Re: [Slovak-World] OT What is Anzac Day?
- Thanks Nick, courage should always be remembered!
----- Original Message -----
From: Nick Holcz
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 11:59 PM
Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] OT What is Anzac Day?
At 10:09 AM 26/04/2004, you wrote:
>I've read something about Anzac Day in Australia. What is that a historic
>reference to? And what are Anzac bicuits?
I have cut and pasted some information. It is fairly long so apologies to
those not interested.
On 25 April every year Australians commemorate Anzac Day. It is Australia's
sacred day. The day has the same significance in New Zealand, Australia's
counterpart in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (the ANZACs) at
What is it Australians commemorate on Anzac Day?
Australia and New Zealand at war
On 25 April 1915 Australia and New Zealand were at war. Along with the
<http://www.ww1-propaganda-cards.com/allied_powers.html>Allies (the major
Allied Powers were the British Empire [Britain and her colonies and
dominions], France and the Russian Empire), the ANZACs were fighting
against the Central Powers (Germany, Turkey [then known as the Ottoman
Empire], and Austria-Hungary).
In response to a request for help from Russia, which was being battered by
the Turks in the Caucasus, the Allies decided to begin a campaign which
they hoped would distract Turkey from their attack on Russia.
The plan was for the Allies to attack and take the Gallipoli Peninsula, on
Turkey's Aegean coast, from which point the Allies believed they could take
control of the Dardanelles - a 67 kilometer (42 mile) strait which connects
the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara - and lay siege to Turkey's main
city, Istanbul (then Constantinople).
Landing at Gallipoli
As part of the larger British Empire contingent the ANZACs were brought in
from training in Egypt to participate. The ANZACs comprised the 1st
Australian Division and the composite New Zealand and Australian Division.
On 25 April 1915, the ANZACs landed on the
Instead of finding the flat beach they expected, they found they had been
landed at an incorrect position and faced steep cliffs and constant
barrages of enemy fire and shelling. Around 20,000 soldiers landed on the
beach over the next two days to face a well organized, well armed, large
Turkish force determined to defend their country - and led by
<http://www.ataturk.com/index2.html>Mustafa Kemal, who later became
Atatürk, the leader of modern Turkey. Thousands of Australian and New
Zealand men died in the hours and days that followed the landing at that
beach. The beach would eventually come to be known as Anzac Cove.
What followed the landing at Gallipoli is a story of courage and endurance,
of death, and despair, of poor leadership from London, and unsuccessful
strategies. The ANZACs and the Turks dug in - literally - digging
kilometers of trenches, and pinned down each other's forces with sniper
fire and shelling. Pinned down with their backs to the water the ANZACs
were unable to make much headway against the home-country force.
A lack of success
In Britain, the lack of success of the campaign was creating arguments
amongst the leaders of the time about whether the campaign should be continued.
While political leaders argued, the Australian and New Zealand soldiers
died in battle, from sniper fire and shelling, and those that lived
suffered from a range of ailments due to their dreadful living conditions -
typhus, lice, gangrene, lack of fresh water, poor quality food, and poor
sanitary conditions all took their toll.
That is surely at the heart of the Anzac story, the Australian legend which
emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military victories so
much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity.
It is a legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived
less from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of mateship
and the demands of necessity.
Former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Mr Paul Keating, at the
Entombment of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War Memorial 1993
Eventually it was decided that the Allied troops would be withdrawn from
the Peninsula; the attempt to control the Dardanelles had failed. The
ANZACs were evacuated and returned to the Middle East and the Western Front
where they were involved in other battles.
The Gallipoli campaign was an enormous failure, a failure bought at the
cost of an enormous number of lives, and the failure led to the resignation
of senior politicians in London. Thousands of Australian and New Zealand
soldiers had died, and thousands of other Allied troops from France and
Britain also died.
An <http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/>Anzac commemorative location has been
built at Gallipoli in conjunction with the New Zealand government and with
the approval of the Turkish government.
During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian
soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being
supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the
fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of
these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per
hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able
to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women
came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value
possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats
were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that
helped counteract the extremely cold climate.
The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut,
butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water.
All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called
Soldiers' Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed
A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture
together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the
services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was
golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated
with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight
containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.
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