Today marks 100 years since the allied landings in Gallipoli. Since 1920 the 25th April has been Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand; a day to remember the sacrifices of service personnel in both nations in The Great War and wars since. The Gallipoli campaign, perhaps more than any other campaign in WW1, helped define the new Australian nation and its independence from the old world. In total General Bridwood, commander of the ANZAC Corps, had 30,638 men when they landed at ANZAC bay and after a brief assault the allied forces hit strong resistance and the campaign descended into a precarious stalemate. By the time allied forces withdrew 56,707 men had been killed, including 8,709 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders.Tonight’s object is a small collar badge from an Australian Uniform:This little badge, repeated as a larger cap badge, consists of a King’s crown with a scroll below reading ‘Australian Commonwealth Military Forces’ and backed by a semicircle of bayonet blades. The badge is commonly known as the ‘Rising Sun’; apparently the nickname was coined before World War One by soldiers in Melbourne whose barracks were near to the Hoadley’s Jam Factory. The factory produced a brand of jam, supplied to the Australian Army, called ‘Rising Sun’ with a similar logo to the badge. Variations on this design of badge have been used by Australia up to the present day, the design having a particularly emotional attachment to all who have served in Australia’s armed forces.
Robert Fleming described the Australian experience of WW1 as defining the Australian character ever since:
“The AIF ‘Digger’ came to define what it meant to be an Australian: egalitarian, meritocratic, hard-working, leisure-loving, giving others a ‘fair go’, and – above all else- never letting his mates down.”