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ANZAC Day

Posted: 22 Apr 2018, 19:33
by Warrigal
Today in church we had an ANZAC Day theme.
The preacher was a serving soldier who is about to commence formation for the role of Army Chaplain.
He asked us last week to bring along photos of serving members of our families and any other memorabilia.

I contributed a framed montage relating to my father - photo in uniform, campaign medals and badges, colour patches etc.
I also dug around in our home library and found a collection of photographs taken in all campaigns of WW I.
Looking at them was an experience in itself. Talk about another time and a totally different world to today.
The destruction and devastation was very sobering, especially when we realise that the same carnage is taking place today in Syria.

In the foyer of our church is a brass plaque contributed by the parents of a young man who was a member of a Pathfinder squadron of the RAF. His parents are long gone and very few members of the congregation are aware of his story so I looked it up on the AWM website and found out that he was featured in one of the Last Post services and that there is video footage available. I let the preacher know and he read out his story as part of the service.

This is his story
Story delivered 16 March 2015

Today we pay tribute to Flying Officer Lindsay Page Bacon, who was killed in the service of the Royal Air Force in 1945.

Born in Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, on 25 January 1924, Lindsay Page Bacon was the son of Victor Frederick Bacon and Emily Bacon. Victor was a veteran of the First World War, having served in the AIF with the 34th Battalion.

A top student, Lindsay Bacon studied engineering at the University of Sydney. He also played football and tennis, and served in the Sydney University Regiment of the Militia.

Bacon enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 at the age of 18. He attended the Radio School and qualified with the rank of pilot officer. His sister, Kathleen Bacon, served on Malta as a sister in the British Army Nursing Service. His brother, Lance Corporal Wesley Bacon, served in the Second Australian Imperial Force and was present for seven months of the siege of Tobruk.

In August 1943 Lindsay Bacon embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 16,000 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined Royal Air Force squadrons throughout the course of the war.

In Britain he undertook further specialist training before being posted in December 1944 to No. 622 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Part of Bomber Command, the squadron flew the four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.

Bacon flew a full tour with No. 622 Squadron and in February 1945 was posted to No. 7 Squadron, a specialist Pathfinder squadron.

Like Bacon, many of the crews of Pathfinder squadrons were highly experienced airmen, and Bacon himself had flown more than 40 missions over Germany.

On 18 March the Lancaster in which Bacon was pilot was badly damaged during a raid and caught fire. Bacon pleaded with his crew to bail out, but they were determined to stick together; fortunately, their Lancaster pulled through and returned home safely.

Two days later, returning from a raid on Recklinghausen in Germany, the Lancaster was again badly damaged and caught fire over Zuid Belevand in Holland.

Watching the bomber from the ground was a group of British commandos from the 4th Commando Brigade. They saw Bacon’s bomber on fire and losing altitude. Bacon managed to control the aircraft long enough to avoid crashing into a town, before the engine exploded and the Lancaster dove into a field. The fire was immense, and Bacon and each of his six British crewmates were killed. He was 21 years old.

The bodies were later recovered by the commandos and all seven crewmembers were buried at the scene, next to the wreckage of their aircraft. They were later reburied in the Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery in the Netherlands.

One of the British commandos found on Bacon’s body a letter from Bacon’s mother and wrote to the address to alert Bacon’s family to his fate. In doing so he added that the townsfolk:

"highly appreciate the great sacrifice which the gallant crew made, and were caring for the graves of the men who sacrificed their lives, that their town might be saved." Bacon’s name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 other Australians killed in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flying Officer Lindsay Page Bacon, and all of those Australians – as well as our Allies and brothers in arms – who gave their lives in the hope for a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section
Lindsay Page Bacon, another young man of great promise who sacrificed himself for a cause, denying himself long life, a successful career, marriage, children and grandchildren. Such men ( and women) deserve to be remembered long after the relatives who knew them are gone.
I have two uncles in the same category. Both were killed before I was born; one by the Japanese advancing on Singapore and the other in a plane crash over Nigeria. Like Bacon, he was serving with the RAF.

I have visited one uncle in Krangi War Cemetery, Singapore, but will ever be able to travel to the other grave. There are no descendants of with man but I have kept their memory alive in our family.

On Wednesday I will be thinking of all the fallen, especially the ones who died childless. May their stories be told so that we remember them all.

LEST WE FORGET.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 22 Apr 2018, 20:34
by Dreamweaver
:text-thankyou:
My father, who was at Gallipoli and was gassed in France, would not march on ANZAC day.
He looked on it as a glorification of war.
These days it is, I think, more a day of mourning for the often unnecessary deaths or life-long trauma
of many innocent and brave young men.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 22 Apr 2018, 20:47
by Perrorist
My father, who was wounded in WW1, also refused to acknowledge Remembrance Day (UK), on the grounds that nothing was learned by the perpetrators of the conflict.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 22 Apr 2018, 23:07
by Warrigal
My dad refused to join the RSL but did attend the march each year because that was where he caught up with his mates.
Mateship. Isn't that what really bound the men together?

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 06:21
by Perrorist
My dad didn't join the British Legion, the RSL equivalent in the UK. The British don't have a public holiday, but they have a 2-minute silence at 11:00am and there are various commemorative ceremonies around the country.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 10:32
by Warrigal
Every ANZAC Day I learn a little more about the people caught up in wars.

Hubby and I have visited a number of war cemeteries as we have travelled. We went to Gallipoli in 2000 to escape the Sydney Olympics and we have been to Krangi in Singapore where one of my father's brothers is buried. We have also been to a small museum in Vietnam close to the Cu Chi tunnels and have explored war cemeteries in Papua New Guinea. In Australia we have been to the Japanese war cemetery at Cowra. At every site we learned much about the various conflicts from both sides' perspective. Particularly moving was to hear from our Turkish guide about the number of schoolboys who faced the ANZACs and died. After the war whole schools were almost empty.

Yesterday I learned about the battle of le Hamel in France with Lt Gen John Monash in command. It was the first time that Australians and US troops went into battle together. Harry S Truman was one or the US troops there on that day. "That day" is very significant because thanks to Monash's meticulous planning and attention to detail, the battle was over in under 2 hours. His approach was radically different to the old trench warfare tradition in that it was a co-ordinated fast moving attack that was soon adopted by other allied commands and the tide turned in favour of the allies. Casualties were light because Monash did not treat his men as cannon fodder.

This battle took place on 4 July 1918. The date was selected by Monash as a tribute to the "Sammys" (after Uncle Sam) who had joined the Australians, Enzeds and Canadians. They were fresh troops and it was decided that they could learn from the more battle experienced imperials.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 10:37
by Perrorist
The more I learn about Monash, the more impressed I am by him. BTW, does anyone remember an ABC drama about the events at Cowra?

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 11:27
by Dreamweaver
Although my father was against the glorification of war, he had his way of coming to terms with it. He said if it wasn't for wars nature would find its own way of restricting (or culling) population, such as flood and famine. Also he and his fellow Anzacs seemed to hold the belief that you were quite safe in the war zone unless a shell had your number on it, in which case there was no way you could escape it!

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 14:02
by Betty
My father volunteered for the army aged 17, he was in The Royal Scots Greys and served in France during WW1 but he never ever spoke about his experiences.

When I was about 13-14 we were watching the military tattoo on the television when the Ghurkas came on and me thinking I was being a bit clever started laughing and taking the mickey and with that my father rounded on me and said...................don't you dare laugh and take the mickey without those brave soldiers we would never have won the first world war......and that was as much as I ever heard him say about WW1.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 15:14
by Perrorist
Yes, the Gurkhas were brave and skilled fighters who did in fact help the Allies win both World Wars, but Britain wouldn't allow them to settle in the country until Joanna Lumley led a campaign to have the law changed a few years ago.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 16:02
by Betty
That is very true Perry about Joanna Lumley...........I also think that when people are writing about WW1 in particular they seem to forget about the Ghurkas and what role they played in the war.

The untold story.....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... Ypres.html

The forgotten heroines of WW1.....

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29706831

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 18:52
by Perrorist
Two good stories, Betty.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 19:58
by Betty
Thankyou Perry.

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 24 Apr 2018, 22:13
by Dreamweaver
:text-thankyou:

Re: ANZAC Day

Posted: 25 Apr 2018, 00:03
by Betty
You are welcome Dreamweaver. :icon_biggrin: