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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

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Friday, 16 May 2008
9th LHR, AIF, The peculiar case of Arthur Carrington Smedley
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment

The peculiar case of Arthur Carrington Smedley


The Casualty Form for Arthur Carrington Smedley



The disappearance of Arthur Carrington Smedley from Gallipoli creates an intriguing mystery that lingers to this day. His circumstances were covered by much contradictory testimony gathered from eye witnesses at Gallipoli. Because of the diverse nature of each item of testimony, the fate of Corporal Smedley remains as one of the more peculiar stories from Gallipoli.


The Family


Telegram from Alice Smedley to the Department of Defence, 21 October 1915


The underlying story is the slow and protracted torture of Smedley's family which they underwent, not knowing the fate of their relative. The letters from the various family members are horrowing and point to the daily, and ongoing anguish they suffered until the matter was put to rest, if indeed it ever was for the family.


Enlistment Details

Enlisted on 28 December 1914 as 605 Private Arthur Carrington Smedley, 28, an auctioneer by trade and single. He lived with his mother North Adelaide South Australia Mother Alice C Mrs Smedley at a house called “Ranfurley” in Brougham Place, North Adelaide in the state of South Australia. His denomination was Church of England.



He embarked on A10 "Karoo", 11 February 1915 from Melbourne as part of D Troop, B Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment. Sometime in 1915 he was promoted to Corporal.




Walkers Ridge at Gallipoli, August 1915.


It was on the main track of Walker’s Ridge that Smedley was struck by a high calibre shell which tore off an arm and a leg and left another leg in a precarious situation.


Witness Reports

Below are the witness reports of the situation.

287 Private Alfred John Jolliffe

287 Private Alfred John Jolliffe, 9 ALHR, 25 November 1915:
Statement re Smedley 605:

"Saw him after he had been badly wounded one leg blown off at thigh, the other lower down, was taken to Clearing Station. Informant heard he was dead."


331 Private Louis William Saler

331 Private Louis William Saler, 9 ALHR, 25 November 1915:

"Report on Smedley 605 - Informant said that Smedley was struck by a shell which destroyed both his legs. He died on the Peninsula but informant could not say exactly where."


562 Sergeant E Collette

562 Sergeant E Collette, 1st ALH, Gezira Hospital, Cairo, 9 December 1915:

"Informant states that about the 8th or 9th of August an 11.3 shell landed amongst four men together on the main track of Walker’s Ridge. He saw Smedley soon afterwards in a dying condition with an arm and a leg blown off. He was taken abourd a hospital ship."


341 Sergeant Stephen Henry

341 Sergeant Stephen Henry, 9 ALHR, Ghain Tuffieha, 14 December 1915:

"He was promoted Corporal. He was wounded on Walker’s Ridge by a 9” shell, and his left leg blown off. He died on the way down to the base hospital. The stretcher bearers told witness this. He came from Adelaide, S. Australia."


754 Pte CH Hutchinson

754 Pte CH Hutchinson 9 ALHR, Lowland Converlescent Camp, Mudros, 24 December 1915:

"About August 10 Smedley was badly wounded by a shell and stretcher bearer J Forman of B Squad who took him down told witness he lost both legs, one having been taken off by doctor on the beach before putting him on Hosp Ship."


244 Trooper CT Cotton

Letter written by 244 Trooper CT Cotton, Abbey Wood, Kent, 5 February 1916.

Hut K.2.
Australian Camp,
Abbey Wood,
Feb. 5th 1916.

The late Corporal Smedley joined the 9th Light Horse Regiment while we were in training at Broadmeadows Camp, Victoria, where I got to know him well, being in the same troop and tent.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal at Heliopolis Camp a few days before he left Egypt for the Dardanelles with the regiment and on July 30th, in the rest camp below Walker's Ridge, he was promoted to fall Corporal, and on August 9th on Walker's Ridge he was badly wounded by 9 inch shell while in charge of fatigue party.    Smedley although badly wounded seemed to be suffering very little pain and was as cheerful as ever when he was taken down to the dressing station by stretcher party and he passed way at the dressing station at Anzac Cove.  The last man I know to have seen Corporal Smedley was Trooper Wainwright of the same troop and of Corporal Smedley's section and he would no doubt be able to give more information than myself. Trooper Wainwright was still with the Regiment when I saw him last on August 27th.

244 Trooper CT Cotton
9th Austrailian Light Horse


Testimony from Letters

Correspondence was also examined where references were made to Smedley.

218 Trooper George Ernest Aikeman

Extract from letter from - George Aikeman, 9th Light Horse, King George Hospital.    12.9.15. Waterloo, London.

"Well Floss poor Arthur Smedley had his leg blown off and reported wounded. He died some time later."


148 Lance Corporal Edmund Neville London

Extract from letter received by Mr. McEwin, C/o Dalgety & Co. Adelaide, from Lance Corporal London of the 4th Aust. Field Ambulance

"You mention seeing a letter from Arthur Smedley. The poor fellow was severely wounded by a shell - eventually died from its effects. He was terribly, knocked about I believe receiving a goodly share- of the force of the shell."


Mr G.W.F. Prince Coulter

Extract from, letter from G.W.F. Prince Coulter, 28 Grenfell St. Adelaide. (Dalgety & CO. Ltd.)

"It was only a few days ago that in conversation with Mr. A. Codlee of Prospect he mentioned that his son Lister was with Arthur and knows he was wounded badly - one leg lost - and died 5 days later."


260 Corporal Francis Arnold Gillen

Extract of letter from 260 Corporal Francis Arnold Gillen, No. 3 General Hospital Lemnos Island, dated 21.8.15. (Letter from Brother P.S. Gillen, 36 Ward St. North. Adelaide).

"He, Arthur Smedley, and I were in a main trench ---- without any warning, the shell - a big 8 inch from the Turkish forts - burst right in front of Smed, hurled him into the air and dropped him over a chain away into another trench. Poor old Smed did'nt live long, both his legs and right arm were terribly injured and had to be amputated. He was conscious after the amputations but never knew he lost his limbs. Before he died he was talking about seeing the Flemington National next year".


Mr Ray Turner

Extract from letter from Ray Turner, Rayville Park, Snowtown,

"I had a letter from Frank Rice the other day telling me that poor old Smed had died of wounds at Gallipoli they were friends, also a boy named Cameron said he and Frank buried dear old Smed and had put a little wooden cross with a few words on it on his grave Rice's address is - Q.M.S. F.E. Rice C. Cc. 10th Infantry Bat. 1st. A.I.F. (No. 10135).


Official Treatment

On 22 January 1916, he was declared absent from unit on account of wounds for a period of over three months and placed on the super-numerary list. Later on a Board of Enquiry found that Corporal Smedley had died of wounds on the 9 August 1915.

This all seems rather straight forward although rather peculiar that he should be considered missing when he was in the hands of the medical authorities. Missing is usually attributed to someone who is either obliterated by a bomb or dies in some unknown place. But not in this case. Yet he went missing.

Apparently he was recorded as having boarded the ship and placed under medical care. Then nothing. Smedley disappears and so does his record. Everything just vanishes. No one has the slightest idea where Smedley is except that he wasn’t where the schedule stated – in Cairo. It was the cross to Cairo in which the disappearing act occurred.

This statement of account was sent to the grieving family:

"We have received your inquiry for 605 Tpr AC Smedley, 9 ALH. The 3rd AGH infom us by telephone he was never in their hospital. We already had an inquiry for him and on our evidence he must have died on board a hospital ship about 10th Aug. He had been promoted to Cpl and was badly wounded on Walker’s Ridge by a shell, one of his legs being afterwards amputated by the Dr on the beach. Though we have no evidence by an eye witness of his death, several men told us he was already in dying condition when he was carried to the beach, and he was so badly wounded – both an arm and a leg being blown off – that no one could wish him to have lived."

This is indeed one case of nobody being there. It was conjectured that he died while at sea and they buried him at sea, a common practice. It is one thing to lose a body but quite another to lose his papers. The reality is that no one knew what happened to Smedley, a poor fellow doomed to roam the Mediterranean like the Marie Celeste, finding no home and no answers from and to the living.

Despite all the information available, it still remains a mystery today as to what actually happened to Smedley. We can only guess at the truth but no more than that.


Source of Information

Service File of Arthur Carrington Smedley held at National Archives of Australia, Bar Code - 8086630.


Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 9th LHR, AIF, The peculiar case of Arthur Carrington Smedley

Posted by Project Leader at 7:03 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2010 10:18 AM EAST
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 16 May
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 16 May

Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour

Regimental March -  Marching Through Georgia



The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.


The Diary



Saturday, May 16, 1914

See 4th Military District, South Australia for militia activities.



Sunday, May 16, 1915

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Cairo

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Entrained for Alexandria with 25 Officers and 454 Other Ranks. All horses and transport left at Heliopolis under Veterinary Officer with 30 Other Ranks of Regiment. The 1st Reinforcements less 20 men were absorbed as were also 50% of the 2nd Reinforcements. The balance of these together with the 3rd Reinforcement and 4th Reinforcements and sick of the Regiment were left at Heliopolis as a Regimental Depot.

One Other Rank and three storemen were left at the Ordnance Base, Alexandria. Saddlery removed at Heliopolis and kit bags were taken to Alexandria and stored. The Regiment embarked from Bunkers Quay on Transport X2 by 1800.

3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary - 0430 Arrived at Alexandria. Embarked Minominee [X2].

Headquarters, 8th Light Horse Regiment, 9th Light Horse Regiment, Signalling Troop, B Train, Field Ambulance and other details.

In all, 91 Officers 1,461 Other Ranks = 1,552 men and 3 interpreters.

Carew Reynell Diary - Train left at 0120 arriving Alexandria at 0730 on 16 May.

We were not allowed to embark until about 1500 or 1600 so sat on the wharf most of the day.

The ship didn't leave till about 0400 on 17 May.

It was decided at the last to bring bicycles and officers' sleeping valises but half expect to lose both.



Monday, May 15, 1916
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Roadhead, Serapeum.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.



Wednesday, May 16, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Abasan el Kebir
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - “C” Squadron marched in from El Gamli at 1300 being relieved by “A” Squadron from the 10th Light Horse Regiment.
At 1400 Chauvel, Major General Sir HG, KCMG, CB [Anzac Mounted Division] and Hodgson, Major General W, CMG, OB [Division Commander] inspected the Brigade. [Column commander] Chauvel, Major General Sir HG, KCMG, CB, expressed his appreciation of the work done by the Regiment in polishing up bits, spurs and stirrup irons and cleanliness of the camp.


Thursday, May 16, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Auja Bridgehead defences
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Quiet day with the usual wiring and digging parties.
Reserve trenches now called Inner Bridgehead Defences now being constructed by parties from 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments under direct supervision of Daly, Major TJ.



Friday, May 16, 1919

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0900 Regiment less transport and escort of one Non Commissioned Officer and eight Other Ranks moved to Tel el Kebir. Mounted Squadron B proceeded by road.

1300 A and “C” Squadrons, dismounted, entrained at ASC siding.

Commanding Officer and Adjutant proceeded by motor car. 1630 Arrived at Tel el Kebir and bivouacked.


Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 15 May

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 17 May



See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy


Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF

Bert Schramm Diary

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 16 May

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 July 2010 10:32 AM EADT
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Rifle Clubs, Question 11, and the 9th Light Horse Regiment
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

Australian Rifle Clubs

Attestation Paper 1914 - 1918

Question 11


Question 11 on the AIF Attestation Paper reads as follows:



 An interesting question which set off a trail of interest with me a few years ago when the children's GGF listed the following on his attestation papers:

2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, Served 2 years with Tumby Bay Rifle Club.

Of course, the curiosity is raised as to why a person would include a rifle club as part of military service. My nephew and myself were members of a rifle club in WA and apart from all the regulation things that had to be dealt with as par for the course, there was nothing martial about it. So the connection is tenuous. A puzzler indeed for the person in the 21st century.

A bit more digging and we find rifle clubs being listed in the Commonwealth General Military Orders as they become active or are deactivated. In addition to shooting, their main task, they also undertook rudimentary drills and led by a captain, usually a nominal position a la Captain Mainwaring in "Dad's Army".

There was a very serious side to the Rifle Clubs which is missed by most historians of the Great War, but one which laid the underpinnings for the Australian defence posture from 1901 - 1910 and the roll on effects into the Kitchener Report.

My understanding is that Hutton was asked to put together a low cost military model for the defence of Australia upon Federation. The state's model - producing Imperial formations which would slot into the British Army seamlessly - proved to be outrageously expensive and far beyond the resources of the Commonwealth. Boer War commitments nearly ruined the state governments and it certainly crippled the growth of the Commonwealth for many years. So Hutton was assigned the task of coming up with a solution that fit the funding ability from the states' empty coffers. With little money, the soolution was relatively simple.

Hutton selected the Boer Commando system as the best model for the defence of Australia. This was the greatest accolade that could be paid to Oom Paul and his methodology of fighting the British. Hutton aped the Boer system of defence while ironically being committed to fight against it and stamp out the Boer Republics. To get trained cells of men without actually incurring too much cost the notion of Rifle Clubs came into play. The Commonwealth would provide the rifles and ammunition while the members would pay the rest. The clubs would be an integral part of the military with the Australian Instructional Staff taking care of the drills and shooting training for the leadership cadres of the clubs. In essence, if Australia had been invaded during this period, one would have seen a replay of the Boer War although this time Australians riding in the commandos.

After the Kitchener reforms where the posture was to be changed from a guerrilla force to a military that would once again fit seamlessly into an Imperial Expeditionary Force, massive battalions and regiments were formed, and while not stated, appeared to be slotted into an Imperial scheme with 7 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry divisions. We can see how this played out in the Great War with 5 Infantry Divisions, 2 Cavalry Divisions and 1 Training Division - just one division short of the Kitchener Plan and that was only because the PM, Billy Hughes could not get his desire for another division through cabinet.

For regions not able to be adequately served by this structure or for those not eligible to serve, the rifle clubs remained an integral part of the landscape in their quasi military role.

Here are a few other members of the 9th LHR who also answered Question 11 regarding Rifle Club service:

552 Pte Albert Ernest King, Served 3 years in the Tumby Bay Rifle Club
689 Pte John Diamond, Served 7 years with Appollo Bay Rifle Club
717 Pte Arthur Harry Charles Jackson, Served 3 years in the Sandringham Rifle Club
895 Pte Edgar Ernest Mathews, Served 3 years in the Crystal Brook Rifle Club
943 Pte Carl Martin Steicke, Served 10 years in the Caltowie Rifle Club
1000 Pte Edgar William Gifford, Served in the Port Germain Rifle Club
2475 Pte John Thomas Ward, Served 3 years with Red Bank Rifle Club, Victoria
2803 Pte Guthrie Hugh Lipson Baillie, Served 1.5 years with Tumby Bay Rifle Club
2824 Pte Frederick Harry Schwartz, Served 2 years with Mannum Rifle Club
2986 Pte William Bumett Willison, Served 2 years with the Salisbury Rifle Club

These are just a few examples.


Further Reading:

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

AIF - Lighthorse


Citation: Rifle Clubs, Question 11, and the 9th Light Horse Regiment

Posted by Project Leader at 10:11 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 4:08 PM EADT
Great War, Queensland History, Great War, Queensland History, The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914


The Citizens Military forces march past the Post Office.

[From: The Queenslander, 5 September 1914, p. 23.]


At Rockhampton, the response was a bit more subdued. To build up the patriotic fervour and demonstrate the town's military prowess, by the middle of August 1914, the town put on a military parade. The express purpose was to demonstrate the quality of the two military formations - the army and navy - give a few speeches and send the Naval volunteers on their way to Papua.

In the above picture we see the Citizens Military forces march past the Post Office. This pic was taken near the intersection of East and William Streets. The purpose of this march past was to send the men to their Church Parade.

It has all the quality of a novelty for the public. On the main street, you can see a mother walk along with her child, looking at the men marching, although I suspect the child wanted to see Daddy marching and Mum has taken the child along for that occasion. There is also a fellow by himself, holding his bicycle and standing in the middle of the street, fascinated by the spectacle. These people show no obvious fear of traffic which tells us something about traffic movements along the streets of Rocky with Sunday morning coming down. On the footpath, desultory groups of people are walking along with the troops.


The Naval forces march past the Post Office.

[From: The Queenslander, 5 September 1914, p. 23.]


In the background is the signage announcing Stewarts - over the road from the Post Office. This departmental store still exists at the same spot in Rocky - it is a landmark institution.

The crowds are a bit thicker. The fellow with his bicycle is now moving towards Stewarts. Another woman in a black dress is standing with her daughter watching the parade. The one thing never missing from these parades are the little boys marching along pretending to be soldiers. At the bottom right hand corner it is possible to see half a dozen doing just that much to the annoyance of the officer marching in front.



Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914

Posted by Project Leader at 6:59 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 11:17 AM EADT
Anzac v ANZAC
Topic: Gen - Legends

A Legend from Misunderstanding

Anzac v ANZAC


Now the intentional institutional changes to our language and ultimately, our history.

In house, 10 years ago, the AWM began the policy of capitalising the word Anzac to become ANZAC, both grammatically and spelling wise incorrect. However, this is the policy. Here is the official version of this policy as given to me in response to my query by the regarding this very issue:

"But to pass on to your main point: whether to write "ANZAC" or "Anzac".

"The instances of "ANZAC" you adduce in this document are neither "typos" nor evidence of a "policy to redefine history", but rather simply examples of the author and his editor following a particular house style. All institutions have house styles: they are necessary to provide consistency and a professional look for the institution's various publications. Now, ANZAC (all caps) is the Memorial's preferred style for this word, and this is what individual writers or editors for the Memorial's publications must adhere to, regardless of their personal views.

"Even book titles need to conform to an institution's house style; to take the example you quote, even though a publisher may have The Shores of Gallipoli: Naval Aspects of the Anzac Campaign (or even THE SHORES OF GALLIPOLI: NAVAL ASPECTS OF THE ANZAC CAMPAIGN) on the title page, it is quite acceptable editorial practice to make this The shores of Gallipoli: naval aspects of the ANZAC campaign in a list of references. (Otherwise you might end up with differing styles in the same list.)"

Well that leaves me speechless. Had I not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Basically the AWM has taken it upon itself to redefine the English language and shape it into its own mould. What was acceptable English usage a decade ago has now suddenly been expunged. It is the AWM "in house" policy to capitalise Anzac regardless of context and in so doing, change the titles of books. Here is an example at:


Their entry reads:

C.E.W. Bean, "The Story of the ANZAC", Official History of Australia in the War 1914-1918 vol 1 and vol 2

"The Story of Anzac" is the original title.

This indicates that the person who made the entry does not understand that Bean meant his title to refer to 'Anzac' - the PLACE - but instead thinks he meant to refer to the army corps ("The ANZAC'). Whatever the person though, however, altering others' work on that basis. Bean knew what he meant to write. So instead of the word "Anzac" in Bean's book, for the purposes of conformity with the web site in house operation, it is now "ANZAC", a totally different concept to that portrayed by Bean in his book title. Indeed, this in house practice flies in the face of everything produced then an now. Very deliberate.

Of course, once this ball starts rolling, it compounds into unbelievable howlers. Here is a quote from the AWM [April 2008] email newsletter:

    Fri 25 March

    93rd anniversary of ANZAC Day

Apart from changing the date of Anzac Day, they have also changed its spelling. Yes, I accept that the date change is probably a typo, but it is a sloppy one born of the lack.

The renaming of Anzac Day is a bit strange because it celebrates the landings at Anzac Cove by the ANZAC forces who were known as Anzacs. It was a celebration of the Anzacs who landed, not the defunct military formation. A combination of hubris and lack of care.

There still is some contention as to whether it is the 93rd anniversary of the landing at Anzac by the Anzacs or the 92nd Anniversary of Anzac Day - the first Anzac day in some states was celebrated in 1915 when they renamed "8 Hour Day" for that year "Anzac Day" so it could still be the 93rd anniversary of Anzac Day.

One of the best articles produced on the subject was by Bruce Topperwien called 'The word "Anzac" '; which was published in Sabretache, the official journal of the Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA), Melbourne, July - September 1997, pp. 33 - 36 which is extracted below.

I've heard from some people that the word 'Anzac' should always be spelled with capital letters, but others say it shouldn't be. What do you think about this? 

To say that 'Anzac' should always be spelled in capitals ignores both the rules of English grammar and the word's historical usage.

I use both forms, but for different purposes. I certainly do not believe that the word should always be capitalised, for any reason.

Insisting that the word should always be capitalised is implying that everybody in the past - including the Anzacs themselves - used the term incorrectly. This is insulting.

The full capitalisation is fine so long as it is actually the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - that is, the army formation - being referred to. However, when 'Anzac' is used as a proper noun, as in 'Anzac Cove', 'Anzac Day', or 'the Anzacs', the word does not refer to the army formation but forms one of the other six uses of the term as identified by Dr. Charles Bean in the Official History of Australia in World War 1.

The following definitions of the word 'Anzac' are from Bean, C.E.W. The Official History of Australia In The War of 1914 - 1918 Vol 1. The Story Of Anzac p 609. [I have not changed any of the capitalisation from the original].

(1) Originally, code name for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (see p. 124) ;

(2) Name given to the beach where the A. & N.Z. Army Corps landed on Gallipoli;

(3) Official name of the two A. & N.Z. Army Corps in France (1st Anzac Corps, 2nd Anzac Corps) ;

(4) Term universally applied by British troops in France to the Australians and New Zealanders of the two Anzac Corps (the Anzacs);

(5) In Palestine, often used to denote men of the Anzac Mounted Division as distinguished from those of the Australian Mounted Division;

(6) In Australia (and eventually in the A.I.F.), used to denote Australians and New Zealanders who served on Gallipoli.
The generally accepted uses of the term are (1), (2), (3), and (6).

Clearly Bean has indicated that while originally the term ANZAC was, as is well known, a short-hand way of referring to the actual army corps, a new word - 'Anzac' - sprang from this which almost immediately evolved to have different meanings and uses.

Most authors since 1915 have used the proper noun 'Anzacs' or 'Anzac' to refer to the troops, the sector of Gallipoli and the actual cove.

It's ludicrous for anybody now to suggest that each and every one of these writers used the term incorrectly because they did not entirely capitalise it, and insulting to imply that they didn't know any better - but that 'we' do.

Consider exactly who used or uses the noun 'Anzac' :

The official Australian historian, Dr. Charles Bean;
The official British and New Zealand historians;
The Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in their official documents;
Those who wrote articles for the RSL in Reveille and other returned servicemen's magazines;
Those who wrote the unit histories (Australian, New Zealand and English);
Those that have written for the Australian War Memorial's Journal; the Gallipolian magazine; the Army Journal; the Defence Force Journal; the New Zealand Defence Quarterly and others.
Other authors on the subject (including French, Americans, Canadians and Turks);
All the newspapers of the day;
The Macquarie, Oxford and Collins dictionaries;
The compilers of the Imperial War Graves Commission's cemetery registers.
ALL used 'Anzac' when referring to the place, the holiday, or the men. They did not fully capitalise the proper noun because not only would that be an incorrect use of the term, it would also be incorrect use of basic grammar.
Almost every writer since 1915 has accepted that the word has different facets representing different concepts, that it is a word - a proper noun (or in some cases an adjective) - and we all (should) know that neither a proper noun nor an adjective is ever entirely capitalised.

Fully-capitalised acronyms may be used as words in order to avoid confusion with a word of the same spelling and pronunciation if that word already exists (for example PIN or AIDS - both these words - 'pin' and 'aids' already existed, so retaining the capitalisation for the new acronym helps avoid confusion). Obviously this is not the case with 'Anzac'. The word was invented in 1915, so there was no chance of confusion with an already-existing word (other examples of acronyms which evolved into nouns in the same way are 'Qantas', 'Fiat', 'scuba', 'laser' and 'radar'). The fully-capitalised acronym ANZAC refers only to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

It should not be used when referring to the sector at Gallipoli (the Anzac sector), the soldiers (the Anzacs), the name of the cove (Anzac Cove), the national holiday in Australia and New Zealand (Anzac Day), and it should not be used when writing of the Campaign Honours Landing at Anzac, Defence of Anzac and Withdrawal from Anzac.

To fully capitalise 'Anzac' in any of these cases is both historically and grammatically incorrect. The fully capitalised 'ANZAC' refers only to the army formation which came into existence in 1915 and which was disbanded in early 1916, and that's how I use it on this site. That's how almost every writer has used it since 1915.

From Hart's Rules, Oxford University Press 1983:

"As a general rule, abbreviations and contractions should be followed by a full point unless the shortened form consists [entirely] of upper-case initials or is a recognized acronym pronounced as a single word: thus print BBC, HMS, OUP, PAYE, PLC, SDP, SPCK, TUC, WEA; Anzac, Aslib, Fiat, Naafi (or NAAFI). Abbreviations and contractions consisting of a mixture of upper and lower case take full points, as in I.o.W. (Isle of Wight), Bt. (Baronet), Kt. (Knight), Ltd. (Limited), St. (Street), and university degrees (D.Litt., D.Phil., Ph.D., etc.); exceptions to be made for Dr (Doctor), Revd (Reverend; not Rev), Mr, Mrs, Mme, Mlle, St (Saint); here full points are not required."

I have increasingly often seen quotes taken from Bean and other authors where those doing the quoting - either in a magazine article, on a web site, or in a book - have capitalised the word 'Anzac' when it was NOT capitalised in the original document. I can only conclude that this is done to back the author's contention that the word should always be written in capitals. At worst, this is deliberate deception, and at best, sloppy research.

Most people will never read the original documents or official histories, and it's only reasonable for them to expect to be able to trust authors to have quoted truly and accurately from them.

Following are extracts from sources which have correctly used the word 'Anzac':

Sydney Morning Herald - Anzac


"Anzac" in the Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 1915, p. 13.

'Turkish prisoners at Anzac Cove. The name "Anzac" is made up of the initials in "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The cove is just north of Gaba Tepe, and the troops all land there.'

Anzac Park, Nelson, NZ


Anzac Park, Nelson, New Zealand.

One of the reasons sometimes given for fully-capitalising Anzac is that it is 'disrespectful' to New Zealand not to. Seems New Zealanders haven't had a problem with it though. The card above shows 'Anzac Park', in the South Island city of Nelson.

2nd NZEF Anzac Spirit poster

The poster below shows a 2nd World War NZEF Recruiting Poster. Note that 'The Spirit of Anzac' is calling.


2nd NZEF Anzac Spirit poster


Royal Australian Mint, the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin


Royal Australian Mint, the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin detail on their pamphlet


From the Royal Australian Mint; the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin pamphlet which uses the term both as capitalised and as a proper noun. Here 'Anzac' refers to the soldiers ('Anzacs'), and to the spirit - 'Anzac'

'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936 


'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936


Origin of word 'Anzac', no comment necessary - from 'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936 (and written by a New Zealander).

The Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland


The Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland


From the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland's 'Anzac Day 1921 - 1929'

Anzac Square sign, Brisbane


Anzac Square sign, Brisbane


While some in Queensland are insisting 'Anzac Square' in Brisbane is, and always has been, called 'ANZAC Square', they've been caught out because someone forgot to change the sign. Photographed 2007.

Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service)


Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service)


Extract from Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service) for Lieutenant Wilfred Bert Granger, 8th Battalion, AIF.
Died of Wounds at 'Anzac', 22nd August 1915. Buried Beach cemetery, Anzac.

Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.


Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.


Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.
Note that in this photo 'Anzac' refers (in different signs) both to the sector at Gallipoli ('Quinn's Post, Anzac'),
AND to the holiday ('Anzac Day').

Were these men - who had been to Gallipoli - wrong, and the people who are pushing NOW, 92 years later,
to have 'Anzac' always fully-capitalised - right?


Anzac Day anthology and Anzac Gallipoli Landing

Anzac Day anthology and Anzac Gallipoli Landing


One for 'Anzac Day', one by 'a Returned Anzac'.

Anzacs in snow

Anzacs in snow postcard



Anzac Pier


Watson's Pier at 'Anzac Beach'


Watson's Pier at, according to the card, 'Anzac Beach'

Bruce Topperwien was a Director in the Legal Services Group of the Australian Department of Veteran's Affairs (which administers the Protection of word "Anzac" Regulations), when he wrote an article on this subject.

The article argues for the use of the historically correct 'Anzac' over the baseless assertion that 'Anzac' should always be written fully capitalised.

Reference for the article is:

Topperwien, B. 'The word "Anzac" ', Sabretache, published by the Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA), Melbourne. July / September 1997, pp. 33 - 36.

The article may also be downloaded from Mr Topperwien's web site at:


See also the New Zealand Anzac Day site, maintained by the Heritage Group of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.


This section, 'The Anzacs', examines the development of the word 'Anzac' from the original acronym for 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps'.

The above item was taken in toto with minor edits from Anzac officers died at Gallipoli, an excellent site produced by Bryn Dolan.


After reading this essay, no one should be left in any doubt as to the correct English usage of the terms. It also clearly demonstrates the hubris displayed by the AWM in this circumstance. It is not in the market to change language and create confusion but to promote understanding of an aspect of the Australian story.


Further Reading:

Myths and Legends

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Anzac v ANZAC

Posted by Project Leader at 11:36 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 12:18 PM EADT

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