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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    25th of April

    The 25th of April is not just "ANZAC" Day, but the culminating point of the decisive battle at Villers Brettonneux in 1918.

    Another "meat-grinder", but on this occasion, the Britishicon, Frenchicon and Australians pushed back the Germanicon offensive to regain the status quo.

    Significantly, it was also the first "tank on tank" encounter, with the Germans using fourteen of their holdings of the A7V tanks against British Mk IV tanks (one "male" and two 'female").

    It had started with a major "push" by German forces on the 17/18th of April, part of which was German artillery firing gas into the Australianicon positions causing about a thousand casualties.

    One of the A7V tanks used was named "Mephisto". Disabled by falling into a trench and ending up on its side, it was recovered some months later by enterprising Australian troops and now, as the sole survivor of its kind, lives a quiet life in a special, very large glass case at the Queensland Museum. Other examples of the A7V were captured, with some being exhibited in Britain as trophies post-war, but it seems that ALL bar "Mephisto" were subsequently broken up for scrap.

    The battle on that night was followed by several months of attempts to roll back the Germans. Ultimately Monash's concept of "quiet offensive" came into play, with Australian troops infiltrating at night, with no "conspicuous" reconnaissance and no preliminary bombardments or showers of "star-shells".

    My grandfather's unit, the Brisbane-based 26th Battalion, was in the thick of it, which is one of the reasons that "Mephisto" "retired" to Brisbane, spending many years under a glorified bus-shelter at the "old" Queensland Museum. Grandad "missed out" on the final actions, having been hospitalized due to the effects of appalling conditions in the trenches on top of several minor injuries.

    This was not long before the "Spanish" Influenza pandemic visited war-torn Europe and carried off as many again as had fallen in battle. Years of poor nutrition and "stress" seem to have played a big part in the speed and lethality of the "flu".

    Lest we forget.

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Yes that was part of the shire presidents address to the throng that was there today Bruce about that battle, they also asked for input for next years dawn service down at Peppermint beach it was suggested that a Maori haka be included in the service also the playing of the NZicon national anthem of which I have no issue with either being in it, as they were there with us through thick and thin during that terrible affair called WWI but were not as adept as Ausie soldiers light fingering unattended QM stores of creature comfort stuff from the unwary I call it long term borrowing.....
    What do you guys think its not set in concrete it was just a suggestion by the Capel president of the Capel Shire RSL Branch where I live.

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    It seems to have become an "overnight" national talking point for "speech-givers" today.

    I have my reservations about the ANZAC Day services being "institutionalized" and falling into the hands of "undesirables, as opposed to being generated by volunteers from a myriad local Ex-Service clubs.

    Certainly, many of the little services in country areas and city suburbs are not "slick" by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a fair reflection of each little community gathering to remember and honour horrendous loss and exemplary courage. There are a few "displaced" Kiwis" in the area DNSicon some turn up to that parade each year. Their flag flies beside the Australianicon one, on short staffs just behind the podium. They are not forgotten.

    "Our" little service in suburban Brisbane totally filled the small park in which it is traditionally held. A quick "guesstimate" by a few of us put the total at close to a thousand, including the hordes of school students, Scouts, actual veterans and the "congregation". People were milling about on the streets around the park, trying to get a better viewing or hearing position.

    I, for one, do not want to see the whole thing politicized like it was in the 1960's, nor turned into a piece of pointless "street theatre".

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    "Mephisto" "retired" to Brisbane, spending many years under a glorified bus-shelter at the "old" Queensland Museum.
    I saw that one when I was there in '77...didn't know the significance at the time.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    I am quietly confident Bruce that our small contingent of RSL veterans will ensure it is not rail roaded into some sort of fiasco that takes away the true meaning of why we attend this service every year and we all know why we do.
    There are 2 sandy beret wearing members that may have something to say if it ever goes south and the service is compromised by as you say un-desireables mind you there would be 3-400 others that might air their intolerance as well.
    We will wait and see what comes out in the Capel courier in the near future, it's a free magazine done by volunteers on the news around Capel and up coming events we are not a very big town a large shire yes but population is pretty small.


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