Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest we forget


Today is ANZAC Day, and it marks the 96th anniversary since the disastrous landing at Gallipoli, the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War I.

Frank Augustus Beves joined the Australian Imperial Force on 22 September 1916. Born in Newtown, Sydney, he was 26 years and 8 months old when he enlisted. He worked as a fireman in civilian life, and lived at Camperdown with his wife, Ruby Florence Beves. Frank was 5' 9" tall, with fair hair and blue eyes. Having passed his medical, he was assigned to the 38th Battalion, 5th Reinforcements. He was shipped to England, and in April 1917, Private Beves was sent overseas to fight on the front line in France. Wounded in action later that year, he seems to have spent time in and out of hospital in England, and eventually came home to Australia in January 1919.  
[Information accessed from the National Archives of Australia online database]

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

3 comments:

Paul said...

I love this poem. I am English because my Irish grandfather went of the the trenches of Flanders and like Frank Beves he was wounded and spent much time in hospital, where he met and married a nurse. So many young men...
Paul at Leeds daily photo

karen said...

I spotted this wooden cross in photos of the dawn service too. I wonder if there's one there every year ...

Steve Beves said...

Eric Norman Beves died at the hands of the Japanese in WW2 Eric Norman Beves was born in around 1924. He died on July 13, 1945 at 21 years of age. He was buried in Labuan Memorial Panel 7., Malaysia.
The Sandakan Death Marches were a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau which resulted in the deaths of 2,345 Allied prisoners of war held captive by the Empire of Japan during the Pacific campaign of World War II in the Sandakan POW Camp. By the end of the war, of all the prisoners who had been incarcerated at Sandakan and Ranau, only six Australians survived, all of whom had escaped. It is widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War. I am The No.1 Great Grandson of Frank and Ruby Beves.