Thursday, December 19, 2013

So wonderfully 'ANZAC'

While most of my reading over recent months has been fiction, I have also been picking away at a delightful book titled 'An awfully big adventure: New Zealand World War One veterans tell their stories'.

Penguin Books, 2013

This is a publication drawn together by historian Jane Tolerton based on a massive oral history project capturing the reminiscences of these men before they all finally passed on.

Several men talk about their time at Etaples training camp.


I love this delightful piece.

"At Etaples we were mixed up together, the Australians and us. We had an inspection one day. One of the heads of the British Army was coming to have a look at us.
The instructors were all British soldiers, up to sergeant majors, mainly sergeants. This instructor started yelling and bawling at us. The chap next to me was an Aussie. Hiles was his name. He started to laugh, and that started off quite a lot of laughing.
The instructor said "Don't you laugh at me. We train lions here."
Hile said "You haven't trained a kangaroo yet, mate." That started us off again.
Hiles got arrested. Three or four of our boys and three or four Aussies got put into jail - in huts. That night about 100 Aussies went down to the jail and let the prisoners out. Then they burnt the huts.
The next day there was another parade and the Aussies were shifted about 2 miles  away. That's when they split up the New Zealanders and the Aussies."
This is the stuff of the ANZAC legend, eh!!!

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