Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANZAC Day 2012

Here in the Antipodes we are celebrating (commemorating, maybe more apt?) ANZAC Day, the 97th anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915.

In Australia it is also a day for remembrance of the sacrifice of all Australian soldiers from all conflicts we have been involved in from then on, especially of the World War II veterans who are fast becoming a rare breed, but also those involved in the forgotten or unpopular (at the time) conflicts like Korea and Vietnam. Participation of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are adding further poignancy to the day.

I have dragged out my grandfather's medal collection today as a way of remembering him and his generation. I really need to display them properly, as now I can't remember for sure which are his. I will have to do a bit of research to find out for certain. the first image is of his own service medals as far as I can make out. The rest are from his collection of medals from all the other major conflicts Australia had been involved in up until 1975.

Grandpa's service medals (I think): (l-r) 1939-1945 Star, Pacific Theatre Star, Australia Sercvice Medal, 1939-1945 Service Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 

Boer War campaign medals; (l-r)  Issued pre1900 with Queen Victoria's image on the reverse, clasps for Orange free State and Cape Colony; Issued post 1900 with King Edward VII image on the reverse.

WWI medals: (l-r) Military medal, 1914-15 Star, Inter-allied Victory Medal,   1914-18 War Medal, miniature of same.

Coronation and Jubilee medals 

WWII service medals; (Top row, l-r) Atlantic Star, Italy Star, Burma Star, British Defence Medal,
(Bottom row, l-r) Africa Star, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star. 

Post WWII medals; (l-r) Australian issued Korea Service Medal, UN issued Korea Service Medal, Australian issued Vietnam Service Medal, South Vietnamese issued Vietnam War Service Medal.

l-r, Air-force efficient service medals and Regular Army Long  Service and Good Conduct medal


  1. Great day to bring out the medals. A very fine collection Rosbif.

  2. What a splendid collection and a rather apt and poignant way to remember and reflect on the sacrifices that so many made. Thank you Sir.

  3. All from the same Grandpa? He was around, that's for sure.
    And nice they look too. (Good conduct eh? - So english =)

    There's a fair amount of Swastikas every time I check back with grandpas medals, so I rather not post them around.

    1. Getting a medal for Good Conduct sounds like the medal they give to those who haven't got one yet! :)

      Only the top row are actually his, the rest are ones he collected.

      I'd imagine that swastika-adorned medals aren't exactly the conversation pieces that these are! Where did your grandfather serve? Did he come home?

    2. He joined the WSS with 17 in late 43 to fight in russia. But was soon transferred to the west (must've been in late 44?) and took part in the fighting in France and Holland. In the end he lost a leg got married and was telling me stories so full of sadness and horror that I still can't enjoy ww2 as a wargames-topic.

    3. I find any wargame period set in the 20thc just too close to home for that reason. We have living memories of our relatives to remind us of the horrors, and if they are no longer with us, we still have the memories of their stories. Film footage, too, shows a tiny bit of the horrors they experienced.

    4. Interesting discussion gents. I too have this aversion to 'playing games' about history that is too recent. Back in the 90s I thought those games of Iraq '91 were a bit tasteless when it had only just 'finished'. Nowadays they don't even wait for a war to finish before making games of it! We had an interesting discussion about this in our group the other day, as I was the only one who felt that way.
      Mind you, perhaps we should encourage more of it, as I do not know any wargamers who think war is a good thing--except that where the only casualties are a gamers pride and perhaps a bit of paint chipped off--they have 'seen' how destructive it can be and how aloof a commander must be to get the job done.

  4. I saw a picture in the paper today of some British sailors standing to attention during a flypast. I automatically assumed it was for Anzac Day. But no, it was in 'recognition of the Armed Forces involvement in Libya'. What involvement? Dropping a few bombs on ancient tanks from 3 miles up? So a handful of pilots get a flypast and big huzzah, while the thousands of Australian and New Zealand troops who have died fighting for us get no recognition at all. The mind boggles.

  5. Very nice collection of medals; kudos to your grandfather's service too. Best, Dean

  6. I have to say that I for one are very proud of the ANZAC forces both now and in the past and it should be a day of remembrance over here in the UK. I guess most people forget the losses these fellas suffered. Be proud of your sons Australia and New Zealand.

  7. Very moving. Years ago, I belatedly discovered the Pogues cover of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda." Its quite moving and always gets me choked up because there is so much truth and pain in it.


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