By Bruce Scates
Australians were making pilgrimages to the battlefields and cemeteries of worldwide struggle because the Forties, from the jungles of latest Guinea and South-East Asia to the mountains of Greece and the deserts of North Africa. They commute looking for the tales of misplaced family, to mourn the useless and to come back to grips with the prior. With attribute empathy, Bruce Scates charts the historical past of pilgrimages to Crete, Kokoda, Sandakan and Hellfire go. He explores the emotional resonance that those websites have in the event you served and people who consider. in accordance with surveys, interviews, wide fieldwork and archival study, Anzac trips deals insights into the tradition of loss and commemoration and the starvation for which means so pivotal to the adventure of pilgrimage. Richly illustrated with full-colour maps and images from the Forties to this present day, Anzac trips makes an enormous and relocating contribution to Australian army heritage.
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Extra info for Anzac Journeys: Returning to the Battlefields of World War Two
Harry is ‘a character & a half ’, he told his wife. 27 Jackson’s larger-than-life character kept the Australian War Graves Unit ‘a cheerful little outfit’ – or so Simpson reassured his wife. The journey changed its tempo as they left the relative comfort of Jesselton to retrace the long trek into the interior. Although in his letters home he still strove to put on a brave face, Simpson admitted Sandakan was ‘a terrible story [and one] I have to piece together’. The pieces can still be found in a yellowing file of papers held by the Mitchell Library.
Perverse as it may seem, men who died building the railway were honoured. The Japanese permitted the construction of well-ordered cemeteries and even memorials to mark this (unwilling) sacrifice for the Emperor. 15 But each of Babb’s days ended in a wellestablished railway camp as the guest of the men who had once been his master. These two authors offer us qualitatively different kinds of testimony. Sticpewich’s diary is essentially utilitarian; it charts the track, records the gravesites, gathers evidence against ‘all the Jap murderers’ and any who aided them.
In one line a Chinese servant’s account of ‘a heap of bodies’ butchered a few yards from the track; in the next, Simpson’s graphic capitalised notation, ‘I HAVE SEEN THIS SPOT, FROM WHICH 49 PRISONERS BODIES WERE RECOVERED. ’28 Simpson’s first broadcasts home anticipated the later narrative style of Six from Borneo. There is the same attempt to situate the listener in place, the same mixing of narrator voices, the same lure of the journey. 29 This style of onsite observation served him well in Borneo: SIMPSON: Our expedition got away at dawn.