Tuesday, 8 March 2011

And the Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda' - Eric Bogle

There's a bit of a Waltzing Matilda theme going on here, sparked by Adullamite and Relax Max's blogposts of late.


  1. This was sad, but I liked it a lot. It made me study up on Gallipoli. Americans don't know much about that campaign, since it happened before the Americans got involved. I didn't know that many people died there. In my readings I found that the Turks honored the graves of even the enemy fallen, after a time. And there were a great many graves. The Australians came so far to be buried there...

  2. The number of Australians killed in Gallipoli is grossly overstated as 50,000 at the beginning of this movie. The actual number was 8.709, and that's damn sure enough, though. Over 44,000 Allied soldiers were killed in the campaign, and another 87,000 Turks died defending their land. The Turks prevailed in that campaign. It is a sad tale.

  3. R.M: What you say is quite true.
    To the Australians and New Zealanders, the Gallipoli campaign was a brutal, ill-planned disater. As it was for the other allied troops, who died in far greater numbers. Loss of life amongst their Turk opponents was also very high. The leader of those Turks was Mustafa Kemal, who later became known as Ataturk. He was ultimately victorious, but was deeply saddened by the carnage. In 1934, he wrote these words, which are on the monument to both allied and turkish dead at Gallipoli.

    "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets,, to us where they lie side by side now, here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well."
    Kemal Ataturk, 1934.
    I can think of no more magnanimous words from a victor, a man who could have gloated over the downfall of his enemies, but instead uttered words of peace and reconciliation.

    The Turks, to this day, echo that sentiment.
    I read that soldiers in opposing trenches would throw paper twists containing tobacco to share with their foes. And turks, knowing of the poor rations their enemies survived on, threw food parcels.


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