Monday, April 23, 2012

Aussie Anzac slur mind boggling - rather over the top...

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    Jock Anderson
    JOCK ANDERSON: 'I've got nothing to apologise for.'  A foolish journalist! Over the top comments.


    The military historian whose book Jock Anderson was discussing when he labelled Australian soldiers as bludgers, scavengers and thieves says it's "mind boggling" the journalist came to that conclusion.
    In fact, Graham Wilson wonders whether the veteran journalist has even read his book.
    "It's his take not mine," the Australian author told Newstalk ZB this morning.
    "For Mr Anderson to come out and paint the entire Australian Imperial Force ... over 330,000 men as bludgers, poachers, vagabonds, thieves, it's mind boggling," Wilson said.
    Anderson's comments have sparked outrage, both here and across the ditch.
    New Zealand Returned and Services Association national chief executive Dr Stephen Clarke said the organisation was "deeply disappointed by the historically inaccurate and disrespectful comments" and Prime Minister John Key said they were "offensive".
    Veteran soldiers in Australia have also slammed Anderson's comments. "These are comments made by people who should know better," Australia's RSL state president Jock Statton said.
    Anderson made the comments last week on a Radio New Zealand show hosted by Jim Mora.
    "The Aussies have been reluctant soldiers at the best of times. They've been essentially lazy, bludgers, some of them, and excellent black marketeers, scavengers, poachers and thieves," he said on the radio show.
    "Occasionally they've actually been quite good soldiers, but there is no way, in my opinion, that they can hold a candle to the Kiwis."
    Wilson said the Australian soldiers were not as good as their British and New Zealand counterparts until about 1916 when they were the "equal of anyone on the west front".
    He said two Australian commanders established a training base in Egypt after being dissatisfied with the level of training for soldiers. He said they were generally not bludgers or thieves, but there were "bad characters" in every army.
    "They were in the NZDF (New Zealand Defence Force) as well, as they were in the British, South African and Canadian forces.
    "There were some guys there who were not prepared to do their bit, there were guys who had criminal records, who spent the entire war committing criminal and civil offences, but that's only a small proportion."
    Andy Macdonald, a published New Zealand military historian based in London, said he had interviewed 10 World War 1 veterans who fought at Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele.
    None had raised issues about Australian discipline.
    Anderson needed statistics to back his "crude" allegations, Macdonald said.
    "I personally think the comments that have been made lack subtlety and lack knowledge," he said.
    "You can't just compare one country with another on such crude terms, frankly. For heaven's sake these guys were fighting for their lives, and that applies to Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and Britons."

    Over the top in my opinion. There were ratbags in every outfit. Aussies have always been known as rascals. But Kiwi soldiers have not always been blameless, either. But when it got down to the business of fighting the enemy, Anzac soldiers got stuck in with a lot of enthusiasm.There reputation as fighting man will not be denigrated by a foolish journalist as Jock Anderson.

    Acknowledgements:  - © Fairfax NZ News


    xrayrifle said...

    In response to Jock Andersons reported sound bite on public radio I have these quotes from the book, Crete, authored by, Anthony Beevor where in he describes the following encounters with Australian soldiers by British officers.

    “The Australians & New Zealanders in Crete were neither regulars nor conscripts, but volunteers for the duration and their lack of reverence – almost an antipodean’s honour – made British officers steer well clear of them…….”

    A yeomanry captain, who had already encountered Australians in Greece, remarked only half in jest of the 6th Australian Division: “I think they must have been recruited from the prisons”

    “In Canea, a British Officer, seeing an Australian filling his pockets with fruit from an old woman’s store and refusing to pay, remonstrated with him, only to find the muzzle of a looted German pistol thrust into his face. And a Cretan recounted how when a British Colonel accompanying the King of Greece had gone to quieten a disturbance out side the window where they were talking, the Australian responsible for the row promptly seized him by the throat and nearly strangled him”

    Anonymous said...

    Anthony Beevor is an infamous bullshit artist.
    "He claimed that Beevor's use of phrases such as "Berliners remember" and "the experiences of the raped German women" were better suited "for pulp fiction, than scientific research".
    It's amazing how as Australia becomes more and more successful all the losers crawl out of the woodwork snarling and yapping.