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Weekend Feature:


    The 'Great War' Remembered: Gallipoli, Fromelles, Beersheba: What Do These Names Mean To Australians In 2019?
In the four years of World War 1, the 'War to end all wars', more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. On the 11th of November we remember them.

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare.

With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War.

From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Corps had been at the forefront of the allied advance to victory.

Beginning with their stunning success at the battle of Hamel in July, they helped to turn the tide of the war at Amiens in August, followed by the capture of Mont St Quentin and Pèronne, and the breaching of German defences at the Hindenburg Line in September.

By early October the exhausted Australians were withdrawn from battle.

They had achieved a fighting reputation out of proportion to their numbers, but victory had come at a heavy cost.

They suffered almost 48,000 casualties during 1918, including more than 12,000 dead.

The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the postwar decades.

Each year on 'Remembrance Day' Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.


The Battle of Fromelles Commemoration


The Lighthorsemen (1987)

This film follows four Australian cavalrymen (Frank, Scotty, Chiller, and Tas) in Palestine in 1917, part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade of the British and Commonwealth forces on their journey to Beersheba.

It is October, 1917 & the British need to the capture Beersheba, a strategic township on the road to Jerusalem, and they plan to do it with the help of the Australia 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments.

The scene is set for the last great cavalry charge in history.

The film follows four Australian cavalrymen (Frank, Scotty, Chiller, and Tas), part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade of the British and Commonwealth forces. 

The Movie Plot:

During an attack by Turkish cavalry, British officer Major Richard Meinertzhagen deliberately leaves behind documents indicating that the pending assault on Beersheba will only be a diversion.

The Australians leave for Beersheba, with limited water and supplies.

They bombard the town and the 4,000 Turkish-German defenders prepare for an assault.

However, the German military adviser Reichert, believes it is a diversionary attack and advises the Turkish commander he does not need reinforcements.

With time running out and water in short supply, the British command suspect any attack upon Beersheba will probably fail.

The Australian commanders ask the British to send in the Australian Light Horse.

The British consent to what they think is a suicide mission.

On 31 October, the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments are ordered to attack the Turks.

Dave and the rest of the medical detachment prepare for casualties and are ordered in behind the Light Horse.

The Turks report the Australian mounted soldiers lining up to charge, however the officer in charge orders the Turks not to open fire until they dismount.

The Australians begin advancing on the Turkish positions, gradually speeding up to a charge.

The Turks realise too late that the soldiers are not dismounting and open fire.

Artillery fire is sporadic and of limited effect and the attack so fast the Turkish infantry forget to adjust the sights on their rifles as the Light Horse get closer, eventually firing straight over the Australians' heads.

During the charge, Tas is killed by an artillery shell.

The remaining Australians make it "under the guns" (advancing faster than the artillery can correct its aim for the reduced range) and reach the Turkish trenches.

The Australians subsequently capture the first line of Turkish defences. Scotty and a few others take control of the guns. Chiller is wounded in the trench fight.

Dave is struck by a grenade and is seriously wounded while protecting Chiller. Scotty continues to fight on into the town.

When most of the remaining Turkish soldiers surrender, German commander Reichert tries to destroy the wells, but is captured by Scotty.

The attack was a fantastic success and the Australians miraculously suffered only 31 dead and 36 wounded. This action opened the 'door' and allowed for the subsequent capture of Jerusalem and the rest of the country.

General Allenby, in deference to the Holy City, walked into the city, coming as a liberator not a conqueror.

Comments:

Joe Turner

Trolls & cheapskates can say what they like. But this has got to be one of the most awe inspiring depictions of military bravado in history. I came here from Charge Of The Light Brigade 1936, which was, to coin a phrase, a clusterfuck. In British military history I don't know what to compare it with. We have glorious defensive actions. Rorkes Drift to name but one. But nothing to compare with this. Aussies. Hard irreverential bastards. Credence.

Jamie Cottam

fantastic film showing the real heroes from Australia, make you feel so proud of these brave men

0Zolrender0

Only Australians could pull this off. Aussie Aussie Aussie. Oi Oi Oi.

Warren Matha

Spectacular film.

Blaster Elforg

Iconic charge. I guess seeing your friends fall in line of fire will send an adrenaline up the spine to turn even a Quaker into a warrior.

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Sub-Editors & Typos: The Early Days Revisited

Sub-Editors & Typos: The Early Days Revisited

The story has done the rounds so many times that it has joined the ranks of urban myths, although Barry Sturgess and Bill Birnbauer, it in their book 'The Journalist Who Laughed', swear it happened.

Story By : Laurie Barber.

The story suggested a sub-editor in Brisbane, who found a decapitated mouse in a trap, wrapped up the creature and sent it to the composing room through the air chute, accompanied by a piece of copy paper with the words, in the correct style: “Mouse two, head to come”.

A few moments later the compositors sent back a message: “Too long, please cut tail”.

Sub-editors had an exalted place under the old hot metal system.

Former Sydney Morning Herald columnist Alan Peterson described the scene perfectly: “To those dedicated places of high concentration and hushed voices, where smoke hung like incense and even the scratching of pens seemed intrusive, reporters delivered their copy.

The sub-editors, showing signs of great suffering, checked, rewrote, trimmed, muttered, fussed with headings and finally pronounced themselves as satisfied as they were ever likely to be with such unpromising raw material.

As cadets we tiptoed in and out of their presence. We could neither stand the sight of blood nor muster the nerve to discourse with the doctors in the temple.”

In those early days, although the opportunities for mistakes were there, the checks and balances were many. Proof readers, in particular, held important positions.

Rarely would the devoted reader of the country newspaper question the qualifications of the proof reader, the person who ensured that the finished product was as the journalist wanted it and who in reality saved many a journalist from embarrassment.

A problem was that many journalists, no doubt with a good nose for news, produced what could only be described as sloppy material, relying on “someone else” to put the words together in some acceptable order.

Gary Ruddick in his book The Local Rag commented on proof readers: “They’ve very often got more ‘literary’ or grammatical ability and knowledge than their more highly paid journalistic brethren, and what’s more they can spell.”

Now that the grand vision of computerised production has arrived, we have to acknowledge that, at least in many country newspapers, many of the checks and balances have been removed.

Proof readers are rare and in many cases the sub, or copy editor, is also the compositor, making up entire pages in a never-ending line of speedy production.

The opportunities to check that obscure spelling, the typographical error or the date of some significant event have been reduced in a system that cries out “let’s get this page out without delay”.

As for spelling and grammar, does our society really care?

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