I think I ignored Anzac Day last year, on the blog, that is. I think I grew up as patriotic as the rest of the community, despite being embedded in a community of ‘German’ farmers, who were mostly third generation Australians. Anyway their services were definitely not required even in the Second World War. Indeed I understand that my father may have been involved in some Dad’s Army type exercises in case of a Japanese invasion. But when the authorities discovered there were Germans involved, that was the end of that.
However, apart from those of German origin very few Australian families escaped losing relatives on the battlefields of northern France and Flanders, our extended family by marriage amongst them.
The Australian War Memorial frames Passchendaele as an almost universal experience where in a concentrated area in three and a half months around a million and a half men experienced war. Total casualties are estimated at about 275,000 British and Commonwealth and about 200,000 German. All for a gain of 8 kilometres in the line, which was later given up. Continue reading The Battle of Passchendaele