posted at 03:50
Author Name:
Australia, N.Zealand mark 100 years since first troops left for WWI
The convoy left the Western Australian town of Albany on November 1, 1914, carrying 20,000 Australian and 8,500 New Zealand soldiers bound for Gallipoli in modern day Turkey and later the battlefields of Europe. "The first World War was the crucible in which the Australian identity was forged. In 1914 we were a country with a flag and a parliament but little sense of nationhood." Losses in Gallipoli were hard, with the offensive claiming the lives of more than 11,000 New Zealand and Australian troops in a matter of months, although worse battles were to follow in the Great War, Key said. "Our experiences in the First World War marked an important point in our coming of age as countries. They made us look at who we were, and we came from colonies to became nations," Key said. Albany in the far south of Western Australia was the gathering point for ships carrying the Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force which were later to become known as the 'Anzacs'. The first convoy was joined at sea two days later by two ships carrying more Australian troops along with the Japanese cruiser HIJMS Ibuki to help protect their journey. Japanese and New Zealand ships alongside French troops were also set to participate in this weekend's commemorations in Albany, a town which for many Australians who fought in WWI was the last they saw of home. Among those who travelled to Albany for the event was Judy Purdie, who told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was there in honour of her grandfather who left Albany to fight in France in 1916.

Posts Archive