Gallipoli and Eltham

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Busaholic, 25 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    5,964
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    Most of you will probably be aware that today is the centenary of the start of the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War, commemorated in Australia and New Zealand as Anzac Day.
    The suburb of Eltham in S.E. London, where I grew up, has had an association with the Gallipoli Campaign and those who fought and died in it since 1915. I won't attempt a full history of why this is so, as information is so widely available on the internet, but it was basically because of one man, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Southend Crescent, the Rev Henry Hall.
    I just wish, as my own small act of commemoration, to add my own memories as a boy who sang in that church choir from about 1958, aged ten, of the church service which took place every year on a Sunday close to that date of 25th April. This was not only attended by a large number of men who had fought in that campaign, but they first marched through the streets of Eltham to Holy Trinity, probably from Eltham Parish Church which is in the centre of Eltham. We choirboys gathered in the precincts of the church in silence to watch them before we all went in. What was noticeable over the years was the inevitable decline in the numbers attending, and the increasing frailty of some of those who still made it, including, I believe, many from Australia and NZ. It must also not be forgotten that the Second World War was still etched in the memory of those of my parents' and grandparents' generation, so nostalgia for old wars was not part of the mix like it is now.
    Twenty years ago, and by now selling books in Cornwall, I had a customer originally from New Zealand who was very interested in the 1st World War, particularly in relation to her country's role in it, and in those pre-internet days I tried to find out more about the Eltham connection, principally by asking my father, who had been church treasurer during the time I was in the choir, but unfortunately, although he had partially recovered from a stroke he was unable to tell me much I hadn't already gleaned.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2015
  2. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

    Messages:
    4,183
    Joined:
    23 May 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    (I think you mean First World War)
    It was a different world to grow up in, then, and I do regret missed opportunities to listen. The "old" people were WW1 survivors, and parents had done their bit in WW2, so involvement in either conflict was definitely part of living memory, part of the background to our lives.
     
  3. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

    Messages:
    6,817
    Joined:
    26 Apr 2010
    Thanks for that. Now that these events have passed beyond living memory, it's important to keep the memory alive.
     
  4. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    5,964
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    My stupid error, now duly corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
  5. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

    Messages:
    1,545
    Joined:
    10 Dec 2011
    Harefield, to the west of London past Ruislip, is another village which has a significant connection with ANZAC Day and holds a well-attended Dawn Service every year. The Harefield Hospital, these days better known as one of the world's leading specialist heart/lung hospitals, was set up in 1914 when an Australian expat donated his manor to the federal government for use as a wartime hospital.

    A friend of mine has a slightly more personal connection with Harefield. The Australian Red Cross was first established at the start of WWI, and some of the first nurses trained by the Red Cross in Adelaide were sent to Harefield. His grandfather grew up in the village and was so stunned by the beauty of one of those nurses that he walked into a pole while staring at her! After the war he followed her across the world to Adelaide to marry her, where they later lived up the street from Sir Douglas Mawson.
     
  6. St Rollox

    St Rollox Member

    Messages:
    596
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2013
    I think Gallipoli is worth remembering if only to prove the stupidity of the military leaders of WW1.
    Think one leader was called Winston Churchill.
     
  7. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

    Messages:
    1,545
    Joined:
    10 Dec 2011
    Despite having had distant relatives who served at ANZAC Cove and whose medals I would have the right to wear as next of kin in the ANZAC Day March if I chose to do so, I have to defend Churchill here.

    The majority of the problem with the leadership of the Battle of Gallipoli was due to those below him. It was a strategically sound move which could have had major implications if it worked, but on a tactical level it was an unmitigated disaster.

    His taking the fall for it demonstrates his strength of character - part of being at the top is that you get the credit when things go right, but you have to take responsibility when it goes wrong even if it's not your fault.

    Importantly, he was a part of learning the lessons from the Gallipoli failure which later served the Allies so well with the four major amphibious landings of the Western European theatre and the numerous landings across the Pacific theatre of World War II.
     
  8. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    5,964
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    I hadn't realised that. I've been there a few times over the last few years with my sister, who has a rare and uncurable lung disease, for which they offered a double lung transplant possible solution, but the risks were such that she declined the offer after due consideration. I will tell her of the Gallipoli connection because, although she's younger than me and never involved with church choirs, she may remember the annual service in Eltham.
     
  9. kylemore

    kylemore Member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2010
    I've no wish to impugn the memory of the ordinary men who no doubt felt they were doing their duty but I feel it's worth pointing out that Britain was invading a foreign country and with the probable result of handing the Dardnelles and Constantinople to the Russians to honour tacit pre-war promises and to keep them in the war, and the Russians would not have been too gentle at kicking the Turks out!

    It was hardly a moral crusade.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page