Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 24 April 2017

Anzac Day 25 April 2017

On Anzac Day morning at dawn we will join thousands of other Australians and New Zealanders who come together for Dawn Services at memorials in towns and cities across Australia and across the world to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.  With service personnel still serving in conflicts overseas, Anzac Day goes beyond Gallipoli and as the crowds at Dawn Services grow each year it is still as relevant today as it was then. The spirit of Anzac, with its qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. 
You can read more about the Dawn Service tradition here - Anzac Tradition 

Muffled voices. Shuffling feet. Drizzling rain. I pull up the collar of my coat. The beat of a single drum echoes up the street. Then the stamp of marching feet. I look through the rain towards the sound, see them emerge from the gloom into the flickering light of the street lamps.  Grim faced they pass us by, halt and turn as one towards the memorial. We bow our heads as the words are read. The lone bugle calls to the dawn. My tears mingle with the rain on my cheeks as I remember them. 

They were too young to die. My Great-Uncle Norman, aged 19, on the ridges of Gallipoli on 2 May 1915, and my husband’s Uncle Richard, aged 23, as a prisoner of war in Burma on 29 October 1943. Their lives had barely begun before it was snatched away. 
I never knew them. They were ghosts to me until I placed the poppies next to their names at the Canberra War Memorial in 2012. On that day they became real to me. My tears are for them.  

And for all those who died and those who returned maimed in body and spirit. Their youth and dreams lost in the pages of history.

Both these young men, are buried overseas as are thousands of others. Norman Albert Clayden at Lone Pine in Gallipoli and Richard Ramsden at Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Myanmar (Burma). 

Norman Albert Clayden
Cemetery: Lone Pine Memorial Country: Turkey Area: Gallipoli
Rank: Lance Corporal Force: Army Official Number: 881 Unit: 11th Btn.Australian Infantry, A.I.F.  Nationality: Australian
Details: Killed in action 02/05/15 Age 19,  Son of William George and Clara Clayden, of Craigie, Kulyaling, Western Australia. Native of Pingelly.

I never knew what Norman looked like until last night when I discovered this blurred photo of Norman on the web - Discovering Anzacs

Richard Ramsden

Cemetery: Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery Country: Myanmar Area: Yangon  
Rank: Gunner Force: Army Official Number: WX14461 Unit: A.I.F. 2/1 Hvy. Bty. Royal Australian Artillery Nationality: Australian
Details: Prisoner of War. Died of disease. 29-Oct-1943 Aged 23, Son of Philip Alfred and Janet Ramsden, of Perth, Western Australia. A16. C. 15. _______________________________________________________________________________

In January we felt privileged to be able to view the Spirit of Anzac Centenary travelling exhibition which tells the story of Australia's involvement in the First World War, featuring artifacts from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. 

Part of the exhibition was this fascinating display where you can look through the "camera" and view of the iconic photo of 11th Battalion taken on Sunday 10 January 1915 at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

Most of the 704 men who posed for this iconic image have never been named or identified and it is likely that this is the last photograph of many of them.  I know my great-uncle is among them. But where? There is a project to identify these men. You can find out more here  - 11th Battalion Project

The images and stories throughout the exhibition, and also when we visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the National Anzac Centre in Albany, left me with an overwhelming feeling and sense of the tragedy and waste of war - both for those who died and especially those who came back damaged in body and spirit. Those who returned were often suffering from "shell shock" or what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, as they struggled to return to their pre-war lives. 

Total Australian Casualties from World War 1 - 155,000 wounded, 61,514 deaths, 4,044 prisoners of war, deaths on Gallipoli 8,709.

Many who returned wanted to put their experiences behind them, many could not. Often they and their families suffered years of torment. Have we learnt from any of this?

 And the final panel of the exhibition -

Whatever these men did, nothing can alter now. The good and the bad, the greatness and the smallness of their story will stand. Whatever of glory it contains, nothing now can lessen. It rises, is it will always rise, above the mists of the ages, a monument to great-hearted men, and for their nation, a possession forever. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you reflect on a passed loved one on Anzac Day? Perhaps you'd like to share in the comments. 

You can search for the war records of your family member at the National Archives of Australia here -  NAA - Service Records

You might also like to visit - 
War Letters home
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!