Waking up on a bleak ANZAC morning in Melbourne today with the parade about to begin and the media talk all this week about Gallipoli and the meaning of all that, you can’t help but think about history, wars and the young men nations throw at these things.
My grandfather went to World War I. France and Belgium; the Western Front. He never talked about it. And I never asked him. I remember him a rather imposing figure in his special chair in the house watching World of Sport. I’ve written about him a few times, especially that World War I connection in poems based on photographs that found their way to me or, as I blogged about here recently, my childish, simplistic ideas of what war meant in a recent poem, R.T.A., in the anthology: Metabolism.
So, I’m thinking about him this gloomy morning, those other men too from both sides, and my own Great-Uncle Nat who, I found out recently was also in World War I, and at Gallipoli. That’s him, third from left, next to my grandfather, William Francis, second from left, as men who came back from the war. On my family history web site I recorded that:
Nathaniel Wynne received the Military Medal for his deeds on July 15, 1915 at Anzac Beach, Gallipoli. He rescued a wounded Indian Sergeant-Major from a dump of burning ammunition at risk of his own life. He was later hospitalised with wounds to both arms. He lost his Lance-Corporal stripes later on for allowing gambling in the barracks.
You can read a little more, and see a couple of those war records on the family history site here. It’s not ancient history. That’s my grandfather, and his brother.