Lest We Forget

Today is ANZAC Day, when we remember those who served in our military forces in wars ranging from as far away as Gallipoli to as close as Darwin. We remember those who gave their lives, and those whose lives were changed forever.

All around the country people were up before dawn, gathering at cenotaphs and shrines. Here in Melbourne, with the rain bucketing down in the chill dark, veterans, serving members of the ADF, relatives, school groups, and people who simply felt moved to be present stood in silence. Then, as The Last Post was played, the rain let up for one brief moment.

Today’s parades will echo that first march by Australian and New Zealand veterans in England. My own youngest children and their Grade 6 class will march for the first time with the 2nd 14th Battalion. They were so excited and yet so aware of how serious this is that – for the first time in their lives – they begged to be allowed to go to bed early.

In many small towns, the names of those who served are read out to honour them. I’d like to do the same on The Conscience Vote today, and so I’ll start with members of mine and my husband Brett’s families. Even though my family history is spotty at best, I have their names.

I invite any commenter to add the names of their loved ones who served in any war, past or present, on any side. Anti-war diatribes or partisan politics posted in comments will be immediately deleted, however. Today is about remembrance.

Private John Edward Bassett, 55 Anti-Aircraft Regiment. My maternal grandfather, who survived the 1942 Darwin bombings.

Harold Humphries, RAAF. My great-uncle, shot down and killed in action.

Private Albert Humphries, 2nd AIF. My great-uncle, captured by Japanese forces. We believe he died on the Burma-Thailand Railway.

Corporal Laurence Arthur Weaver, 2/2 Australian Malaria Control Unit. My paternal grandfather, who served in the Battles of Morotai and Borneo.

Peter Weaver, Royal Australian Infantry. My uncle, who served in Vietnam.

Nicholas Elliott, British Marine Medical Corps. Brett’s paternal great-grandfather, who served at the Battle of the Somme.

Carmello Azzopardi, RAN. Brett’s maternal great-grandfather, who served in the Battle of Jutland and on the HMS Ajax.

Dean Azzopardi, RAN. Currently posted to Cairns.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

ANZAC - Lest We Forget

The plaque at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance


30 Responses to Lest We Forget

  1. Catherine says:

    My grandparents:

    Antonio Massaro – served in the Italian Army in Greece, and was a prisoner of war there for much of WW2. Was part of the King’s Army, not Mussolini’s army. I’m not sure exactly how that worked, but it was important to him, so it should be remembered.

    Reginald Spear – served in the RAF in WW2, as a navigator, I believe, and ended up at Stalag Luft Three (he was involved in the Great Escape, but, fortunately for me, was not one of the people who actually did escape, or I probably wouldn’t have been born)

    Elisabeth Gartenberg – served as a VAD in WW2

    Also, my great-great uncle, Lix Brukner, who died in WW1 (fighting for Austria), and my great-great grandmother, Bella Brukner, his mother, and several other members of her family who died in a concentration camp in WW2… because they had lost sons fighting for Austraia in WW1, and couldn’t believe that they would be considered Jews first, Austrians second.

    I’m sure there were more – my grandparents and great-grandparents were all of just the right age to hit both world wars, but these are the stories I know.

    Lest we forget.

  2. Christina says:

    Brigadier Stuart Wier, my great uncle, served in PNG, lived to over 80 but with psychological scars never spoken of

    William Meredith, my grandfather who worked in intelligence in WWII, a gentle soul who hated war

    Ben Meredith, my great uncle who lost an arm in WWII and died young (but at home I think)

    Owen Dallimore, friend’s husband who served in Vietnam and never really recovered, died at home fairly young

    Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this beautiful tribute

  3. Loki Carbis says:

    Sydney Carbis, my grandfather. Served in World War Two, first with the Navy (sunk twice, and almost a third time – he and two mates were quarantined and so missed their berths on the HMAS Sydney). Later transferred to the Army, fighting in Europe and then serving in the occupation force in Japan.

    Allan Carbis, my father. Served in Vietnam after being conscripted into the Engineers, which thankfully was not a frontline combat unit.

    Darryl Day, my uncle and a close friend of my father (they were the archetypal mates who married sisters). Served in Vietnam as a conscript, and from what I have pieced together, saw things. Died unexpectedly not long after his return to Australia while in his late twenties.

    Thomas Bourke, my uncle. Served in Vietnam and lost almost all of both legs below the knee. Never lost his sense of humour, though.

    • It’s amazing how many people have relatives in the Navy who survived their ships being sunk. Brett’s great-grandfather Carmello survived three sinkings, the last being the Ajax.

      Thanks for posting this here, especially about your relatives who served in Vietnam.

      • Alex H. says:

        Yeah, Hood, 3 men survived of 1500, Sydney, none of 600, at Jutland 5th Batttlecruiser squadron lost several ships with nearly or actually all hands lost of 1500 a ship, Ajax took a pasting from 11 inch shells, 330kg shells, arriving at just slower than the speed of sound, yet only took 12 casualties and of them, only 7 deaths…. weird.

        Which Ajax did your Great Grandfather serve on? Reason I ask is the RN has been naming ships Ajax since the old ships of the line, the first fought under Rodney at St Vincent, but I was under the impression it was a lucky name, no HMS Ajax ever being sunk by enemy fire.

      • Alex, I believe Carmello served on the Ajax at Jutland.

  4. Bri King says:

    Corporal Norman Tasker 22 Australian Infantry Battalion. Served in PNG and Borneo. Came home but never recovered fully. (my Pop)

    Aircraftman 1 Alan Hatfield 1 EMBARKATION DEPOT RAAF. (didnt serve offshore) (my grandfather)

    Corporal Lola Blum VIC L OF C RECORDS Australian Army (didnt serve offshore) (my grandmother, still alive at 92).

    • I wonder if your Pop and my Grandpa Laurie knew each other – both were Corporals in the 2/22nd, serving in Borneo. Laurie, at least, seemed to be able to leave the war behind. He came back to his dairyman’s job, and later moved to the Riverina in South Australia to take up life as an orange farmer.

      What does ‘L of C’ stand for? I saw it on Laurie’s records. And how marvellous your grandmother is still kicking at 92!

  5. Very moving post, thank you, theconsciencevote.

  6. Merinnan says:

    Denis John Bithell, my maternal grandfather. Joined the British Royal Navy at 14 by being tall for his age and claiming to be 16. Served in the Asia-Pacific; was temporarily blinded when an anti-aircraft gun blew up in his face, killing the other two men manning it. Was present at the Japanese surrender, guarded Lord Mountbatten at Raffles hotel in Singapore, and helped carry POWs out of Changi.

    My Great-Uncle Jack, who served in the trenches in WWI.

    My uncle Herman, who was forcibly recruited into Hitler Youth, and then sent as part of the German forces who attacked Russia. He spent three years in a Siberian POW camp, with a bullet from the fight he was captured in lodged in his jaw the entire time.

    All my other male relatives who I know served in both world wars, but I don’t know where, exactly. Some came home, some didn’t.

    My step-father’s father, who served in WWII. He came home, only to find that his wife had died of an aneurysm while he was gone. He remarried, and lost his second wife the same way (minus the being at war bit).

    My step-father’s maternal grandfather, an ANZAC at Gallipoli. He was injured at Lone Pine and sent home.

    • Whew, that’s a heck of a list. Your uncle must have been in agony the whole time he was in the Siberian camp.

      Thank you for posting this.

      • Merinnan says:

        I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a bullet in your jaw for three years. Or to have an anti-aircraft gun blow up in your face. Or any of the other things various people on this list went through.

        I’ll also add a couple more:

        My uncle John, who was drafted for Vietnam. The war ended just as he finished basic training.

        My step-father’s great-grandfather, who was an engineer in Africa, and fought in the Second Boer War. He was at the Siege of Mafeking.

        My cousin Alan’s father, whose name I don’t think I ever knew. He was a footman at a manor house in England. He went off to WWII when his wife was pregnant with Alan, and never came home. He was killed in France, IIRC.

      • Merinnan, Brett’s uncle had the same experience – was about to be shipped out when the war ended, which was a great relief to the family.

        You had a relative in the Boer War? How great that you have that information available to you.

  7. I didn’t even know about Carmello Azzopardi. Thank you.
    I would also like to add Dean Azzopardi, currently serving in the Royal Australian Navy in Cairns.

  8. Gwen says:

    Thank you.

    My Grandparents:

    Geoge Thomas Ryan – New Guinea, 2nd world war

    Percy Bland – Gallipoli, The Somme, Middle East – 1st world war

    They both survived and lived full lives. George went away a redhead and came back with white hair and a permanent red face…..and malaria..

    Percy lost a leg in the desert and had athsma from being gassed on The Somme.

    Lest we forget.

  9. I would like to have remembered:
    Claude Belmore Gallaway, 25th Battalion Infantry, served in Palestine, killed in France in the First World War. His remains are unknown.

    His brothers who also served in the First World War:
    Edward Gore Gallaway (Great Uncle Ted)
    Rupert Franklin Gore Gallaway (my grandfather, known as Jack)
    William Gallaway (Great Uncle Bill)

    In the Second World War:
    Roland Gore Gallaway (Uncle Roly) who served as a Coast Watcher in Papua New Guinea and with occupation forces in Japan.

    Jack Franklin Gallaway (Uncle Jack) who is still with us. Served in the Navy, with occupation forces in Japan, and in Korea. Jack has written a history of Australian involvement n the Korean war called The Last Call of the Bugle: the long road to Kapyong. http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/Author.aspx/1054/Gallaway,%20Jack

    John Joseph O’Carroll (my father, Jack) 2/10th Field Artillery Regiment, 8th Division. My father served in Malaya but was invalided home six weeks prior to the fall of SIngapore. He therefore survived the war in Australia (that’s how come I was born in 1944). Unlike many of his comrades who died in Changi, ended up on the Burma Railway, or were imprisoned in Japan.

    Thank you for the opportunity to memorialise these men of my family. The story of the women surrounding Uncle Claude – his mother and his sisters – continues in the records we have found relating to him and to their quest to find out what had happened to him and to keep prodding the powers that be to keep searching. The efforts of my great-grandmother and my great aunts were to no avail … but the sadness and loss is evident in the letters they wrote.

    Brigid O’Carroll Walsh

    • Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ll be interested to check out the history your uncle Jack wrote – so little is still known about Australia’s involvement in Korea.

      I hope that one day your family can find out where your uncle’s remains lie. My great-uncle Alby’s body was never recovered, and his sisters were devastated. I hope you eventually have better luck.

  10. reynardo says:

    Alick Herbert Richards – WWII Supplies and logistics. Might not sound important, but the troops wouldn’t cope without it. Grandpa, you were a scoundrel and a lothario, but you did serve.

    Harry Caldwell – WWII something-to-do-with-ciphers and we really ought to find out what. Nice try, Great-grandpa, dropping your age by 15 years to sneak it. But they found out and they *still* kept you in. How I wish I had known you better.

    Uncle Len Richards, WWI.

  11. michelle says:

    My family members died or survived in the Holocaust. Are their names welcome here?

  12. Thank you. My dad served in the RAAF 21 Squadron in Malaya and Singapore. He loved Anzac Day and marched every year as long as he was able. I miss him so much today.

  13. Let me make the point again – if you feel moved to make angry comments about war, or any one country’s role in any given war, take it elsewhere today. This post is for the remembrance of all who fall in war, known and unknown, and I will not hesitate to delete any comments that choose to use this day for cheap rants or partisan diatribes.

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