ANZAC Day 2019
This year ANZAC day for me has been very different. In 2018, I had the privilege of delivering the address to the people of Geelong at Johnstone Park and taking the salute at the march that followed. This year was an opportunity to stand before a different audience. I was invited to address the students of Bellarine Secondary
College on 24th April. The whole school were in attendance in the basketball stadium at Drysdale, a total of 1200 students and staff. A very humbling experience. My subject was “Bill the Bastard”.
On 26th April I had the honour of addressing to the students of Dandenong High School. The school has a direct link the 4th Lighthorse Regiment as its founding headmaster, Percy Langford was a Trooper in A Squadron having enlisted on 15th
August 1914. He was allocated regimental number 136. The colours of the 4th Light Horse are the school colours. There were 2000 students in attendance at the ceremony.
I am very proud to have had the opportunity to stand in front of so many young Australians and tell them about the Light Horse. I am satisfied that there are many of our younger generation who are open to hearing about our history and in particular the Light Horse story.
My two presentations can be viewed on the Foundation’s Anthology page of the Website.
The Chauvel Awards
The Board has given careful consideration to the form of the Chauvel awards. The first awards being considered will focus on the contributions that have been made to the Anthology to date. Since the last newsletter, there have been some very interesting additions from contributors and I suggest that you take this opportunity to visit the site and read the stories.
The judging criteria and the judges for the inaugural awards are being finalised and details of the judging process and the award winner will be announced hopefully by the end of July this year.
The DGR Application
We are continuing to finalise the registration as a DGR organisation. As referred to the last newsletter, the process has seen us review the Foundation’s objectives. We have not changed the objectives, but we have prioritised them. The building of a virtual museum is our primary focus.
At our May Board meeting we will be taking a further step towards registration by enlisting the assistance of BRIG Peter Alkemade who is involved in three organisations that he has assisted to obtain their DGR registrations.
A separate announcement will be made when our application has been successful.
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Dearberg as a Foundation Ambassador. I have had the pleasure of meeting with Neil and was drawn to his enthusiasm for Light Horse history. I am delighted that he has a accepted of my invitation to be appointed.
Here are the details of Neil’s background:
Neil was an Army officer for 15 years then principal of a financial planning practice for 23 years before taking up conflict archaeology, military history research and photography. He attended four field projects in Jordan with the Great Arab Revolt Project of the Bristol University UK and three field trips to assist an American PhD candidate. Focusing on the Sinai Palestine campaign he has given lectures in Australia for the Australian History Association at the University of the Sunshine
Coast, Jordan for the Australian Embassy and American Centre for Oriental
Research, the Military Historical Society of Australia and the 2018 T.E. Lawrence Society Symposium in Oxford, UK. He was Head of Research for a three-part documentary on the Arab Revolt in Jordan and member of a research team for the Petrie Museum (University College of London) on war in the Middle East 1915-1918. USAID contracted Neil to conduct a project for the establishment of an Arab Revolt museum in Aqaba. Neil has researched in Australia, Jordan, Syria (before the troubles), Israel and England.
His book Desert Anzacs: the under-told story of the Sinai Palestine Campaign 19161918 highlights the achievements of General Sir Harry Chauvel and the Anzacs. In addition, he has had over a dozen related articles published in USA, UK, Jordan and Australia.
We are about to embark on a membership drive. The benefits of being a member are being finalised and we are close to arranging the appointment of a Membership Manager.
The Board is planning to hold some functions in the coming months which will have both a social theme as well of an opportunity to be able to hear from presenters who have experiences and knowledge of the Light Horse.
A matter for thought
I have recently given thought to and had discussions relating to one of the Foundation’s objectives which states as follows:
Develop partnerships with other organisations with similar objectives which would exemplify or assist in the promotion of the characteristics that define Sir Harry Chauvel to be an outstanding Australian.
Sir Harry was a very charitable man and was an advocate for the development of Legacy which was formed in 1923. In 1925 it was suggested that Legacy should look into caring for the children of deceased servicemen. This proposal was accepted, and Legacy found its soul. The legacy of care continues today.
In the last couple of months, I have had discussions with Katrina Lawrence. Katrina has a deep interest in the stories of war veterans and while there are none of our World War 1 Veterans alive, she has conducted interviews with World War 2 veterans and had their stories captured on video accompanied by background voice over.
Lately, my discussions with her have moved to youth suicide and more specifically our veterans who are currently suffering from PTSD and who are committing suicide in unacceptable numbers.
Her concern and mine is that our veterans and their families need not only medical support in a variety of forms but also, they need emotional support. What form this takes is not yet defined but if there is to be any programme developed it has to be on the basis that we know what the background is to a veteran's experience as a result of their deployment but a clear understanding the situation and circumstances the veteran experienced before deployment.
The Foundation is an organisation that has and can draw upon considerable knowledge and understanding their plight and can most likely be in a better position to prepare a plan and use the aims of the Foundation. This will incorporate its proposed registration as a charitable organisation as a means of providing valuable financial and emotional support and assistance.
To achieve this, I believe that we will need to form a steering committee. This committee would include a representation of the Board and any other persons who can exhibit a deep interest in this issue.
The Board will be further discussing this very important initiative at future Board meetings and an announcement will be made soon.
If you have any interest in this subject, please email me with your details and level of interest.
The Foundation Board
I wish to thank the Board for their continuing support. Since the last Newsletter, our legal representative Elizabeth Lambert has resigned after she relocated to Sydney. Elizabeth has made some valuable contributions to the Board and I wish her well in respect to both her legal career and her Olympic aspirations in the sport of alpine skiing.
The Board has approached Nik Dragojlovic SC a specialist lawyer at Hall & WilcoxMelbourne. Nik is also an Army Reservist and has offered his legal expertise to us on the occasions that we need it. I welcome Nik’s involvement with the Foundation.
The current Board Members are as follows:
Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Smith – President and Treasurer
Doctor Richard Chauvel – Vice President
Colonel John Molnar – Secretary
Doctor Honor Auchinleck – Member
Ms Linda Garnett – Member
Brigadier Michael Annett – Member
Doctor David Holloway -Member
Lieutenant Colonel John Boyce - Member
Lieutenant Colonel Tony Stevens – Member
You are welcome to contact the Board via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Brigadier Mike Annett CEO RSL Victoria and the staff at ANZAC House for their support and continuing assistance to the Foundation.
Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Smith RFD
21 May 2019
Corryong College: A Tribute to the Light Horse
Corryong College’s year 5 and 6 together with their teachers published their Light Horseman of the Upper Murray just days before the Man from Snowy Bush Festival in Corryong (6 - 8 April). During the First World War fifty-seven men from the Upper Murray served in the Light Horse. Each student wrote about one Light Horseman. Books are available through Corryong College (02 6076 1566) for $20.00.
Light Horse Silo Art Revealed in Devenish, Victoria
The Yarrawonga Chronicle reported recently on the success of a silo art project in Devenish Victoria. Devenish’s population of 200 was reported to have "swelled tenfold with a special early Anzac Day Service .... which included the official opening of wonderful silo artwork". They further reported that "an estimated 2,000 people attended the service in front of the silo artwork", with "100 locals [raising] more than $20,000 to fund the striking 20-metre silo art which has already attracted over 50,000 visitors in less than 12 months". We have posted an image of the artwork at our web site.
A Century ago…. Anzac Day 1919
On the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, 25 April 1916 had seen 2,000
Australian troops commemorate the event by marching in London, while for troops in Egypt there was a parade and sports day. In Australian cities, there had been large patriotic rallies and parades of serving members of the AIF, including convoys of wounded soldiers attended by nurses. For the remaining years of the war, “Gallipoli Day” (later re-named “Anzac Day”) was used as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns.
But what happened now the Great War was over? John Boyce explains:
A century ago, Anzac Day 1919 was an event marked with very mixed feelings. The Great War was over, but families were coming to terms with the significance of the casualties. And as yet, most of the troops were still not home.
The 1914 Originals had been quickly granted leave and were on their way to Australia before Christmas 1918, but transport shortages and the huge task of moving so many troops had meant a delay for the others (e.g. the 1st and 2nd LH Regiments were fortunate to sail in early March 1919).
All the Australian Light Horse regiments in Syria and Palestine had been moved first to the coast and later to Egypt. But in March - April 1919 most found themselves saddling up once more, called upon by British authorities to deploy and restore order in Egypt during a country-wide nationalist revolt. There were riots, a general strike, mass protest marches, sabotage of railways and telegraph lines. At least 800 locals died and thousands were injured. The Great War may have been over, but sadly, while patrolling the Egyptian countryside and guarding key Egyptian installations another twenty Light Horsemen died from snipers and ambushes. The full story is available on the Chauvel Foundation’s website at https://www.chauvelfoundation.com/uprising-egypt.
Meanwhile, on Salisbury Plain in England, where those Light Horsemen of the corps cavalry from the Western Front had now been moved (13th LH Regiment and the other half of the original 4th LH Regiment), it was a matter of waiting. As historian David Holloway explains, “They were sailing home in dribs and drabs, largely according to where they were in seniority for repatriation”, as transport became available.
Some five thousand Australian infantry did take part in a large march through London on Anzac Day 1919, while dare-devil pilots of the Australian Flying Corps zoomed above in “hair-raising feats” (according to the Argus newspaper’s London correspondent).
Back in Australia on Anzac Day 1919, there were local marches. However, the Spanish flu epidemic led to the cancellation of the Sydney parade, while a Hyde Park commemorative service asked participants to wear a facemask and to stand three feet apart.
Looking to the future, Anzac Days in the 1920s would be a different matter…..
Future Projects for the Light Horse Anthology
This year we hope to extend the existing themes in the Anthology to include:
‘Legacy of the First World War: Profile on Welfare’ (more to follow) ‘The Light Horse and the Interwar Years’ (more to follow)
Connect with us further:
Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Smith RFD
May 2019 Newsletter
A Shrine of Remembrance Update: The Commemorative Sculpture of Chauvel
Enquiries have revealed that the Shrine is experiencing some technical difficulties regarding the installation of the necessary lighting for the Chauvel bust. The Shrine will be advising the Foundation of the timeline for the implementation of the solutions. Once the artwork has the necessary lighting and Chauvel’s biographical details are in place, the project will be complete.
Last Post Ceremony, the Australian War Memorial
Mark and Honor Auchinleck laid a wreath in memory of the Light Horse during the Last Post Ceremony on 15 February 2019 in the Commemorative Courtyard at the
Australian War Memorial. The Ceremony commemorated the 77th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore also marked the beginning of the incarceration of some 15,000 Australians who became prisoners of War in Changi. Honor’s father Tom Mitchell, General Sir Harry Chauvel’s son-in-law considered himself more fortunate than many to have been a POW in Changi and that he was not sent on the Burma Railway and other notorious camps.
Although Honor has been unable to establish whether or not there were any Light Horsemen who had served in the First World War who were serving on Singapore at the time of the capitulation on 15 February 1942, the Chauvel Foundation would like to hear from any descendants of First World War Light Horsemen who are also linked to service during the Second World War.
The President’s Report
The Newsletter, now sent to you at this time, is a very important part of the Foundation’s programme of maintaining our contact with you and to keep you informed of our achievements and our future developments.