Today is ANZAC Day, which Wikipedia explains as
a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".But the ANZAC troops are also remembered in other countries, and especially at the Commonwealth War Cemeteries in Israel and nearby Gaza.
Here in the Negev we have the beautiful Beersheba War Cemetery.
Some of the graves are of Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers.
The administering Commonwealth War Graves Commission says that
The cemetery was made immediately on the fall of the town [Oct. 1917], remaining in use until July 1918, by which time 139 burials had been made. It was greatly increased after the Armistice when burials were brought in from a number of scattered sites and small burial grounds. The cemetery now contains 1,241 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.
A Jewish officer's tombstone says
FAR FROM HOME, CLOSE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LOVED HIM.
The pebbles on top are left as a traditional sign of respect by visitors to his grave.
Written in Welsh.
And a little LEST WE FORGET cross.
The traditional red poppy on the cross and one stuck in the ground.
HIS DUTY DONE.
A trooper from New Zealand.
Someone added the Kiwi's photo.
An Australian from the famous Light Horse brigade.
A New Zealander from the Mounted Rifles.
The unidentified ones are the saddest.
AN AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR
KNOWN UNTO GOD
"In memory of a Ballarat boy. Trooper Thomas Bell was aged just 16 when he died of wounds received in the charge*.
All gave some, some gave all."
[* i.e. the mounted charge on the Turkish trenches, to liberate Beer Sheva.]
The tall white structure is the Cross of Sacrifice, standard for all Commonwealth War Cemeteries around the world.
The Visitors Book, with lots of information, in the wall near the always-open entrance gate.
In the background is Beer Sheva's new and wonderful ANZAC Memorial Centre.
More on that in a future blog post.
One of the dedicated and caring Arab gardening team planting more flowers.
Thank you, brave ANZAC soldiers, for turning the tide of World War I down here in the Negev desert that I now call home. Your memory will live on!