Saturday, 27 April 2019

Significance of Anzac Day for my family

During the Second World War my father served in the Australian Army with the 2/4th Battalion which left Sydney on 10 January 1940 for Palestine. The Battalion was also stationed in Egypt, Tobruk, Greece and Crete and Syria before returning to Australia early in 1942. The Battalion was then relocated to Papua New Guinea but Dad remained in Australia as he had been discharged due to illness making him unfit for military service.
Dad in Sydney with his mother, January 1940

An account of Dad's military service can be found in a series of blog posts in my Exploring Military History blog.

Anzac Day was always very important to Dad and each year he attended the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance  followed by the Anzac Day March later in the morning. The 2/4th Battalion was based in Sydney but a number of its members, like Dad, had relocated to Melbourne after the war. Anzac Day was their special time to get together and we all knew that we would not see Dad on that day.

However Anzac Day is also my mother's birthday.

Fortunately Mum accepted the situation. My mother's family lived in Queensland so her birthday was spent initially with my sister and me and later with our younger brother.

Mum, though, was not forgotten by Dad's mates, some of whom would each year ring her prior to her birthday to pass on birthday wishes and assure her that they would look after Dad!

Dad died in 1984 but the family always observes Anzac Day usually watching the main services on television. Two of my grandchildren are in guide and scout groups and this year they took part in the Anzac Day Parade to our local war memorial. Their mother, a guide leader, was involved in the Anzac Day March in the city.

The other family aspect of Anzac Day was, of course, not forgotten. My mother now lives in a nursing home so in the afternoon members of the Melbourne clan met there to help Mum celebrate her special day.

Mum's birthday 2019 - four generations
Therefore, for my family, Anzac Day is a day of commemoration and celebration.


  1. Thankyou for sharing your family's ANZAC Day and Mother's birthday celebrations. A good read.

  2. A wonderful memory of the importance of Anzac Day to your family and balancing it with your mum’s birthday. How thoughtful were his mates to ring her as well.

    1. For our family Anzac Day definitely is a special day.