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26 February 1917

By February 26, 2017February 2nd, 2018No Comments
  • The Leader reports the death in France of the “quiet and unassumingJohn James McMurtrie, resident of William Street, Orange. Private JJ McMurtrie – Killed in Action
  • Cornelius Charles Harris writes home to his family at Byng to tell them about his visit to Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral and the theatre, where he and “the Byng Boys” had a very enjoyable evening. Soldiers’ Letters
  • Church of England chaplain of the 18th Battalion, WN Higgins, sends his condolences to Sarah Newton following her son Walter’s death in December 1916. Late Sergeant Newton
  • The Blayney branch of the Red Cross Society organises a blackberry picking expedition with the aim of making jam for soldiers at the front. The community picks enough blackberries to make 147 kilos of jam. Industrious Red Cross Workers
  • Gallipoli veterans who were part of the initial landing, and the evacuation and/or the battle of Lone Pine are to be issued with a gold “A” to wear on their uniform. A is for Anzac
  • Australian and New Zealander soldiers in France express their disapproval of the term “Anzac”, saying it conjures up images of “men who swank in London in their turned-up hats and emu feathers while their brethren of the western front are bullocking or fighting in the mud and trenches.” The Leader concludes that “the term Anzac, as the equivalent of Australian and New Zealander, apparently has had its day, and yet it will live for ever, as a term descriptive of the troops who won abiding fame at Gallipoli.” Anzac Under A Cloud
  • British troops on the Western Front make further progress north and south of the Ancre, capturing the village of Le Barque, south-west of Bapaume
  • President Wilson asks the American Congress for the authority to arm US merchant ships
  • The Anglo-French Conference assembles at Calais to discuss operations, the co-operation of the armies and the co-ordination of operations by the French Commander-in-Chief, General Robert Georges Nivelle
  • The Leader publishes Mary Doreen Spender’s poem, Hard Luck:

An Anzac, No! Same kind of hat?
Oh yes, we wear the same;
Same badges, breeches and all that,
But, please cut out the name.

The first batch? They’re my pals all right,
Such chaps, the very rightest sort!
The brand that set the Nile alight,
And every one a life-size sport.

My pals? Some lie on Lone Pine Hill,
Some only reached the Anzac shore;
Some line the muddy trenches still,
Some, fully crocked, at home once more.

Each has his own pet bit of glory,
Some home is proud of Anzac sons;
Dead, wounded, sick – a hero’s story
Belongs to those, the luckier ones.

The girls won’t crowd to hear my battles,
No bally laurel wreaths my brow.
I’ve never been where gunshot rattles
Nor is it sure I shall be now.

My tale? A short one ’tis indeed,
For me no flattering tears will fall;
Jambed in a gun – an invalid
Sent here from Egypt. Yes, that’s all!

Bitter? What if I’m blooming bitter?
Though, grumblings only wasted breath,
I’d sell my soul to have been but fitter
And run with the boys in the Race for Death.