The Story of Australia’s Flags by Major General Maitland

story_of_australias_flags__57889.1439364316.1280.1280This morning I had the honour of attending the official launch of Major General Gordon Maitland’s book ‘The Story of Australia’s Flags which was hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Sydney.  It follow on from his previous publication ‘Honours and Awards of the Australian Army. Both are published by Playbill Military Productions and are essential references to anybody with an interest in the customs and traditions of our Australian military forces.

In his dedication to his book Major General Gordon Maitland wrote:

‘Australians formally announce themselves by flying our flag or singing our National Anthem.

‘Sometimes we may do so more informally by flying a flag bearing an image of one of our unique fauna or by singing Waltzing Matilda.

‘Another favourite song is: ‘We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on Earth we come, we share a dream and sing with one voice – I am, you are, we are Australian’. It was written by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton in 1987 and is owned by Telstra. I am biased and would prefer ‘flag’ to ‘dream’.

‘No doubt my upbringing contributed to my bias for I am of that generation which, at school, recited:

I honour my God; I serve my King; I salute my flag.

‘Like many of our wonderful ways it has been lost by progress [?] [Read more…]

The 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign by Charlie Lynn

I am privileged to attend today a Symposium which will enhance knowledge and encourage further scholarship and research into the Second World War unique conflicts known as the Battle of Crete and Greek campaigns.

Australia has been a destination for immigrants from Greece since colonial times but our shared experience during the campaigns of 1941 added a new dimension to that relationship, a bond that we see in the faces of veterans when they return to Greece and Crete, and in the lives of Greek families who have made Australia their home.

The Allied campaign to prevent the German invasions of Greece and Crete in 1941 was marred by mismanagement, mistrust and misunderstandings.  However, the legacy of the campaign has cemented the ties of friendship between the peoples of Greece and Australia that will last for as long as there is a memory.

In 1941 Greece was the last country in mainland Europe holding out against the fascist invasion.  Since the Italian invasion in 1940 the forces of the British Empire, including Australia, had been supporting the gallant Greek resistance.

In this early phase of the war the people of this city were swept up in the enthusiasm of celebrating the victory at sea of Cape Spada, Crete, when the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney sunk a more powerful Italian cruiser and damaged another in July 1940.

Eight months later the RAN was again in action between the Peloponnese and Crete, part of the victorious British fleet that defeated the Italians at Cape Matapan.

While Australian sailors were in action in Greek waters and Australian airmen were serving in RAF squadrons supporting the Greek army on the Albanian frontier, the decision had already been made to send an expeditionary force of Australian, New Zealand and British troops to strengthen Greek defences as the threat of German invasion grew. [Read more…]

Remembrance Day: The Cenotaph, Sydney: 11-11-2011

Major Matthew Vine, Second-in-Command of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was guest speaker at the official Remembrance Day Service held at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney.  The service was attended by the Governor, Her Excellency, Marie Bashir; the Premier of New South Wales, The Hon Barry O’Farrell, the President of the RSL, Mr Don Rowe AM and representatives from the armed services, ex-service organisations, the consular corps and schools.

Major Vine:

The 19th Century poet Tennyson wrote: ‘Theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to do and die’.

When the call for volunteers went out a nation answered.

The nation was new and the nation was bold.

The people were toughened by the unforgiving land and forged in a bond of nationality.

The threat was not to them directly and indeed the call came from a land far away. [Read more…]