ANZAC – Speech by Jedidiah Fesolai

Each year, on the 25th of April, we commemorate and honour the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives in service to our country. Today, most importantly, we remember those Australian and New Zealand volunteer soldiers, who landed on the battle-stricken sands of Gallipoli – what is now called ANZAC cove, almost 103 years ago. We admire the countless sacrifices of past and current service men and women, for our sovereign common-wealth.
Lest we forget.

World War 1 was a war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Over 500,000 Australian and New Zealand troops were mobilised, and were shipped off to assist in the western front, in Europe. With Turkey allying with Germany, this opened up a new opportunity for the Allied forces to weaken the expansion of the German invasion, and to establish a new front through the east. This campaign was intended to force Germany’s ally, Turkey, out of the war. The campaign began with an attempt to force their way through the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Dardanelles, by naval power alone but early bombardments on the coastal ports failed. In light of this event, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces comprised of British, Indian, French, Australian and New Zealand forces, with members 70,000 strong, were to use a different method as opposed to naval warfare, a full frontal assault. 30,000 of these men, were courageous ANZAC’s.

Before dawn on Sunday 25 April 1915, the first three battleships carrying the first wave of Australians had reached the coast near the Gaba Tepe headland. The expected result was a swift take-over of the beach at Gallipoli, but a combination of unexpectedly hostile terrain and ferocious Turkish defence soon stopped any potential advance and the campaign degenerated into the familiar deadlock of trench warfare.

The day of the landing saw some of the most terrible fighting of the whole Gallipoli Campaign. When officers fell to Turkish bullets, small parties of Australians pushed inland, and fought and died where they stood. Some men were able to reach the third ridge, and others climbed the summit of the height called ‘Baby 700’. However, they were overwhelmed by Turkish attacks.

By the end of the first day, the Australians were relentlessly holding the ragged crests of First Ridge, digging trenches to await the inevitable counter-attacks, while the air sang with the whine and crack of bullets, machine gun fire and shells. By the day’s end, 3000 Australian soldiers were killed or injured, and their beach-head was barely one kilometre deep, instead of the expected seven.

This battle lasted eight months and would be etched forever in our minds. Perhaps the battle that best portrayed the true ANZAC spirit, is one often referred to as, “The Battle of Anzac”. At 3am, on the morning of 19 May, 1915, there were barely 17,000 Anzac troops at Anzac Cove, when they were suddenly attacked by an army of 42,000 Turkish soldiers. After hours of struggle, 10,000 Turkish soldiers had fallen, and a majority of them lay dead and dying in ‘No Man’s Land’. Compared to this, the Anzac casualties were only 628 men. As the days went past, the cries of the wounded Turkish soldiers moved the hearts of the Australian soldiers to pity. These Anzacs were moved by the bravery and courage of the Turkish soldiers. On that day, they arranged a truce, and the Anzacs helped the Turkish bury the dead. This act of kindness would change the attitudes of both sides, acknowledging that above being soldiers, they were still people.

Despite the eight months of tireless fighting, and conflict, the Anzacs held on to their humanity in a world that seemed to resent it. Their bravery and courage, was only matched by the kindness and compassion they were capable of. Let us remember them not only as soldiers, but as the very foundations of this sovereign and free nation we live in today.

Lest We Forget!

Jedidiah Fesolai

Korean Veterans Newsletter “The Voice” August 2016

Read the latest copy of The Voice from the Korean Veterans Association click here.

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50th Anniversary Battle of Long Tan – 18th Aug 2016

Kedron-Wavell remembers the sacrifice and service of all Vietnam Veterans in this week commemorating the 50th Anniversary when the soldiers of D Company 6 RAR fought the Battle of Long Tan in a rubber plantation near the base of 1ATF at Nui Dat in Vietnam.

 

Emotions flow on trip to Timor

August 4, 2016

LAST week 27 Australian veterans returned from an emotional 10-day visit to the Republica Democratica de Timor L’Este.

blahOrganised by Gary Stone and sponsored by the Queensland RSL branch, it was the first time many had ret­urned since Australian-led INT­ERFET forces intervened as East Timor transitioned from Indonesian occupation in 1999.

What they discovered then was a nation in ruins, its precious but minimal infrastructure deliberately and wantonly destroyed as the bitter, vengeful Indonesians reluctantly withdrew.

What many had not seen nor properly understood was the equally bitter 25-year conflict between Timorese Falantil and Fretilin guer­illas against the occupying Indonesians, who had in Timorese eyes simply replaced Portugal as the occupying power.

In late 1975, when Australia was itself racked by political upheaval and in the post-Vietnam environment, no government was prepared to commit to another Asian war, Indonesia was able to seize both East Timor and the Oeccussi enc­lave in a swift, brutal invasion.

Even the murder of five Australian journalists at Balibo on October 16, 1975 did not convince timid Australian politicians to intervene.

For many serving in the ADF at the time it was seen as a betrayal of the Timorese who, at great cost, had loyally supported Australian commandos during 1942 as Japan swept relentlessly south.

Perhaps if those same Australian politicians could have known that thousands of Timorese would be murdered, “disappeared” or relocated by the Indonesians over the next quarter century they might have acted, but the reality is they did not.

Estimates vary but approximately 200,000 Timorese died during Indonesia’s brutal occ­upation and, according to Timorese tradition, the nation is attempting to locate and ­recover the remains of the missing so their spirits can be at peace.

During their visit, Australian veterans were joined by Timorese veterans of the guerilla war against Indonesia, men and women who showed them battle sites where they had ambushed Indonesian forces, and the caves where they had hidden, many of them for years separated from families and communities.

It was a story many Australian veterans had not known and they were deeply moved when shown memorial mausoleums containing thousands of Timorese flag-draped coffins of recovered remains.

Witnessing a repatriation ceremony at Natarbora for ano­ther 510 sets of remains, they could not hide their emotion as they compared that ­occasion with the recent ­repatriation of Australian war dead from Terendak cemetery in Malaysia.

Last week at Balibo they discovered a thriving, vibrant community in stark contrast to the silent, deserted, devastated ruins INTERFET forces witnessed on their arrival in 1999.

As the kindergarten choir from the Australian-sponsored Balibo Five primary school sang a welcoming song, some veterans were able to exorcise their personal demons that had haunted them since their own Timor service.

Timor and its people still have a long way to go but, des­pite their differences with Australia over the Timor Gap oil resources, they are grateful for what Australia has done for them since 1999. For the Diggers it finally made their sacrifices seem worthwhile.

VETERANS HEALTH WEEK

As part of Veterans’ Health Week 10 – 18 October 2015, the Kedron-Wavell Sub Branch RSL Inc, and Kedron-Wavell Services Club, in conjunction with local Health Providers and the Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a Veterans and Veterans Families morning tea supported by Health & Hearing of Chermside.  The Guest speaker, Dr Andrew Khoo (a leading specialist in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) gave a presentation on PTSD.

Please click on the links below to learn more about the local Health Providers who were present at this morning tea:

Walters Green Psychology Practice:

Walters Green Clinical Psychology Practice was proud to be an exhibitor at the Veterans Health Expo on Wednesday 14 October, 2015.  Some great resources where available on the day including, information about Anxiety, Depression, Stress Management, PTSD, and more.  If you would like a copy of the resources, have a query, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Practice by visiting their website www.wgcpp.com.au

Walters Green

Health & Hearing :

Upgrading Hearing Aids

Where is H&H located

Contact Health & Hearing

Hearing Test Referral

Qld Orthotics & Podiatry:

Qld Orthotics & Podiatry

The next function (a Family Day at Baringbar Park, Kittyhawk Drive) will be held on Sunday 18 October 11:00 to 3:00.  Please click on the link below for more details:

Veterans Day in the Park

 

7th Brigade Centenary Open Day

7Brigade Open Day

You are welcome to the 7th Brigade Centenary Open Day.  Free Entry, however no pets are allowed (there will be Military Working Dogs present).  Details are below:

10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday 12 September 2015

7th Brigade Park, Chermside (near “Kidspace”).

 

Lest we forget…

On this day in 1914 Volunteer recruiting began in Australia.  By the end of 1914 52,561 Australian volunteers passed the strict physical and medical standards for overseas service.

Lest we forget….

On this day in 1914 Britain declared war on Germany.

WORLD WAR I UNIFORMS and what they mean

Uniform – Australian Light Horse 1914-1918

Uniform – Australian Light Horse 1914-1918

Our Sub Branch is proud to be able to display an original uniform worn by one of the mounted soldiers of the Australian Light Horse 1914-1918.

The distinctive uniform is instantly recognisable beginning with the famous Australian slouch hat adorned with badge, chinstrap, hatband and feathers.  The Service Dress jacket (complete with buttons and badges) was worn with riding breeches.  The dress jacket was secured with a Leather belt with leather pouches 2×10 round & 2×15 round.

This particular uniform also comprises of a haversack with shoulder strap, a water bottle with leather carrier and shoulder strap.  The distinctive Light Horse Bandolier (some of which carried up to 90 r0unds of ammunition)  has 9xpouches for Cal .303-in ammunition.  The uniform is completed with leather leggings (Stowassar Pattern), and dark tan leather boots.

The Sub Branch was successful in securing the purchase of this uniform.   You will see this uniform proudly displayed in a cabinet to the left hand side as you ride the Services Club escalator to the first floor of the Services Club.

 

 

 

Service Dress Jacket and Jodhpurs Army, WWI

Service Dress Jacket and Jodhpurs Army, WWI

Further, as part of the Sub Branch’s World War I uniform collection, a uniform tunic known as the “jacket service dress” worn by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) with khaki cord breeches is also displayed.  This jacket service dress would have been worn over a soft grey collarless flannel shirt and underclothes consisting of a vest and drawers.

(By way of background, the Australian War Memorial records show that the 9th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was the first battalion recruited in Queensland, and with the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions it formed the 3rd Brigade.

The battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After preliminary training, the battalion sailed to Egypt, arriving in early December. The 3rd Brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915, and so was the first ashore at around 4.30 am. The battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. It served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915.)

This particular jacket service dress displays the rank insignia of a Lance Corporal, Signaller.  The colour patch denotes this uniform as having being worn by a 9th Battalion Australian Imperial Force (AIF) soldier.  You will note the metal shoulder badges denoting the Australian Infantry (INF) and the metal Rising Sun collar badges.

The Australian War Memorial Website explains in March 1916, AIF Orders announced that the only badges to be worn by Australians were hat and collar badges, unit colour patches, badges of rank and the curved metal titles ‘AUSTRALIA’ on the shoulder straps. Some months later approval was given for another badge; the wound stripe. This was a strip of narrow gold Russia braid, two inches in length, worn perpendicularly on the left sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion a soldier was wounded badly enough to be evacuated from the front line.

The jacket displayed by the Sub Branch has one Wound Badge cloth stripe, which means the wearer was wounded badly enough to be evacuated from the front line one time.   It also displays a red white and blue ribbon of the 1914-15 Star which means that the wearer of this uniform saw service in a theatre of war before 1916.  This Other Rank’s (OR’s) Army uniform was donated to the Kedron-Wavell Sub Branch RSL Inc and is on display in the Voyager Centre Memorabilia Display.

A link to the Australian War Memorial blog containing information about the AIF, its uniform and badges is below.

https://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2014/07/31/australian-imperial-force-aif-badges-1914-1918/

Australian War Memorial blog post of RC10118 Lance Corporal Albany Varney, 12th Light Horse Regiment, showing location of badges on his uniform

Australian War Memorial blog post of RC10118 Lance Corporal Albany Varney, 12th Light Horse Regiment, showing location of badges on his uniform