By Bruce Scates
Australians were making pilgrimages to the battlefields and cemeteries of worldwide conflict because the Nineteen Forties, from the jungles of recent Guinea and South-East Asia to the mountains of Greece and the deserts of North Africa. They commute looking for the tales of misplaced household, to mourn the lifeless and to return to grips with the previous. With attribute empathy, Bruce Scates charts the heritage of pilgrimages to Crete, Kokoda, Sandakan and Hellfire cross. He explores the emotional resonance that those websites have if you served and people who have in mind. according to surveys, interviews, wide fieldwork and archival study, Anzac trips bargains insights into the tradition of loss and commemoration and the starvation for that means so pivotal to the adventure of pilgrimage. Richly illustrated with full-colour maps and pictures from the Forties to this present day, Anzac trips makes a big and relocating contribution to Australian army heritage.
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Extra info for Anzac Journeys: Returning to the Battlefields of World War Two
It was not just that families wrote letters, raised relief funds and mobilised a formidable network among themselves (the Australian Prisoners of War Relatives Association numbered more than 9000 members by 1945). Very few such parcels reached the camps in South-East Asia and many were found rotting in warehouses after the war. Fund-raising efforts for the Red Cross were one of the ways families maintained a sense of connection with a prisoner overseas. This ‘emotional labour’ was later transferred (in many cases) to efforts to find and visit a prisoner’s grave.
It was the best comfort Simpson could offer the bereaved. Simpson’s documentary pledged to remember the men who died on the Death March. ’ Part of it was, but not all. It was not just that the story of Sandakan receded from popular memory. Prisoner narratives of the post-war period came to focus on the railway, perhaps because more men were involved, more survived to tell their story and more (like Babb himself) rescued a heroic narrative from their ordeal. The memory of Sandakan was much harder to live with.
Usually he failed. ’ Over the next few days Sticpewich’s party sifted through the soil of an old POW cemetery and, despite the work of previous recovery teams, gathered a grim harvest of relics and remains. Work began early in the morning and ended only as light failed. 7 It was not just the ‘science’ of Sticpewich’s search method that secured success, or his frequent assertion that he ‘handled the natives’ better than most. The incentives worked. 8 Sticpewich knew how ‘the native’s mind worked’.