The Anzac Meme

James Kay Horsfield

He was the grand-father I never knew. He died fighting in the Battle of the Somme in France, aged 40, on my mother’s 9th birthday, 12th October 1917.

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/battle-of-the-somme

Like the 1915 invasion of the Gallip0li peninsula in Turkey by the Anzacs, it was militarily unsuccessful, and resulted in the tragic loss of 1.5 million Allied force lives.

James KayThis photograph of my grandfather, shows that as a young man I had a strong physical resemblance to him. Despite not ever having known him, I identify with him and grieve his passing and the hardship it brought to his young widow as she struggled to support three young children on her own.

He married my maternal grandmother I understand as a result of a shipboard romance when they both migrated at the turn of the century to Auckland, New Zealand. He subsequently found work as a book-keeper/accountant for a mining company in the very north of the South Island, some distance from Nelson, but proved to be a poor provider for his young family due to a drinking habit.

Sadly it also led him into minor larceny on a couple of occasions. The first time he was cautioned but after a second offence, he received a short custodial sentence.

At the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted with the 1st Battalion of the Canterbury Regiment. Before leaving London for action in France his war record documents that he disobeyed military protocol, going awol to visit his family at Evesham in South England not having seen them for many years. It was the last time he saw them.

The Anzac Meme

No two Australians/ New Zealanders will observe Anzac Day for the same reason. Time dims the memory of those war events more than a century ago. For some of us the memory of someone who did fight will make the day a significant one.

For us all however, it is an occasion to honour the many who put their lives at risk in the Armed Services.

My grand-father may not have been a perfect New Zealand citizen, or a particularly good husband and father, but I have no doubt that he loved both his family and his country, and was prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice in dying for them. He deserves my utmost respect and honour for this. I just hope that I would do what he did in such circumstances.

In my opinion this is the Anzac meme which I trust we will never forget. To fight against the odds in even in the most impossible circumstances, putting our own lives at risk.

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The Forgotten Cross – An Easter Message

“The Forgotten Cross” is a thoughtful Christian Easter Message written by family friend Gwen Devries © 2015

 

We are living in an age, where terror seems to reign,
Where fear and fright are walking side by side.
“Is trust now just a trickle, in the rivers of our life?
Will melodies of joy soon fade, forever in the night?”

 

Anger, lawless anger, is growing in our land,
Like a cancer so destructive, not benign.
“Are innocent lives now shattered, do the guilty walk away?
Is black now white, is collusion in, has justice gone astray?”

 
The Creator of our Universe has witnessed every scene.
God knows our world is groaning, as nature’s terror force is seen.
Some say, that “if He’s there, why won’t He intervene,
And through His might and power, put love, where hate is seen?”

 
God’s Son, so soon forgotten, that day they whipped His back,
Till the flesh was raw, and all the wounds were deep.
And then in silence listened to their cruel accusing words,
And allowed their spit to trickle down His cheek.

 
A crown of thorns, was thrust with force, upon His wounded brow,
And the blood then mingled with His tears.
But still He stood there silent, without a word to say,
And listened to their mocking, hate filled jeers.

 
Then Jesus took the cross, that was thrust into His arms.
But the weight was more than He could bear.
And He fell onto that, dusty, dirty, rocky road,
And they laughed and mocked, and clapped at His despair.

 
As if then, in a frenzy, they laid Him on that cross,
And nailed to it, His precious hands and feet.
The force it seems was crucial, as the pain it caused was brutal.
It was then, our Saviour tried, so desperately to speak.

 
“Father please, forgive them.” Forgive them, were His words.
For only Jesus knew, the value of their worth.
Alone and broken hearted, He died a death of shame.
But, on day three, God called Him, and He rose to life again.

 
The death and resurrection, of Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
Has paid the price, at such a cost, for every evil done.
His sacrifice, his suffering, was to rescue all from sin.
To free each one, from bondage, and put love where hate has been.

 
The prophetic clock is ticking the last chime will soon be heard.
All kingdoms through the ages are recorded in God’s word.
Soon Jesus is returning, in resplendent majesty,
To take those home who love Him, to live eternally.

 
In that momentous moment, mortality will fade,
And all who sleep in Jesus, will arise from dusty graves.
Then as the ceaseless ages roll, one theme of praise will be,
The love of a risen Saviour and the Cross of Calvary.