Friday, April 23, 2010

Anzac Spirit

Sunday is Anzac Day... also, I must mention it's my lovely friend Jandy (at Alis Volat Propiis') birthday.  Each year I have good intentions of making a dawn ceremony, but still to this day, I've never actually dragged my arse out of bed and made it.  Jandy, on the other hand, does so each and every year... followed by a Macca's run and birthday celebrations - now that's commitment! 

What is ANZAC day?  It's a day to recognise and remember those Australians and New Zealanders who fought at Gallipoli during World War 1.  Although, these days it's a day of remberance for all those who lost their lives fighting for... well, I'd say for our country, but often it's for another country altogether.  War, War, what is is good for?  Don't even get me started!  

My Granddad fought on the Kokoda Trail during the 2nd World War.  Granddad was a member of the 39th Battalion - if you haven't seen Kokoda or 39th Battalion, or have no idea what I'm talking about, go hire the movies.  Here is an excerpt from a book called 'Kokoda and Beyond':

"We got orders to withdraw from Isurava Rest House during the afternoon and, as acting platoon commander, I checked each man as he went past. I saw that Bob Nimmo was missing and ran back to see if he had been left behind. I found him on his knees, moaning—he was badly wounded and couldn't move. By now the Japs were in sight and advancing on us. I knew I couldn't get him out on my own, so I raced after the blokes who had just left to get one of them to help me. I was just in time to see the last man disappearing round a bend in the track—it was 'J. D.' McKay.

So I yelled out: 'JD! come back and give me a hand, Bob Nimmo is badly wounded.' Without a second's hesitation 'J.D.' turned and ran back. We both raced over to Bob, grabbed an arm each and half-carried, half-dragged him hell for leather along the ground. We couldn't worry about dodging obstacles because by this time the Japs were right on our tail and firing at us. We dragged Bob over 4 to 5 feet high banks, landing on top of each other; and every time we crashed down a bank we kept losing the grenades we'd stuffed inside our shirts.

I can still hear Bob Nimmo saying:  'Don't worry about me strides—keep going!' You see we'd pulled his trousers off dragging him along the ground. He must have been in agony—most of the flesh of one of his buttocks had been shot off."

A true story that embodies what we Aussie's refer to as the ANZAC spirit... Never leave a fallen friend (thanks Van!).

 Roughly one in every four young, undertrained boys returned alive.  Granddad might have had his arse practically blown off, and little skin left covering his body, but he was one of the lucky ones.  His motto in life (and mine) was 'Keep Going'.

He left a young boy, full of hope and promise... and he returned a broken man. 

For years, my cousins and I have spoken of returning to Kokoda, honoring the memory of my Granddad, and walking the trail... perhaps a little later on this year.  I'll start by attending my first dawn service this Sunday.

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.

R.I.P Private Bob Nimmo (aka Granddad)

9 comments:

Lucy said...

Lovely tribute. Our Granddads were legends.

"Seattle" Heather said...

My grandpa was in WWII. Fought in Europe and saw awful things. The stories he tells could fill a book. Grandpa's are priceless. You should walk the trail Karls. Just me two cents.

bananas. said...

oh wow...i don't know anyone that fought in WWII. crazy that you're grandpa was a part of that. he's a hero! and all heroes deserve a day to honor them.

beautiful tribute my friend :)

Christine Vi said...

Your Granddad was amazing. Any person who was in a war and went through something like that is an amazing person. Wonderful tribute :)

meredith said...

what an amazing man!! loved reading this!

Sarah said...

Amazing! I was a history teacher before my baby and love stories like this.

jprp said...

aww karls, so proud of you! How awesome is your family... rad nannas who make the best yo yos and grand dads who serve in the war, you must be very proud. Hey, and that kokoda treck.. count me in! would like to do Turkey one year too. thanks for my bithday love xx

MiMi said...

It's amazing what our granddad's did isn't it? Mine was in WWII. What a lovely tribute to yours!

Cathy said...

Beautifully written Karls! Granddad's are the best!

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