Here’s how I start every blog post – with an image, and an idea to write about . . .
This one was born when I picked Anzac Ted to read for Veteran’s Day, 2022. I thought with a teddy bear, it would be a great fit for young children who are ready to discover Veteran’s Day.
Anzac Ted turned out to be so much more. It’s the story of the ANZAC soldiers who fought alongside Great Britain during World War I. I only read the first half of the book. It’s perfect for littles. The other half tells Ted’s story as he supported those Anzac soldiers, and I still think it works for young children.
Part 1 – What is an Azac? Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp, ANZAC. The division was formed in December 1914, in Egypt, during World War 1. They were supposed to be stationed in Britain, but plans changed because there wasn’t room, or supplies. The Anzac units were sent to Egypt . . . the weather was a better fit. December is summer down under for Anzac soldiers.
This is a 1915 camp of soldiers from New Zealand. Its name – ANZAC Cove. They were commanded by General William Birdwood, an officer from the British Indian Army. He brought in soldiers from India, Ceylon, Britain, and Ireland. He even had a Jewish unit with volunteers from Russia, Canada, and the US, but it was mainly made up of those Anzac soldiers.
This illustration of the Anzac troops came out after the battle at Gallipoli. George R.I said, “The Australian and New Zealand troops have indeed proved themselves worthy sons of the Empire.” That seemed odd . . . George I died after the American Revolution. George V was king during WWI, and he was also the last ruler of the British Empire. It began dissolving after WWI and eventually turned into the British Commonwealth of Nations.
And the Gallipoli campaign – it started on February 17, 1915. It ended on January 19, 1916. It had three goals – To weaken and defeat the Ottoman Empire. To keep the Suez Canal safe, and to open up shipping to Russian ports. BTW, that’s when the Russian czar and the British king were cousins, and they worked together against another cousin, the German kaiser.
The Gallipoli campaign didn’t work out as planned. The February land invasion failed, but the Allies didn’t quit. On April 25 they sent the Anzac soldiers to land on the Turkish beaches. That failed too. Finally in January 1916 the allies gave up and withdrew their forces. For Turkey, it became a defining moment in their history, the beginning of the road to becoming their own country.
In Australia and New Zealand, they saw Gallipoli as a baptism of fire. It was also the beginning of their journey to become independent countries too.
Part 2 – World War II and Beyond – You can visit this monument in Sfakia, Crete. It’s an island off the shore of Greece, and its monument honors the Anzac soldiers from WWII who fought in the Battle of Greece. It was over in weeks, not months. The result . . . the Italians won this time.
The Anzac troops left Greece on April 23 and 24 of 1941. Most of them were sent to Crete to bolster its defense against an upcoming German air and sea invasion. That battle began May 20. It ended 10 days later. The Germans – overwhelming.
The Royal Navy rescued most of the men, but some hid out in mountains. They survived thanks to the people of Crete. Others were found, captured, and sent to Prisoner of War camps in Europe (POW).
I searched but couldn’t find the date this monument was built, but I’m glad it honors those who fell in Greece, then in Crete. They may have lost those battles, but their efforts helped win World War II.
Welcome to the Be’er Sheva Anzac Memorial Centre. You’ll find it in Be’eri Forest near Negev, Israel. It’s a monument to the Anzac soldiers who gave their lives in Palestine during World War 1. That was in April, 1917. (Palestine is now the country of Israel.)
The Memorial Centre was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Be’er Sheva’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire. You can interact with the Anzac story inside the museum. Outside you’ll be walking on hallowed ground, where the two battles of Gaza were fought.
Anzac Ted – Written and Illustrated by Belinda Landsberry
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - Wikipedia
Gallipoli campaign - Wikipedia
Anzac Memorial (Israel) - Wikipedia
The Be'er-Sheva ANAZC Memorial Centre - אטרקציות בבאר שבע - כל האטרקציות בבאר שבע : תיירות באר שבע (visitbr7.co.il)
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!