Anzac Day 2024

By April 24, 2024Food for thought

As readers of this blog may know, we are downsizing from a house to a unit, as in the former, we only use about half the space. Going through a filing cabinet with the aim of culling stuff, turned up a few letters from my parents and letters from mates, cards from relatives and friends on birthdays and other events, but we also stumbled across some postcards in a small plastic bag which had been stuffed in the hanging file.

One was a postcard in a tattered envelope. The front of the postcard had the inscription: “Greetings to my soldier friend. We cannot tell just where you are, or the work youv’e [sic] got to do, in this great fight for truth and right, but we know your’e [sic] always true. And as each day comes to its end kind wishes speed away across the distance to our friend to greet each coming day.” The envelope was addressed to Private D. J King, No/6297 [his service number], 12 Batt [Battalion], C Company, Australian Imperial Forces Abroad. The back of the postcard was dated “March #7/1918” and the message read: “Dear David, Just a card hoping it will find you quite well as it leaves us all at present. I have wrote [sic] servel [sic] le times to you but have not received a reply yet hope you get this safe. Will has got a sprit [sic]. I don’t no [sic] to wat [sic] extent. Love to you from all. I remain your loving cousin, Jane & Dennis Martin” and below this was “address Mrs D. Martin, Latrobe” to whom the letter was returned (In those days a married woman used their husband’s initial). Jane and Dennis Martin were my partner’s great grandparents.

Across the front of the envelope was a stamp ‘not deliverable A.B.P.O. Return to sender”, and in red pen above this was handwritten “Deceased 25-9-18”, initialled by an “F.W.”

According to the Australian War Memorial records, David Joseph King, Service Number 6297, of 12th Battalion enlisted 1/6/1916, and was killed in action 1/5/19181. This was a relatively quiet day for Australian troops and was some days after the recapture of Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day, 1918. He was buried in the Le Peuplier Military Cemetery, Caestre, France2. This parallels the returned letters my mother sent to her cousin, Colin Cameron, which were returned to her after his aircraft was shot down and the entire crew was listed as missing, presumed killed3.

As Herbert Hoover said: “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.” As if this is not appalling enough, the old men then bask in what they perceive as their glory. 




  • JON says:

    This piece by Peter Fitz on the utterly disgraceful, reprehensible and barbaric attitudes and actions of British leaders during WW1 needs no further words. Afaik there has never been formal acknowledgement let alone an apology from British governments.

    Lest We Forget

    • admin says:

      An excellent piece as usual from Fitz. I have read a couple of Fitz’s books, and I have read the biographies of Pompey Elliott (by McMullin) and of John Monash (by Serle). Both were superb books, and the way Monash changed the remainder of the war made it clear that the bloody pommies were out of their depth treating their troops like people rather than cannon fodder. I regularly feel rage, when I see the verminous Howard on the idiot box and think of Robbie Poate, a mate of one of my sons, who was killed in Afghanistan. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for my parents. My father lost a friend on HMS Perth (I think), and my mother lost a cousin and an acquaintance. This attitude like that of the upper crust poms to the lower orders is still around today anong the wealthy and conservatives in general, that the lower orders are there to be ruled by them, their betters. The lower orders are simply fodder not so much for cannons, but for labour for their corporations. That attitude makes me effing angry too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.