||We Shall Remember
Them : Tales of the Diggers old and new by John J. Glennon,
Poems and occasional prose from
the Great War, 1914-1918.
This is written by a NZ Digger
for fellow Diggers and really is a moving testament to the
sacrifices made by so many in the Great War.
Has been out of print for
decades and is virtually unobtainable.
- How do find a particular
military unit ?
- Where can I find details
of a relative who served in the military ?
- Why doesn't your site have
details on the subject that interests me ?
- Who is Australia's most
respected soldier ?
- What is a choco or chokko ?
- When is OK to wear my
relatives medals ?
- Why is a parade ground
- What is a Dead Man's Penny?
- What has rosemary got to do
- How do I find out about Great Grand-dad's
- Which is on top Army Navy
or Air Force
- My relative was killed. Where
is he buried?
- Where is Flanders and what
are Flanders Fields?
- What were "deep
thinkers" and/or "fair dinkums"?
- Why was 3 Division the 'baby'
- Uncle Fred was a private. I
have a photo of him in an officers cap. Why?
- When was khaki introduced into
the Australian Army as a uniform colour?
- Did the horses of the Light
Horse or the Boer War come home?
- What is a Trooper, a
Sapper? What is a Bombardier?
can I get a full list of the different ranks?
- What are the sticks that the
senior blokes carry?
- How long did soldiers join up
- I've heard about a new WW2 web
site. What is it?
- What is a King's (or Queen's)
- What is an Ensign?
- What is a hexamine stove?
- What is Beating The Retreat?
- What is meant by the term
- Just what was the work of a
- What is a Sam Browne belt?
- What is Blanco?
- What is a Short Arm Inspection?
- What does spit polish mean?
- What's the difference between
Warrant Officers & Commissioned Officers?
- What is a mess?
- What is olive drab? What is khaki?
- What is ADFA?
- Where are Officers trained?
- Why are Officers saluted?
- What is 'friendly fire'?
- What is napalm?
- My Uncle was a WO2. Now I am told he
was a CSM. How can he be both?
- What is an OR and /or what are ORs?
- Where is the Snakes Pit and what
is the Pigs Pen?
- What is "the Ode" all
- What does RHIP mean?
- Can a Air Force bloke give orders
to an Army soldier?
- What about the poppy. Why is it
- Where can I find
the words to the poppy poem?
- I see things like KIA, MIA and
others . What do they mean?
The quickest way to locate a unit is to do a Site
Search and just put in the number of the unit. Do not search for 12th
Battalion as the results will list every 12th AND every Battalion. Just
search 12th. Read the Search Tips on the page for a better understanding
of how the search engine works.
In the case of a WW2 unit also look at
of Battle page and Who
was there and the page Battle
In the case of Viet Nam look at All
Many of the details are available on
the web from the Australian War Memorial or the Australian Archives.
Otherwise you may have to pay a fee of $16.20 to get a photocopied
history of your particular service person. Details are on the page
called Find a soldier and on Official Enquiries.
This site was planned for about 2
years and work on the site started in early 2001. It has taken full time work to get it to this stage.
(We went live on 11-11-2002). More stages
are planned. As to why it was made live before everything is on it is
this. It is an old axiom in the building industry that goes,
matter how simple or complex the project, there comes a time when you
just have to shoot the planning engineer and start work".
If there is a
particular subject you would like to see covered please use the Guestbook
and let me know or just email
Although Australia has produced many
fine soldiers and many VC winners the one that stands out from the crowd
is a Jewish engineer of Polish/Prussian stock, the man who played a big
part in the Monier Concrete business, the man who organised to bring our
boys home after WW1, a bloke who worked his way up from the bottom using
nothing but his own ability and who served at Gallipoli and in France
and Flanders, leading a Brigade, a Division and eventually the entire
ANZAC Corps. He was of course, John
This was a derogatory term given to
the partly volunteer partly conscripted Militia by the all volunteer AIF
in WW2. It was from the term 'Chocolate Soldier' which was to indicate a
soldier with a 'pretty' uniform but no intention of doing any real
soldiering. It was unfair, in many cases untrue and was hated by the men
of the CMF, many of whom were unable to join the AIF for age or
enlistment standards reasons but who were able to volunteer for or get
conscripted into the CMF. Many CMF soldiers transferred to the AIF when
age allowed them to, but they stayed with their existing unit. If the
required percentage of men in a CMF unit volunteered for the AIF that
unit was allowed to become an AIF unit.
You could not join the AIF until you
were 20, but you could be conscripted at age 18.
While the whole thing might sound a bit petty
looking back from 2002 in 1942 it was the cause of many a stoush.
War medals and service decorations of
any sort may be worn only by the person upon whom they were conferred,
and in no case does the right to wear war or service medals, or their
ribbons, devolve upon a widow, parent, son, daughter or any relative
when the recipient is dead. Modifications
of the above rule are permitted in connection with Remembrance
Day and Anzac
Day ceremonies, when relatives who desire
to avail themselves, on those days only, of the distinction of wearing
the decoration and medals of deceased relatives, may do so, wearing them
ON THE RIGHT BREAST. Medal
Why is a parade
ground considered sacred?
This goes back to the
traditions of the British Army. After a battle, when the bugle call
'Retreat' was sounded
and the unit had reassembled to call the roll and count the dead, a hollow
square was formed on the parade ground, whether it was a grandiose affair
or just a dirty, dusty bit of ground.
The dead were placed within the square
and no-one used the area as a thoroughfare. Today, the parade ground
represents this square and hence, a unit’s dead. It is deemed to be
hallowed ground, soaked with the blood of our fallen and the area is
respected as such by all.
To this day the troops call the parade
ground "the square" and close order drill is called
is a Dead Man's Penny?
A Dead Man's Penny was a term given to
the Memorial Plaque that was given to some (not all) families who lost a
relative on active service during WW1. Details and photos are on WW1
has rosemary got to do with soldiers?
Rosemary is considered the herb of
remembrance. Details on Reference
I find out about Great Grand-dad's medal entitlement?
For details of who to contact go
to Official Enquiries
The RAN is the senior service,
followed by Army and then RAAF.
My relative was
killed during the war. Where is he buried?
Go to the CWGC (Commonwealth War
Graves Commission) site. The details are on Official
Flanders is a region of Belgium.
Belgium was attacked by Germany in WW1 as a means of getting to France
which Germany considered to be the "real enemy". Flanders
Fields is a term picked up from the poetry of the time to refer to the
countryside over which the armies fought.
What were "deep
thinkers" and/or "fair dinkums"?
At Gallipoli and for a short time after
men who had not joined in 1914 or early 1915 were referred to by the 'old diggers' as
"Deep Thinkers" as they took so long to think about joining.
This kept up for a while but was eventually replaced by the term
"Fair Dinkums" as it was realized that anyone who joined after
reading the casualty lists from Gallipoli and the early battles in
France/Flanders must be "fair dinkum".
It did not stop the 4 'fighting'
Divisions having a shot at the 3rd Division for being 'slow off the
mark', until of course, Messines and Passchendaele and a dozen other
battles including that terrible time on the Somme when the British Fifth
Army crumbled and the 3rd Division was all that stood between the
onrushing victory flushed German Army and almost certain defeat. At
places like Morlancourt and Villers Bretonneux they stopped them, they
turned them and they led the Allies to Victory, soon after. Sounds a bit
like "The Man from Snowy River" in a different context. . .
So , with apologies to Banjo Paterson
for pinching part of the second last verse of his famous poem,
Why was 3
Division the 'baby' Division?
The question is often
asked, "If 3 Division were last into the Line they must have been
formed after 4th & 5th Divisions. Why form 4 and 5 if 3 was not yet
formed?". The answer is simple. 3 Division WAS formed before 4th
& 5th Divisions but it was formed in Australia of brand new recruits.
4th & 5th Divvies were formed in Egypt from experienced men from 1st
& 2nd Divisions and trained but inexperienced reinforcements that had
been sent to those Gallipoli Divisions. 3 Div was formed very early in
1916. 4th & 5th were formed later in the same year.
was a private but I have a photo of him in an officers cap. Why?
Initially all WW1
troops were issued with a peaked cap similar to the officers cap. Details
on Reference 1
khaki introduced into the Australian Army as a uniform colour?
Even the very first troops that
went overseas as Australians wore khaki. There are eye witness accounts of
dyeing white uniforms to khaki with tobacco juice on
the way to the Sudan. Australians who went to New Zealand were with
British units and so probably would have worn blue serge field dress but from
Sudan until New Guinea, and even afterward, khaki was our colour of choice for
Army field dress. In that respect we led the world.
horses of the Light Horse or the Boer War contingents come home?
Sadly, no. The estimated
25,000 horses sent overseas could not be returned to Australia for
quarantine reasons. The ones left in South Africa could look forward to a
reasonably normal life. In North Africa and Egypt many Light Horsemen
their beloved horses to save them a terrible life. The ones that were left
were often abused by the locals but an English noblewoman set up charity
with the aim of protecting them that was relatively successful and lasted
for many years.
total loss in horses (Boer War) on the British side was 326,000. Australian
horses contributed 37,245 to
this number. Not one horse from Australia is known to have returned.
- The toll on horses in World War 1 was horrific. A monument
in Sturt Street, Ballarat, commemorates the 958,600 killed
"including 196.000 that left these shores and never
is a Trooper, a Craftsman, a Sapper? What is a Bombardier?
A Trooper is a
private soldier in the Mounted or Armoured units. A craftsman is a private
in the Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. A sapper is a private in
the Engineers. A Bombardier is the rank equivalent to Corporal in the
are the sticks that the senior blokes carry?
Swagger Cane: Swagger Sticks were introduced as an item of
commissioned rank equipment at the time of King Charles I, but
were used for a much more serious purpose than they are today. At
the time of Charles I all junior officers were empowered to
inflict punishment on the spot for minor offences. Old manuscripts
record that such misdemeanors as “sneezing in the ranks,
spitting or scratching the head” earned immediate punishment to
the tune of 12 strokes across the back with the swagger stick.
did soldiers join up for?
In the first and second AIF
the period of enlistment was "The duration of the war plus 4
months". Colonial and pre WW1 units had varying periods of
enlistment. When the Australian Regular Army was started after WW2 the
period was 6 years. As soon as the Korean War made demands for many
trained men it was realised that many of the older blokes that had seen
service in WW2 were put off by a 6 year term so a 3 year term was
introduced as well.
Periods of conscription
varied from 94 days full time to be followed by 3 years part time that was
the rule in the 1950s to the 2 years full time that was mandated in the
1960s to send troops to Viet Nam.
I've heard about a new WW2
web site. What is it?
The new site allows you to
check the service details of any service person from WW2 and print out a
copy of their service record. It is at National
Archives World War Two Nominal Roll website
What is a King's (or
Queen's) Crown? images & some text by T F Mills
(Queen Victoria's Crown)
Imperial Crown )
|There have been
four basic 'crown shapes' on British (and therefore Australian
& New Zealand) military badges, though there are variations
within each basic shape.
Unfortunately, Queen Victoria's State
Crown was often drawn in a weak, ill-defined style and later
illustrators, presumably imagining that it was a badly drawn St
Edward's crown, redrew it accordingly.
More details at Crowns & Cyphers as used on badges & medals
- The State
Crown (miscalled Queen Victoria's Crown) as made for Queen
Victoria (c.1837). This is a square crown. The top is almost
flat, with just a suspicion of a dip in the centre. This crown
was phased out from 1880 onwards but continued on existing badge
designs until about 1902, when it was replaced with
- The Tudor
Crown has a
rounded top. It was introduced by Edward VII in about 1902 and
was in use until the accession of Elizabeth II in 1953 when it
was replaced by St. Edwards Crown. A Colonial Office Circular
Dispatch from 14th June 1901 refers to "Drawings showing
Imperial Cyphers as selected by His Majesty." and "H.M.
desires that the Tudor Crown may be substituted for any other
pattern now in use, as new articles become necessary."
Later that year a Circular Despatch of 16th November directed
that, in accordance with instructions from the Admiralty, those
flag badges based on the seal should not be changed until the
seal had first been changed. Both Circulars in PRO Document CO
The present crown is about the
tenth manifestation since the Restoration. It was originally
designed and made for Queen Victoria in 1838 and was used at the
coronations of Edward VII and George V. It was remade with
practically the same stones for George VI in 1937. For the
coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 the shape of the arches
was altered to reduce the height. Although more than 2,800
diamonds are mounted in it, the crown is best known for it's
major stones, famous either for their historical interest or
their actual value.
- St Edward's Crown (miscalled
the Queen's Crown). This
is similar to the first crown above, but with a much more
pronounced dip in the centre of the top.
What is a hexamine
Hexamine is a solid fuel
block that burns with a good heat. Most people would know the fire starter
blocks that are used in wood fired BBQ's and fireplaces. Hexamine is similar/the
same. Troops are issued with a small metal device that holds the hexamine
tablet and the cooking container off the ground. It is easily lit, fast
acting and very light to carry. Originally the stove was a very light
pressed metal hollow cube about 14 cms square and about 5 cms thick that
folded out. A packet of 8 hexamine blocks would fit inside the folded
stove. In tactical situations 1 packet was considered 1 weeks supply. 1
tablet could cook two brews of tea/coffee and heat one meal.
More modern hexamine stoves
are shown on the page Equipment/Australian
Beating The Retreat?
Beating the Retreat is
not retreating. Retreating in the face of the enemy is a shameful
although sometimes necessary thing. Beating the Retreat is an ancient
military ceremony indicating the end of hostilities for the day or the
period. In the evening the band would march out with the drum beating
and the buglers playing the call 'retreat'. The Colours would be there
under guard to indicate that the unit was withdrawing as an orderly and
controlled body of men who had not given up but were merely ending the
killing for that day. The troops would retire to the ale houses and eat
and drink until the prescribed time to go to their billets. It is now a
Ceremonial Parade performed on specified occasions that includes but is
not limited to the end of a Unit such as where 28
Commonwealth Infantry Brigade ceased to exist and by so doing
bought into existence ANZUK Brigade.
What is meant by the
term 'Total war'
The Theory of Total War
was supported and applied by NAZI Germany and Imperial Japan.
The basis of it is that the techniques of modern war must include ALL
peoples of the enemy, male civilians, women and children included as well as
military personnel. The idea was that you could create panic amongst a civilian
population and thereby weaken the enemy's will to continue.
In Europe the technique included bombing and strafing long lines of
civilian refugees, carpet bombing civilian targets (London, Coventry)
all with the aim of creating terror.
In the area that Japan operated in under Tojo civilians were routinely
raped and then butchered in their thousands (Rape of Nanking), prisoners
were treated as animals and even hospital ships were considered fair
targets (Centaur). In Singapore alone the Japanese murdered 50,000
Chinese civilians during the occupation 1942/45.
It was the end of the idea that war was an occupation of trained
men in uniform who would fight bravely but if wounded or surrendered became "non
targets" and that if at all possible civilians, women and children
were protected regardless of nationality. Naturally some civilians,
women and children were killed in wars before WW2 but they were never
Hitler and Tojo changed that. It was a return to barbarism unmatched in
what was the work of a "Pioneer Battalion"?
A pioneer battalion
was organised like an infantry battalion but contained a large number of
tradesmen. Although the infantry could dig their own trench lines, the preparation
of them was a normal task for the pioneers. They also buried the signal
Prior to the late part of the Second World War most engineering work in
the Australian Army was done with hand tools. There was therefore little
difference between the engineers and the pioneers. The Australian
pioneers liked to carry out tasks which would have been the province of
the engineers in the British Army. They built, roads, depots, bridges and
railways. (Ross Mallett)
What is a Sam Browne belt?
A Sam Browne belt is a
sword/pistol belt with a single shoulder strap, worn by Commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers.
Details available on the page called Sam
What is Blanco?
It was a compressed powder used to whiten
or colour items of
equipment. It looked a bit like thick toothpaste when water was added in
the correct amount and it dried very white. Khaki colour was also available and later other colours including brown
introduced. It was
used on belts, webbing and lanyards and in some cases on gaiters or
British made Blanco in
A block of un-used Blanco. Shade
64 yellow khaki with inner wrapper and outer instruction
Blanco was originally issued in a
tin, soldiers then bought replacement blocks in this paper wrapper
to refill their tin.
What is a Short
This is a visual and physical inspection
of the genitalia of the soldiers, by a medically qualified
person (usually)such as a nurse or medic. It is usually done in the presence of an
NCO. It usually involved an inspection of the penis and the lifting of the
testicles with a requirement that the soldier cough. It was specifically
designed to detect venereal disease which in WW1 and WW2 was a real
problem. The availability of modern drugs and the improved medical
services available reduced but did not remove the need for this type of
What does spit polish mean?
||It is a method of getting a brilliant
and hard shine on the toes and heels of Army boots by applying shoe polish
on a soft cloth in small circular rubbing motions and alternating that
with some fluid. Water is OK but spit is better.
It takes hours to get the
boots up to parade ground standard but once done it is relatively easy to
maintain. These days chemical substitutes are used to get a brilliant high
It originated in times when there was no
TV and soldiers were so poorly paid as to not be able to go out more than
once a fortnight so they had lots of time on their hands and Officers and
NCOs worked at finding time consuming work for them.
What's the difference
between Warrant Officers & Commissioned Officers?
A Commissioned Officer (Second
Lieutenant up to Field Marshal) holds the Sovereign's Commission to act as
an Officer. It automatically makes him a 'gentleman' and in the peace time
Services means that person has undergone specialised training, usually at
University level and for a period of years. The drop out rate is very high,
as are the entrance standards.
Some Commissions are offered to
experienced men in the ranks and their training is for a shorter time but
their ability to reach the top levels is severely hampered. In war time
men can be commissioned "in the field".
A Warrant Officer (WO1 or WO2) is a
senior NCO (Sergeant or Staff Sergeant) who has been offered the
Sovereign's Warrant to carry out the duties of the most senior
non-commissioned ranks of
the Service. Warrant Officers are more highly respected than junior
Commissioned Officers because they have "been there, done that"
whereas the junior Officer has a lot of book learning but no experience.
He is also likely to be 15 years younger than the WO.
Commissioned Officers wear their badges
of rank on the shoulder. Warrant Officers wear it on the sleeve.
Commissioned Officers are entitled to a salute, Warrant Officers are not.
Both wear the Sam Browne belt on ceremonial occasions but only
Commissioned Officers wear a sword.
The Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of a
Unit is a Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1).
In some cases Warrant Officers
(particularly if a Q-store expert) are
offered a Commission. This is referred to as 'going from being the cream
of the shit to being the shit of the cream".
The Australian Army has never been
involved in selling Commissions the way it used to be done in Britain.
from a Warrant Officer. What is the difference between a 'Commissioned
Officer' and a 'Warrant Officer'? When you 'commission' a product, you
hope it works. When you 'warrant' a product, you guarantee it!
What is a mess?
In civilian terms it might be your
teenage son's bedroom but in the military it means where the soldiers food
is prepared and served and for Sergeants and Officers it means where they
gather for a drink as well as to eat. Troops below the rank of Sergeant
cannot drink alcohol with their meal. Sergeants and above can.
The Officers’ Mess: Officers’
Messes were first introduced in the British Army about 1770. The first
known writing, using the word "Mess" is found in early writings from a
"Military Guide for young Officers", which states,
"… each Field Officer and Captain is to
contribute six guineas and each Subaltern and Staff Officer, one day’s
pay each towards the purchasing of a dining tent and also to enable a
sutler to buy a cart and two horses, table linen, kitchen furniture, etc.
Wine, punch, ale, cider etc, being distinct articles must be paid for by
those who choose to call for them; and for each strangers dinner sent from
What is olive drab? What
|Olive drab is a colour used by the
Services, particularly Army, for uniforms, vehicles and buildings. It is a
non shiny dull olive colour often referred to as 'army green'. Note that
the Yanks call it OD and their colour is more green than ours. What we
call khaki they call OD. Also be aware that what we call khaki varies from
uniform to uniform and from one era to another. Khaki service dress (dull
green) from the 1940s was a totally different colour to the khaki summer
uniforms (light sand) of the 1950s.
indicate the difficulty in being precise, the photo shows a khaki
hat with a khaki puggaree. However if the hat colour was on on
anything else it could be called olive drab.
What is ADFA?
Where are Officers trained?
ADFA is the Australian Defence Force
Academy, in Canberra ACT where future Commissioned Officers of all the
Services do their military training and gain a university degree at the
same time. This was previously done at different venues for each Service,
the most famous being Royal Military College Duntroon (RMC)
Why are Officers
When you salute the National Flag you
are not paying respect to a piece of cloth with some stain on it, you are
saluting what it symbolises, i.e. Australia. In the same way when a
serviceman salutes an Officer he is paying respect to the Sovereign, who
as Queen of Australia represents the nation as the 'Crown'. He is saluting
the Commission that the Sovereign has bestowed on that Officer to act as
his/her representative. He is saluting the rank, not the man. That is of
course providing that he salutes. Aussies are not known as great saluters.
I have known blokes to walk the long way around to avoid saluting an
Officer they did not approve of.
Origins of Saluting
WOFF Chris Dunne,
Air Force Warrant Officer Disciplinary
There are a number of origins of the military greeting of saluting. In the
age of chivalry the knights were all mounted and wore steel armour, which
covered the body completely.
When two friendly knights met it was the custom for each to raise the
visor and expose his face to the view of the other. This was always done
with the right hand, the left being used to hold the reins. It was a
significant gesture of friendship and confidence, since it exposed the
features and also removed the right hand from the vicinity of a weapon
Also in ancient times the freemen of Europe were allowed to carry arms:
when two freemen met, each would raise his right hand to show that he held
no weapons in it and that the meeting was friendly.
The Coldstream Guards appear to have been the first to depart from this
practice as a Regimental Order of 1745 reads:
‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when the when they pass
an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their
hats and bow as they pass them’.
Later, an extract from the Royal Scots Standing Orders of 1762 stated:
‘as nothing disfigures the hats or dirties the lace worn more than
taking off the hats, the men for the future are only to raise the back of
their hands to them (hats) with a brisk motion when they pass an
From this beginning, although there was some resistance, saluting, as we
now know it developed.
is 'friendly fire'?
Friendly fire is one
of the most dangerous types. It is when friends or allies mistake you for
enemy and shoot at you, or when your own or allied artillery make a
mistake about location and drop shells on you or when supporting aircraft
make a position error and drop napalm or bombs on you. In any event you
wind up dead or injured by the actions of your 'friends'. The famous
American Civil War General "Stonewall" Jackson was killed by
'friendly fire'. So was the hero of Long Tan, WO2 Jack Kirby. So too were
thousands of others in all armies and navies. It happens even in highly
trained units like SAS. It is bad. It is wrong. It happens.
Stonewall Jackson was fatally shot by three of his own troops
after the Confederate triumph at Chancellorsville in 1863.
In his first
engagement during the First World War, Lawrence of Arabia shot his
own camel in the back of the head.
Over the course of
the First World War, up to 75,000 French troops were killed by
their own artillery.
The Germans suffered similar problems, their
49th Artillery Regiment being re-christened 48½th for
persistently firing short.
Italo Balbo, Mussolini’s commander in Libya, was shot down by
his own antiaircraft defences at Tobruk in 1940.
The highest ranking
American to die in the Second World War was Lt-Gen Lesley McNair,
killed by a stray bomb dropped by the US Army Air Corps.
In the Invasion of
Sicily an American Paratroop Unit was decimated when the planes
carrying them were shot down by the US Navy.
Following a massive
naval bombardment of the Aleutian island of Kiska in June 1943,
35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore. 21 troops were
killed in the firefight before it was found there were no Japanese
forces on the island.
What is napalm?
It is a jellied petrol product
that is used in bombs to create huge and instant heat over a particular
area. It is effective even in jungle conditions as it burns through and
around the trees and undergrowth. It is like a living hell to be on the
edge of a napalm strike. In the middle is OK because you are dead. On the
edge you are just terribly badly burnt.
My Uncle was a WO2. Now I
am told he was a CSM. How can he be both?
Because WO2 stands
for his rank, Warrant Officer Class 2. The CSM stands for his job
Company Sergeant Major.
What is an OR and /or what
OR stands for Other Ranks. It is
sometimes used in the context of 'Officers and Other Ranks' but on
many occasions it refers to soldiers below the rank of Sergeant. There are
Officers, Warrant Officers, Senior Non Commissioned Officers (Staff
Sergeants) and 'Other Ranks' (Corporals, Lance Corporals and privates
soldiers). If you want a beer in the Army you will go
to the Officers Mess, the Sergeants Mess or the ORs Canteen, depending on
Where is the Snakes Pit
and what is the Pigs Pen?
The Snake Pit is the Diggers name for
the Sergeant's Mess. The Pig Pen is the Officer's Mess. See above
is "the Ode" all about?
The Ode is part of a piece
of poetry. It has been chosen and used over many years because it
encapsulates in a few moving words the feeling of regret for our loss and
a promise to keep faith with the Fallen. In RSL Clubs all around
Australia, every night, usually at either 6.00 pm or 9.00pm, everything
stops. The Ode is recited, usually to dimmed lights, and everyone faces
the "flame" which is a light with a red cover made to look like
a flaming torch. The entire audience responds at the end with "Lest
We Forget". Click to hear The Ode.
Click to hear Last Post.
What does RHIP mean?
It is the abbreviation for an old Army
saying "Rank Has It's Privileges" or "Rank Hath Individual Privileges".
It is usually used when someone feels aggrieved that he has missed out on
something that other, higher ranks have received and sometimes it is used
as an answer to junior ranks protesting that you have received
Can a Air Force bloke
give orders to an Army soldier?
Short answer is Yes. Any legal military order given by
any service person to any junior rank, regardless of Service, must be
What about the poppy.
Why is it significant?
Long known as the corn
poppy because it flourishes as a weed in grain fields, the Flanders poppy
as it is now usually called, grew profusely in the trenches and craters of
the war zone. Artillery shells and shrapnel stirred up the earth and
exposed the seeds to the light they needed to germinate. This
same poppy also flowers in Turkey in early spring - as it did in April
1915 when the ANZACs landed at Gallipoli. According to Australia’s
official war historian C.E.W.Bean, a valley south of ANZAC beach got its
name Poppy Valley "from the field of brilliant red poppies near its
|In the years immediately following World
War 1, governments and the whole of society, had not accepted the
responsibility for those incapacitated and bereft as a result of war. In
Britain, unemployment accentuated the problem.
Earl Haig, the British
Commander-in-Chief, undertook the task of organising the British Legion as
a means of coping with the problems of hundreds and thousands of men who
had served under him in battle.
In 1921, a group of widows of French
ex-servicemen called on him at the British Legion Headquarters.
brought with them from France some poppies they had made, and suggested
that they might be sold as a means of raising money to aid the distressed
among those who were incapacitated as a result of the war.
The first red
poppies to come to Australia, in 1921, were made in France. (See left)
In Australia, single poppies are not
usually worn on ANZAC Day - the poppy belongs to Remembrance Day, 11
November. However, wreaths of poppies are traditionally
placed at memorials and honour boards on ANZAC Day.
The red Flanders’ poppy was first
described as a flower of remembrance by Colonel John McCrea, who was
Professor of Medicine at McGill University of Canada before World War One.
Colonel McCrea had served as a gunner in the Boer War, but went to France
in World War One as a medical Officer with the first Canadian Contingent.
He was KIA.
poppy from the post WW1 era, 1 of the first to be imported. The
metal plate behind the poppy was to be folded over to slip into a
pocket or button-hole.
I find the words to the poppy poem?
The poem and several
different replies to the original are all listed on the Page called Tributes
in the Poetry section. It is called "In Flanders Fields" .
I see things like KIA, MIA
and others . What do they mean?
- KIA means Killed In Action
- MIA means Missing in Action
- WIA means Wounded in Action
- DoW means Died of Wounds
- DoI means Died of Illness (WW1 usage)
- AK means Accidentally Killed.
- TPI means Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.
- RTA means Returned to Australia
Copyright © 2002 Ted Harris. All rights
reserved as per Legal page.
Revised: February 12, 2013