Author(s): Damien Fenton
An informative and entertaining history of the Anzacs, including WWI, WWII and subsequent conflicts.
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was initially formed as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in 1914 under the leadership of General William Birdwood, an officer of the Indian Army, and soon became affectionately known as the Anzacs.
The Anzacs quickly made a name for themselves on the international stage during the war, and the enduring valour and spirit of the Anzac soldier has become legend. The Anzacs' first major campaign was Gallipoli; they landed at a small cove on 25 April 1915 and struggled to create a bridgehead against fierce resistance. The Allied invasion was not a success, becoming a stalemate that lasted eight months. The Anzacs' part in the August offensive resulted in heavy casualties and seven Victoria Crosses being awarded to Australian soldiers, six for actions during the battle of Lone Pine. By the time the Allies evacuated the peninsula in early 1916, Australian and New Zealand total casualties topped 36,000. The Anzacs would go on to fight on the Western Front before the war ended.
Anzac forces were extensively involved in World War II, seeing action in all theatres. They were deployed for the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency and the Confrontation with Indonesia. The Anzacs' involvement in the Vietnam War has cemented their heroic status, with almost 60,000 Australians serving throughout the 1960s and 1970s to support the South Vietnamese troops. The date of the Anzac landing on Gallipoli is now celebrated as Anzac Day. Their courageous spirit continues to inspire, honouring the intrepid troops that faced such adversity at Gallipoli and in wars since; a centenary of service.
This informative and entertaining short history narrates the deeds of the Anzacs since 1915 and the development of the legend of the Anzac soldier.
Dr Damien Fenton is an independent scholar based in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests include Australian and New Zealand military history and over the past 20 years he has worked in this area as an academic and a public historian in both countries. He completed his PhD at the Australian Defence Force Academy campus of the University of New South Wales in Canberra and has worked for the Australian War Memorial, Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs and the New Zealand Ministry for Culture & Heritage. Recent publications include New Zealand and the First World War (2013) and The Anzacs: An Inside View of New Zealanders at Gallipoli (2015).
30 b/w illustrations