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Ordinary blokes?

From: matheson75@yahoo.ca
Date: 3/12/2002
Time: 10:40:13 AM
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For Mel: When WWI broke out thousands of ordinary Aussies drwan from all walks of life, not just the outbackers, offered their services & joined up. There was still a feeling then towards the Mother Country - England. Those Anzacs ho landed up in the fighting in France went through hell. Gallipoli was another horrendous undertaking, doomed almost from the start. But those that came back were forged of a different metal & in Palestine earned their legendary status. A Lighthorseman & his Waler were a formidable team, but as "Taz" says to "Dave" in "The Lighthorsemen", when he asks "What are we doing?" He replies - "What we're bloody told!" The British officers & higher-ups found Aussies undisciplined & off-hand! But their inborn qualities of looking out for their mates, old-fashioned guts & general abilities often learned the hard way made them superb soldiers. Civilian soldiers it's true. So yes their well earned legend comes down to us today & perhaps Mel if push came to shove you might find yourself excelling in a tough spot! The British soldiers were perhaps more conditioned by hard military discipline, but I think the Aussies were more capable of thinking for themselves?, & still performing as soldiers! The end tragedy of that war was so many sickened & died from disease while waiting for repatriation & as for their Waler horses, the damn government of the day decided they couldn't afford to send them home, or contemplate quarantine. The best went to the Indian army, others to the Egyptian population & the worst were destroyed. The story that the men shot their own steeds to save them falling into native hands is not so. At the time this decision re the Walers led to at least one lady starting a humane movement I believe in Cairo. The only horse that got back safely to Oz was the charger of the dead Commander killed at Gallipoli & it took part in his official funeral procession. That desert campaign in Palestine in WW1 could never have succeeded without the Walers, & their riders depended on them for life itself ever day.

Last changed: March 12, 2002