Monday, April 25, 2016

71 - Antarctic ANZAC day..........

Hi Friends

I know 2 in two days but today has special meaning to me both as an Australian and as a Antarctic Expeditionar. You think about all the family many of us have that were involved in the and the many that we have lost in all the wars its frightening. Antarctica has a link to to many of the wars as expeditioners and being Australian many returned from their time and signed up to do their duty.

Here I'm going to talk about two of the more famous ones in Frank Hurley and Hubert Wilkins. Both unbelievable men........

Hurley after two trips to the Antarctic continent with both Mawson and another with Shackleton. Then a trip in early 1917 to South Georgia a Sub Antarctic Island before in August the same year he joined the Australian Imperial Forces as official photographer with the rank of honorary captain.

Ive found many web sites that are full of interesting stuff in relation to this THIS one quotes Hurley

The living conditions on the front often reminded men like Hurley of his experiences in the south. Only a short time after his extraordinary time lost on the bitter Antarctic Elephant Island and living for 4 1/2 months with 21 others under upturned lifeboats, Hurley wrote in his war diaries about the warmth of companionship. In his diary, he commented on his response to the carnage while walking through battlefields strewn with dismembered corpses :
The Menin road is like passing through the Valley of Death, for one never knows when a shell will lob in front of him. It is the most gruesome shambles I have ever seen, with the exception of the South Georgia whaling stations, but here it is terrible as the dead things are men and horses. [17 September 1917]
On 30 December  1917, Hurley was with members of the Australian Light Horse in Palestine. That evening the men made camp, settling and feeding the horses.  As the dark grew around them, the soldiers gathered around a fire and asked Hurley to tell them about Antarctica. In this extraordinary moment the connections between the experiences of the explorers of the then almost completely unknown southern continent and the experiences of people in World War 1 became apparent.  He wrote about the episode:

‘After dinner the boys invited me to their campfire, and asked me to give them a few words about my Antarctic experiences. The novelty of the surroundings impressed me greatly, and I felt, in the interest expressed on the faces around me a reward for the tribulations of the South… How all these, my fellow countrymen appreciated my story. How they sympathized with the hardships and how they joined in hilarity when I related… the primitive routine of daily life. I enjoyed it as much as they.

This is the feeling of connection, belonging and an extended family I talk about so much in previous blogs. Its something intangible that many just won't ever truly get the meaning of unless you've been the isolated situation where you really do rely on your mates with the ultimate offering in the deal is your mortal life. I sit here shaking my head as to how to accurately describe something means so much but more.........

A couple other sites I found interesting too.......

Sir Hubert Wilkins and incredible man, pilot and explorer.  Also found this on Wilkins time in the WW1 HERE very interesting page dedicated to him.

Wilkins was presented with the Military Cross for his efforts to rescue wounded soldiers in the Third Battle of Ypres, where at Passchendaele allied forces suffered a quarter million casualties. He received a Bar for his Military Cross for temporarily leading a company of American soldiers, whose officers had been killed in action. Australian General Monash described him as "the bravest man I have ever seen".

Have a look at Sir Wilkins achievements HERE
And the interesting story about Walkabout Rocks here you might remember from from BLOG 68 i visited there and saw the actual copy of the magazine he left.

Very interesting man and if you'd like to read more have a look at the sites below.......

One page I did find was a AAD page HERE and it goes into much more detail but didn't want to drag you through too much after one blog published yesterday........

One other think I though I would stick in here kinda related was the myth that Hitlers had bases in Antarctica to hide all the treasures stolen during WWII. Found a quite conclusive document that concludes this was a myth.....check it out HERE.

RIGHT so back into the current and today we had the traditional Gunfire breakfast consisting of Rum served with coffee and the dawn ceremony. A little different to normal as dawn here today was 10:02am so it was not a 4am start like normal.  I had taken some time to learn how to correctly fold the flag as to "break" it. Rolling it up enabling it to be taken to the top then by pulling the bottom rope it would open the flag. I was a little worried it wasn't going to work too to be honest but thankfully it did.......

Below a pic of the "Official Davis ANZAC Day Cerimony" Poppy and the Davis Dollars we used for Two Up.

Pic Aaron Stanley
The Flags correctly rolled being taken to top of pole. Im actually the flag bearer this year! Jenn (current Australian Airforce on the Australian flag duties) and Chris on the New Zealand.

Pic Aaron Stanley
 Ali making the speech...
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Then it was time for Two Up.........John and Craig looked after policing everyone on this. Ring formed with a throw bag for ice travel for an Antarctic twist.
Pic Aaron Stanley
Me after fleecing Craig out of $200...... :)

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 Me after fleecing everyone else...... :) it all didnt fall out decided on a change so its all gone and nice and shiny, have to admit though when taking a beanie off my head is now like velcro.....

Pic Aaron Stanley
 Leslie our chef with her grandfathers medals. Leslie is ex NZ Airforce along with another 2 ex servicemen and Jen is currently serving in the Australian Airforce.

Pic Aaron Stanley
 So in a time of reflection I think its only fitting I leave it there.

Take care friends,


P.S..............Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.
                    Herbert Hoover