Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

25 September 2009

ANZAC Memories

In 2005 I compiled a small collection of archived photographs from various sources that depicted aspects of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in World War One. It was published by New Holland Publishers in 2005, titled ‘ANZAC Memories’. 

As with Siegfried Sassoon, I’ve always felt the irony of that war; the waste, the stupidity, the overwhelming sadness. Consequently I sought quotations about the war that would be thought-provoking when applied to images that are especially poignant when we remember the disproportionate sacrifices that were made by both Australia and New Zealand at theatres and battles like Gallipoli and Passchendaele.

Perhaps the most ironic of them was the photograph and its caption below; rugby union football features largely in the sporting cultures of both countries. To have stopped the whole pointless calamity of the so-called ‘Great War’ it would only have needed a few just minded men to sit down and talk.

‘The referee has the power to declare no side at any time, if the referee believes that play should not go on because it would be dangerous.’
From The Laws of Rugby Union Football

The photograph shows New Zealand troops playing an improvised rugby match on the western front in France.
With acknowledgements to New Holland Publishers Ltd and Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand


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By Don Donovan