, and most
sent to work on the Burma-Siam Railway (for those unfamiliar with this
rather sad chapter of Australian and British military history, remember the
movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai". I'm not sure about the story of the
bridge itself as portrayed in the film, but the general conditions are a
reasonably accurate portrayal) Poor food (and very little of it), atrocious
conditions, overwork and disease took a heavy toll, and George Stone was
one of many who did not survive to be liberated at the end of the war.
One of the proudest periods of my army career was to serve in the 11/28th
Battalion, Royal Western Australia Regiment. This battalion has the battle
honours of the 11th and 28th AIF Battalions in the first world war, and the
2/11th and 2/28th Battalions of the 2nd AIF (second world war), which cover
just about every significant action in which Australian infantry fought
during the two wars. We wore the colour patch of the original 11th
Battalion, a rectangular patch with the top half brown and the bottom half
pale blue. Every time I put on my slouch hat and saw that patch, I would
think of my family member who had made part of the history of that
battalion, and I always was conscious of carrying on the tradition and
honour of those who wore that uniform before me.
Lest We Forget...
Grant O'Neil _r| Ll\
Assistant Venturer Leader | |_|__\
2nd Ballajura Venturer Unit => \ |_|_ /
Swan Valley District ~~ `_'
Western Australia v