Lest We Forget

Four years ago, I heard for the first time the story below, as told by my Grandfather, one of his experiences of World War 2. It was a story he would often revert to until his death in February 2015. In his final years he became very teary, almost childlike and he became stuck on certain themes…the war was one of them.

Both my Nan and Grandfather have now passed on but one of my proudest Anzac Day memories was accompanying my Nan along George Street in the March in 2007. I held back tears – Nan was legally blind and managing crippling pain for a bone disease with endone, yet one foot in front of the other – we marched in time, hand in hand, bag pipe music serenading us down the street. So proud.

And my Grandfather, the private man, who held so much in, told me the story below on the 25th April, 2013.

 

Catch Up With A Mate

 

My Grandparents- Bruce and Joan Gibson- True Anzacs xx

My Grandparents- True Anzacs

Anzac Day, 25th of April, 2013

My Grandfather told me a story about his war-time experience that I hazard a guess he had never told anyone. It made for a very special day, I felt honoured and privileged that he opened up to me and told me a tale that for 68 years had never had an audience….

‘ His name was Alton Neil Robinson….but we all called him Bill. He was a few years older than me at school and very intelligent. He completed his leaving certificate at Mudgee High School ( 5 years of High School). I only did three years of secondary school’

‘ In Bills civilian life, he was a very talented cyclist. He also had a passion for languages’

‘ How many languages did he know?’ I asked but I did not…

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Start of War

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. A day of remembrance for those Australians who have tragically lost their lives in warfare.

It is a sad day, a day for reflection, a day to pay respect to the sacrifices made and the hardships endured…whilst at the same time, a day where it is important to share a smile, a conversation with those you hold dear, your mates, your comrades, your peers, your BFF’s, your pets.

A day set aside to cherish time with your nearest and dearest….is that not an official Anzac Day message?

Prior to jetting off to Melbourne recently, I prepared myself for the cultural shift that would occur upon leaving Sydney’s shores, by playing on high rotation, the divine Ms Clare Bowditch’s album – Modern Day Addiction circa 2010.

Song 10 ‘Start of War” a hauntingly beautiful song. If played in 1914 at the start of World War One, would it have caused people to think twice about settling world affairs with ammunition?

Big men talking all of the time
And none of us are sure what they are saying
Take these children by the hand
Remind them what it is to be just playing

Every day we are fighting wars with people
Who did not cause the start of war
The start of war, the start of war
The start of war, the start of war

On my recent trip to Melbourne, whilst shopping Woolworth’s, Smith Street, Fitzroy, I believe I saw the divine Ms Clare Bowditch in the bread isle. She was wearing big sunglasses, and looked like everyone else, shopping for the family in a track suit. But for her flame red hair…and sunglasses….Rock star attire ( in Woolies anyway)

She smiled at me….In true Anzac spirit, mateship, a simple jesture…a lovely way to make peace, to acknowledge another human being.

Lest we forget those who have lost their lives due to war.

Our smiles today will forever be a mark of respect.

Related Stories-

Anzac Biscuit Recipe

My Grandfather Remembers- World War Two

 

 

 

 

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Buscuits

Anzac Buscuits

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

The Anzac Biscuit….A fitting time to bake them really,  given that tomorrow is Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia, which commemorates and honours the lives lost, the sacrifices made by men, women and children in the First and Second World War.

As I mixed this humble mix of kitchen staples together on Sunday afternoon, the flour, the oats, the sugar…I thought of a time gone by, when food rashions were in place, when eggs and dairy products were priced beyond the means of the average family income…The result…the emergence of  the Anzac buscuit…A sturdy, chewy, sugary, oatey treat….

The Anzac Biscuit was economical cooking  AND  it  kept well. Wives, mothers and girlfriends could whip a batch of oatey goodness  and send them to their men, their boys serving in the war…A cheap treat, that not only tasted good but was guaranteed to taste good for months on end.

Anzac Day, the 25th of April…a time to pause, a time to reflect….If I am honest, if was not till my early 20’s that I began to register the significance of this day….And not till after I returned, aged 24, from a 2 year UK adventure, that I took any interest.

Both of my Mother’s parents served in World War Two….this much I know…My Nan marched in the George Street Anzac Day march for 34 consecutive years….only recently hung up her marching shoes, opting to watch the march on television.

There is something about this day that I find intrinsically sad…I have watched the Sydney march, even walked arm in arm with my Nan one year…and I am forever struggling to hold back tears…A combination of bag pipe music ( gets me EVERY TIME!!) , crowds, and the immense pride shown by those marching, each step often a conscious effort, one foot in front of the other territory…. time has crept up on the those who served in World War 2,  the Vietnam war, they are old, aging….Yet the Anzac Parade brings out their super hero qualities…and we , the audience,  have to accept that this is something they want to do, they need to do…All you can do is cheer, clap and applaud  these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our country….

So tomorrow, why not bake a batch of our national biscuit: the Anzac?… Chances are you have all the ingredients waiting to be thrown together and baked at 160 degrees!!

Anzac biscuits Makes 24

Preheat oven to 160 degrees

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup of coconut

1 cup plain flour

1 1/2 tspn bicarbonate soda

2 tbspn boiling water

1 cup sugar

125 g butter

1 tbspn golden syrup

Combine rolled oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.

Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dried ingredients. Spoon dessertspoonfuls of mixture on greased oven trays, allow for room for spreading.

Bake in slow oven  for 20 mins. Loosen on trays while warm, allow to cool.

Eat , Enjoy…Share with those you love and treasure….

Lest we Forget

xxx

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