Felix Rooney, my great-grandfather, served in the first world war. He saw many of the most gruelling battles of that war. ANZAC Day, today, commemorates New Zealand and Australian soldiers, particularly those who served in and never returned from the Great War.
Felix kept detailed war diaries, which I have been privileged to read (and want to read again). Although I don’t have copies, I do have with me a monograph on a Cantabrian Victoria Cross winner which quotes Felix’s diaries extensively. So, from that source, the part of Felix’s war diaries that most bears repeating:

Monday 11th: It was a great civic reception [French President] Poincare got yesterday. It was fine weather and aeroplanes overhead dropped messages into the Square. Today, just before marching out we had the news read out to us that hostilities would cease at 11 A.M. today. We left at 11 A.M. and marched 19 kilos to Quievy with full packs. Everyone is smiling now the war is over.

3 thoughts on “ANZAC Day”

  1. Hi Morgan
    The Canterbarian VC you refer to (I think – given he is the only one in Christchurch)is my great uncle – Henry James Nicholas, my father’s uncle. -who I am named after. A statue of hime has just been put up by the bridge of remeberance in Christchruch. My cousin (who lives in Chch) sent me the book of his history only last week and why they made a staute of him. I’m still working my way though the book – it makes interesting reading.

  2. Yeah, hebe, that’s the one. I’ve only skimmed John H Gray’s monograph so far but it looks to be very engaging reading. How fascinating that you’re named after him!

  3. Another (random) thought. Storngerlight is used to these!… Re Cantabrain connections – I used to visit two “aunties” called Mima and Rina Rooney when I was young. They were connections with my mothers father. Three things I remember about them. They had splendid gardens and cooking. But the thing I rember most is the very large pictures of their war men. Perhaps they are connected to you. Perhpas not. Just a random thought…

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