ANZAC Day: Lest We Forget - I Will Remember

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget
those who gave up
their tomorrow
so we can enjoy
our today.

I come from a long history of family military service. I remember and honor all that served. Lest we forget.

ANZAC Day poppy

The landing at Anzac by Charles Dixon 1915 at National War Art Collection Archives New ZealandANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is recognized globally on the anniversary of the landing of troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I at dawn on April 25, 1915. In Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Newfoundland it is known as the Gallipoli Campaign or simply as Gallipoli.

A joint Imperial British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the geographical area that is now Turkey and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with the Russians including the strategically important Dardanelles in the Aegean. Russian troops were fighting on many fronts, particularly against troops from Germany and the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. 70,000 troops were amassed including the ANZAC forces were the first to arrive to fight on new sea fronts

As dawn broke on 25th April 1915, the troops were towed ashore in lifeboats to land at what quickly became known as Anzac Cove, and some way short of the intended landing place. ‘The boats missed their bearing‘ and it proved to be a costly mistake. On the first day alone over 2,000 men lost their lives and little ground was won.

Heavy casualties and bravery of military personnel were experienced on both sides in the 260 days at Gallipoli from April to December 1915. In the battles, many lives were lost on both sides and the Allied forces did not succeed. The last ANZAC forces withdrew from the Gallipoli peninsula by December 20, 1915. The retreat was just about the only successful operation with very few casualties.

ANZAC Badge australia Over 8,000 Australian and 2,721 New Zealand soldiers soldiers died in the Gallipoli campaign alone, and even though the campaign was a military failure, the ANZAC legend was formed. Many saw this as the start of the ANZAC spirit. This is an Australasian ideal based on the “mateship” and cheerful suffering the forces showed during this campaign.
ANZAC Çanakkale Savaşları Badge turkey In Turkey, the campaign is known as the Çanakkale Savaşları, after the province of Çanakkale. In Turkey, the battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people – a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic 8 years later under Ataturk, himself a commander at Galipoli.

Map of the Landing at Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I at dawn on April 25, 1915 by ANZAC's

In spite of losses, the Battle of Gallipoli / Çanakkale Savaşları resonated profoundly among all nations involved.

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ANZAC Badge commemorative

ANZAC Day has since evolved to additionally mark remembrance for the lives of those who died in all military actions, before and after.

On April 25 every year, ceremonies, parades, the wearing of red poppies, reunions of current & past military personnel, memorial services and other activities are held on ANZAC Day with a heightened sense of nationalism to solemnly remember the lives of those who participated or died in military action, particularly on the Gallipoli peninsula in World War I.

ANZAC silhouette 4Dawn prayer or church services are a particularly important aspect of ANZAC Day. These represent the comradeship that the soldiers experienced as they woke each morning to prepare for another day of military action.

After the services, ‘gunfire breakfast‘ (coffee with rum in it) is often served.

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Simkin Family Military Medals


Simkin Family Headshots Military History Henry Anzac Armistice PinGreat Grandfather
Henry Walter Simkin
Enlisted in the Australia Imperial Forces (Australian Army) in 1915 one week after his son, my grandfather enlisted. He re-enlisted in 1916 and was sent to France where he fought in World War I at Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele (one of the worst battles in modern history), where after he was charged going AWOL on May 9, 1918, found guilty of desertion, and sentenced to 3 years of penal servitude. His wife is told he’s dead and is granted a widow’s pension. Soon after, he is found alive, and the widows pension is cancelled. On June 12, 1918, his sentence was suspended, and on August 9, 1918, he was returned to Australia.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Roy Anzac Armistice PinGrandfather
Roy Henry Simkin (Pap)
Enlisted in the Australia Imperial Forces (Australian Army) at age 17 (with parental consent pretending to be 18) in 1915. He was gassed by mustard gas in World War I in 1918 near Le Havre, France, medically evacuated to England, refused to be discharged, literally jumped the return ship, and went back to his unit on the front lines in France only to be shot in the right shoulder in 1918, and returned to Australia. He also served as a government consultant during World War II.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Max Father
Brigadier General Maxwell Byron Simkin, CBE KStJ
Commissioned from Royal Military College Duntroon in 1942 and fought in the Middle East and South East Asia during World War II. He fought the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat in Malaya and New Guinea. In 1945 he commanded both 49th and 11th Australian Squadron Air Liaison Sections. He attended the Australian Staff College in 1948 and has served as a parachute instructor, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, The Royal Australian Regiment, and Commander of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. In 1968 he was appointed the first Director of the Australian Army Aviation Corps. Awarded the M.B.E. for military service in Malaya, the C.B.E. for his service as Commander in Vũng Tàu, South Vietnam, the USA Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in Vietnam, promoted to Knight of the Order of St. John by Her Majesty the Queen in 1994.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Irene Mother
Irene Marshall
Royal Air Force Warrant Officer served in World War II as Assistant to Marshall of the R.A.F., the Lord Tedder at Whitehall, England, Malaya and Singapore and met my father while teaching him how to parachute in England. Awarded the rare King George VI Malaya Medal for service in the Malaysian theatre of war.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Tim Brother
Colonel Tim Simkin, CSC
Commissioned from Royal Military College Duntroon on December 9th, 1980. Was the Australian Military Adviser to the U.N. and served in East Timor and Iraq.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Mandy Sister
Mandy Jeanroy
Managed procurement for all Australian Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian) at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.
Simkin Family Headshots Military History Toby Me
Toby Simkin
For a very brief time, I was in Australian Army Intelligence.

ANZAC For the Fallen Gallipoli Campaign We will remember them

For The Fallen

The fourth stanza or verse of a well-known poem, known as The Ode, is read aloud at many ceremonies. The “For The Fallen” poem was written by Laurence Binyon in 1914. It commemorates those who died and can never grow old.

For the Fallen


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Australian Army Chaplain

Padre Arthur White

A fiery priest renowned for his bravery on the battlefields of WWI was father of Australia’s most renowned and enduring commemorative ceremony.

ANZAC silhouette 1
ANZAC silhouette 4

Brigadier John White’s father was an Anglican (Church of England) minister, The Reverend Arthur Earnest White (or Padre White as he was known), born in London on August 27, 1883, baptised in the church of St. Martin’s in the Field. He read for an Arts degree at Leeds University, and was made a deacon in 1908, ordained a priest at Wakefield Cathedral, Yorkshire in 1909.

In 1912, Reverend Arthur White came to Australia, joining the Bush Brotherhood of St. Boniface in the Diocese of Bunbury, Western Australia. There he acted at the same time as examining chaplain to the Bishop of Bunbury. Padre White was one of the padres of the earliest ANZAC’s to leave Australia with the A.I.F. in November 1914. Before embarkation, at 4:00am, Padre White conducted a service for all the men of the battalion assembled in convoy at the Princess Royal harbour of King George Sound at Albany in Western Australia. Several ships went straight to Egypt for training before being dropped at Gallipoli on the morning of April 25th, 1915.

Padre White joined the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) 44th Battalion in 1916 Australian Imperial Forceand was shipped out to England for training, then onto the Western Front. As army chaplain he spent 2 years serving in the trenches and performing last rights for his slain countrymen on the Western Front in World War I. He largely served in Armentieres in the north of France and ended up in a military hospital, being treated for a long-term worsening ear condition. He suffered in various war hospitals, and was eventually sent back to Australia.

Records show he was discharged from hospital in Fremantle, Western Australia on February 12, 1918.

White Padre Mount ClarenceOn February 24, 1918 at 11:00am, according to St John’s The Evangelist church records, Padre White led a service where it is believed that after that service he held a private requiem mass for the battle dead. There is no detailed record of the event, but it is generally accepted that the group walked from St John’s to the rocky summit of Mount Clarence, at a site now known as “Padre White’s Lookout”, where many had gathered 4 years earlier to watch the ships leave in 1914.

Padre White left for the Australian east coast, where he stayed for the next 10 years. He initially worked at a military hospital in Caufield but moved on become Curate at St John’s in Melbourne in 1919 where his wife gave birth to his son, aptly named ‘John’. In 1923, he became Archdeacon and Rector of Broken Hill and in 1929 he returned to Western Australia, to be Rector of the St John’s The Evangelist Church in Albany.

Padre White circa 1930Wanting to honour the men he hadn’t been able to save on the World War I battlefields, on April 25, 1930 as Rector, in front of a congregation of just 30, he introduced a dawn Anzac Day service, which ended with a wreath being laid on the war memorial next to the church. This would grow to become Australia’s most renowned and enduring commemorative ceremony.

White church registar from the first Anzac Day dawn serviceHis original note in St John’s register in Albany reads: “Procession to memorial, wreaths laid. Collection for the Distressed Soldier Fund. First Dawn Service held in Australia.”

The following year on April 25, 1931, again from the summit of Mount Clarence over-looking the King George’s Sound anchorage, again to pay tribute to the troops, and as a key part of his ANZAC dawn service, Padre White arranged for a boatman to cast a wreath, “the flower of Australian manhood”, into its waters, thus establishing a tradition which has endured ever since.

Padre White was made an honorary Canon of Bunbury Cathedral in 1934. Eventually, Padre White was transferred to serve other congregations. He moved to the diocese of Bathurst, to be Rector of Forbes in 1938.

On May 19, 1938 the Albany Advertiser, under the heading “Cannon White Farewelled“, reported that before he left Albany, Padre White left 3 wishes with his congregation, one of which included: “guard closely that wonderful Dawn Service and the other ceremony that had developed from it, particularly the laying of the wreath in the waters of the Sound“.

In 1951 Padre White was made a Canon of All Saints’ Cathedral, Bathurst. he resigned from this parish in May 1954 and retired to the quieter life in the small town of Herberton, North Queensland, to be priest in charge and chaplain to St. Mary’s Girls’ School.Padre White grave in Herberton

Padre White died, aged 71 in Herberton on September 26, 1954, and was buried in Herberton’s cemetery according to his own strict instructions in a simple grave inscribed with “PRIEST“.

If Padre White’s aim was to be forgotten, then he failed.

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Padre White circa 1930 Padre WhitePadre White church registar from the first Anzac Day dawn service Padre White Flagstone in the ground at the St Johns The Evangelist Albany Padre White PlaquePadre White Farewell Prayer Forbes Advocate Padre White Farewell Lunch Forbes Advocate Padre White Farewell Announcement Forbes Advocate Padre White Death Announcement Forbes AdvocatePadre White grave in Herberton Padre White SignPadre White on Mount Clarence

Given the various myths, legends and truths distributed over time, I researched and compiled from various sources including the National Archives, The Australian War Memorial, The ABC, The National Library of Australia, family records, newspaper clippings and church records, accepting what appears to be the majority position from official sources.

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Gallipoli 1981 Film PosterFor more information visit:
Anzac Day traditions from the Australian War Memorial

For a film that gives a glimpse into the ANZAC spirit, I recommend Gallipoli (1981) See it on IMDB

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