A few days before ANZAC day this year a so called journalist from New Zealand named Jock Anderson made some imbecilic comments towards Australian Diggers who fought in World War One and Gallipoli in partular that I would like to address with some cold hard facts, and they are cold, just thinking about the sheer numbers of sacrifice leaves me with a chill. I am just one of millions that Jock managed to offend.
Mr Anderson in the national media had this to say;
“The Aussies have been reluctant soldiers at the best of times. They’ve been essentially lazy, bludgers, some of them, and excellent black marketeers, scavengers, poachers and thieves.”
“Occasionally they’ve actually been quite good soldiers, but there is no way, in my opinion, that they can hold a candle to the Kiwis.”
How any one of sound mind and any understanding of the facts would dare call our Diggers reluctant defies beleif. Lets starts with the fact that every Digger who took part in World War One was a volunteer, they all signed up to the bloodiest conflict the world has ever seen of their own free will.
It’s wasn’t just one or two blokes either, by wars end 331,781 Aussie Diggers were serving oversea’s in conflict. Given at the time Australia had a total population of 4.4 million that’s 7.54% of all Australian’s voluteering to go to war. Keep in mind there were a lot of others that wanted to go that simply weren’t allowed due to Government legislation at the time trying to prevent skilled farming hands etc enlisting as there was a great need for Australian argiculture to support the war effort abroad.
No other country sent more people per capita to World War One then Australia barr New Zealand which by wars end had 103,00 serving. This represents 9.3% of New Zealands 1.1 million population of the time. No one sent more meat to the ginder per capita then the ANZAC’s.
The Austalian Imperial Forces lost 61,966 Diggers, with sum 152,171 wounded which is a casualy rate of 65% of the committed forces, one of the highest rates of attriction of any force in World War One. To call these souls reluctant and lazy is a disgrace and at odds with the facts.
At Gallipoli 8,709 Australian’s lost there lives, as did 2,721 New Zealander’s, to put that in terms of today that is equiventent to the US losing 1,250,000 troops in Afganistan which is simply unthinkable, but that is exactly the price paid by our lads on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
When thinking about our boys strength of conviction during World War One I can’t forget Beersheeba, where the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade carried out the last successful cavalry charge agaisnt heavily fortified Turkish machine guns and artilery. In doing so capturing a city that had been in the control of the Turkish empire since the 16th Century. This is just one and many instances where our diggies did us proud, carried themselves with high distinction and did what others couldn’t.
In World War One Australian Diggers recived 63 Victoria Crosses, 9 of which came from Gallipoli, so as far as holding a candle goes Jock they hold em pretty well compared to New Zealands 11 Victoria Crosses. Percentage wise of comitted troops that puts our diggers ahead.
But no one here is counting or keeping score, cause when we talk about the ANZAC legends, and we remember them on April 25th each year there is no distingishing Australains from New Zealanders, we celebrate and praise them all togeather as brothers and sisters.
So Jock instead of insulting and trying to tarnish their memories and their sacrifices, how about instead you say thank you, and good on you lads this April 25th.