Sometimes you have to scratch your head and wonder…
What are the chances on a battlefield hosting opposing armies that two bullets fired through the air at the same time from rival soldiers would hit mid-air, one becoming lodged in the other?
The two enmeshed bullets in the photo above were found in 1916 in Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli which raged for nearly ten months during World War I.
On Wednesday of this week Australia commemorated ANZAC DAY. In recent decades this day of remembrance has been used to pay tribute to those who have given their life in the service of their country in armed conflicts and wars around the world. ANZAC DAYS’ original meaning was intended to honour Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had died in just one battle – Gallipoli.
Australian school children are taught that this decisive conflict of World War I, in which an estimated combined total of nearly 400 000 soldiers on all sides died, was a defining ‘coming of age’ moment in our nation’s history (as it was in Turkey‘s).
All wars are extreme experiences that shape and test the will of a country as well as altering its trajectory into the future. Quotes about war abound but who ever first said –
“War does not determine who is right, only who is left.”
was definitely punching above their weight in the philosophical stakes that day. To mark the occasion from Wednesday I’d like to chronicle this collection of personally curated memorable images from major armed conflicts over the last seven decades.
A line of soldiers march in British Columbia on their way to a waiting train as five-year-old Whitey Bernard tugs away from his mother’s hand to reach out for his father.
Flames and smoke surround the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral which was left unscathed during the start of a German incendiary bomb “blitz” on London.
Mass paratrooper drop in the snow during WWII.
British troops examine captured Nazi mini-tanks. The allied troops nicknamed these German weapons ‘Doodlebugs’. They were run with a joystick operated by a controller. Each mini-tank had coiled within its compartments 650 metres of cable leading back to the controller. ‘Doodlebugs’ were meant to slide under Allied tanks and deliver their explosive payload to the vulnerable undersides of their much larger machine cousins.
Using overhead targets, a North Vietcong militia company practices firing ahead of speeding aircraft in Thanh Tri. Even using antiquated WWII rifles such as these, the Vietnamese were able to cripple or down many U.S. aircraft.
An improvised operating room in a mangrove swamp on the Ca Mau Peninsula in South Vietnam. Ethnic Cambodian guerrilla Danh Son Huol is on the stretcher.
Activists meet in the Nam Can forest, Sth Vietnam, wearing masks to hide their identities from one another in case of capture and interrogation.
After spending more than five years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm is reunited with his family at Travis Air Force Base, March 13, 1973. This Pulitzer Prize winning photograph came to symbolize the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and the prevailing sentiment that military personnel and their families could begin a process of healing after enduring the horrors of war. Three days before this photograph was taken the Airforce Colonel received a letter from his wife saying she wanted a divorce.
Combat boots litter the road on the outskirts of Saigon, abandoned by ARVN soldiers who shed their uniforms to hide their status. “I’ll never forget the shoes and the loud ‘thump, thump, thump’ sound as we drove over them,” recalled the photographer.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses with troops during the Falklands War.
A British Royal Marine from 42 Commando fires a Milan wire-guided missile at an Iraqi position on the Al Faw peninsula, southern Iraq.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein moments after his capture by US forces in a farm house outside Tikrit, December 14th 2003.
Heavy artillery fire among low-lying mist in Afghanistan.
Thankyou for visiting the SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK War Memorial.
Ps. Not often does SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK willingly dip it’s pasty-fleshed toe into the troubled waters of controversy (ok, there was the not-too-distant-past headbutt directed at ParkRun and we probably shouldn’t forget last year’s outrageous McDonalds worker meltdown either) but this week’s hoo-ha surrounding the timing of the release of the new Marvel Studio‘s movie AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR has prompted some serious Billy Idol style involuntary lip twitching on my part. (Not sure who Billy Idol was/is? Then CLICK HERE)
The noise and fist-shaking has all been over Event Cinema‘s decision to bring forward by one day the release of AVENGER’S: INFINITY WAR to coincide with the public holiday for ANZAC DAY (Cinemas in Australia release new movies on a Thursday).
Critics adopted the moral high ground and attempted to paint the picture that this decision was a blatant cash grab that was somehow disrespectful to the memory of fallen Australasian soldiers that ANZAC DAY is supposed to commemorate. The objection was based on the idea that (A) AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is a war movie and it is not appropriate to present war as entertainment on a day such as ANZAC DAY (B) making money on ANZAC DAY that does not directly benefit war widows or veterans organisations is somehow contrary to the spirit of the occasion.
The objections to the timing of the release of the movie came from numerous quarters including the host of Channel 9‘s TODAY show, Karl Stefanovic. While I somewhat agree with Karl when he says parents would have been better off explaining to their children the significance of ANZAC DAY and maybe taking them to a service or a parade marking the occasion, is there any reason why parents could not have done that AND taken their children to this movie on the same day?
As to the notion that this Marvel Studio film can be legitimately classed as a war movie, that is surely stretching the definition of what can be considered a ‘War Film’ beyond all reason.
Films that center their events on World War 1 or World War 2, the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan Wars or any of the other major armed conflicts of modern times are to most people what is generally understood to be a war movie. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR most obviously belongs in the superheros science fiction camp and to suggest otherwise is deliberately misleading.
Pss. Staying on the war theme, comes this week’s book recommendation – DEAR MRS BIRD by first time English novelist A.J Pearce (Find Out More Here) published earlier this month.
Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to make the most of things in Luftwaffe-strafed 1940 London, putting their best feet forward and all that.
In Emmeline’s case she’s desperate to become a lady War Correspondent. But with those jobs thin on the ground, instead she finds herself typing out the woebegone letters sent to Henrietta Bird, an agony aunt type columnist in the pages of Women’s Friend Magazine.
Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have gone too far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding.
As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.
DEAR MRS BIRD has been described as hilariously funny and a moving tale of friendship in a magically recreated London-during-the-Blitz era.
Psss. QWEEKEND MAGAZINE is a weekly insert in the Saturday edition of The Courier Mail newspaper. The magazine claims a readership of 275 000 people. Taking out a double page advertisement in it will set you back in excess of $42 000.
Each week the magazine runs a caption competition. Winners names and their winning captions are published two weeks after each contest. You’ll likely recognize the name attached to this one –
Pssss. And in the tradition of SWS celebrating success wherever it finds it, final words this week go in the form of congratulation to the Sydney based St George Dragons NRL Club who have successfully tendered to have a team included in the inaugural 2018 Women’s Premiership sponsored by Holden.
The Dragons will be joined by the Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors in an elite four team, month-long competition that will be played during the NRL finals series.
The AFL kicked off their women’s competition last year.