Friday, 25 April 2014

That One Day of the Year.....Again!

 I couldn't let this most important of days slip by without making a short post. I have written extensively over the last two Anzac Days about Australian sacrifice in two World Wars so I don't believe there is much to be achieved by laboring the point this year.

Everyone who knows me also has knowledge of my trip to France last year when Linda and I visited some of the remarkable old battlefields of northern France.

 So, without trying to bore everyone silly with more photos of our trip, I thought it appropriate to provide a rare image of ourselves very kindly taken by some British tourists while we toured the magnificent memorial at Theivpal on the old line of the Western Front.

 Theivpal, as anyone who reads my posts will know, was a German fortress in 1916 and much of the bloodletting at Pozieres and Moquet Farm was brought forth from the bowels of hell specifically as an attempt to bring pressure to bear on the German Army entrenched there.

 It was ultimately successful although thousands of young men were killed and maimed in the process. And it was all for nought. The German Army's last great offensive of the war swept through here in 1918 and all the ground which was won at so much cost fell swiftly to the Kaiser's army without much resistance.

 Of course, that offensive soon ran out of steam and the Allies recaptured the area towards the end of the war but it was all rather pointless. And tragic.

 Theivpal is now home to a magnificent memorial which bears the name of every soldier of the British Army lost on the Somme and never recovered.

 The photo above is taken in front of the memorial, now unrecognisable from the bloody days of 1916 and the green fields behind us stretch back to Moquet Farm and Pozieres where so many Australians lost their lives trying to liberate France.

The photo to the right is obviously the memorial itself.

 May all those who's mortal remains lie in these fields rest in peace and may we never again be called upon to offer "our bravest and our best", as Banjo Patterson called them, in a bloody and ultimately pointless battle of attrition as occurred at this place nearly a century ago.

 And may we continue to honor our heritage and our history on this day for years to come. Nations are built and made strong by such days. The nation which forgets it's heroes and legends is barely a nation at all.

 Lest we forget.

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