The Rising Sun What is ANZAC Day?

What is ANZAC:
ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is a term used to refer to the soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who fought originally in World War I, and various other wars and conflicts since. The history of ANZAC's is a significant part of the military history of both Australia and New Zealand and holds a special place in the national identity of these countries.

Dawn of the Legend - ANZAC Origin - World War I:
The ANZAC's were formed in 1915 as part of the Allies' effort to defeat the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to send a combined force of soldiers to fight in the Middle East. This force was sent to the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey (now spelt "Turkiye") with the aim of capturing the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) and securing a sea route to Russia.

On April 25th, 1915, (ANZAC day) the First Fleet of ANZAC's experienced their first major battle in the Gallipoli campaign. The Allied troops were met with intense opposition from the Ottoman forces when they arrived at the Gallipoli Peninsula. During the campaign, repeated battles occurred between the two sides, causing significant casualties. Despite their valiant efforts, the ANZAC's could not accomplish their intentions, so the Gallipoli campaign was cancelled. More than 130,000 soldiers lost their lives including, 8,141 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders.

Despite their defeat at Gallipoli, the ANZAC's continued to play a significant role in World War I. They served in many other battles, including the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. The ANZAC's made a significant contribution to the Allied victory in the First World War, and many of them paid the ultimate price for their bravery and sacrifice.

World War II:
On the 3rd of September 1939 Great Britain declared war on Germany and the ANZAC's once again was called upon to support Britain and allied forces. Almost a million men and women fought in campaigns against Axis forces (Nazi Germany, Italy and Empire of Japan) in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, south-east Asia and other parts of the Pacific. 72,814 Australians were slain in battle. Over 31,000 service personnel became prisoners of war. 22,000 of which were captured by the Japanese and by the end of the war over a third tragically died in the atrocious conditions of the prisoner-of-war camps. 11,928 New Zealanders also lost their lives during the war.

Some significant battles fought during WWII include but are not limited to:
  • Battle of Greece (1941)
  • Battle of Crete (1941)
  • Pacific War (1941-1945)
  • Battle of Darwin (1942-1943) (see below)
  • Battle of the Coral Sea (1942)
  • Battle of Milne Bay (1942)
  • Battle of Kokoda Trail (1942)
  • Battle of Buna-Gona (1942-1943)
  • Battle of Wau (1943)
  • Battle of Salamaua (1943)
  • Battle of Bougainville (1943-1945)

  • Battle of Darwin:
    During World War II for the first time Australia's mainland came under attack on the 19th of February 1942. The town of Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia, was subjected to a bombing raid by Japanese forces. The precise number of deaths is unknown but is suspected to exceed the initial estimate of 243 people. The attack also caused destruction to the buildings, ships and infrastructure. This was the most severe attack on Australia's mainland throughout the war and has been recorded as an important event in the country's history, representing the sacrifices of its people and the country's susceptibility to attack.

    ANZAC Service:
    World War I: 1914-1918
    World War II: 1939-1945
    Korean War: 1950-1953
    Malayan Emergency: 1948-1960
    Indonesian Confrontation 1963-1966
    Vietnam War: 1962-1975
    Gulf War: 1990-1991
    Afghanistan: 2001-2021
    Peacekeeping Mission: Since 1947

    ANZAC Day, Today:
    Today, ANZAC Day is an important national holiday in Australia and New Zealand, commemorated on 25th of April each year to remember the ANZAC's who fought in the First World War. It is a day to reflect on the sacrifices made by the ANZAC's and to remember all those who have served in the military. ANZAC Day is marked by ceremonies, parades, marches and memorial services, as well as activities such as the laying of wreaths, the playing of the Last Post and others depending on location and traditions. ANZAC Day has come to symbolize the values of bravery, courage, endurance, and mateship that are associated with the ANZAC spirit and are considered an integral part of the national identity of both Australia and New Zealand. Each year, ANZAC Day, and other events bring the communities together to pay their respects to our fallen heroes.

    In conclusion, the history of the ANZAC's is a significant part of the military history of Australia and New Zealand and holds a special place in the national identity of these countries. The bravery and sacrifice of the ANZAC's during the First World War have been remembered and honoured for more than a century and will continue to be remembered for generations to come.

    Lest we forget.

      Bacchus Marsh
    2003 & '10
    Swan Hill
    2005 & '11