Albany, November 1914
‘In no other port of the Commonwealth were the ships seen together… in the full magnificence of their numerical strength.’
The Advertiser, 21 Nov 1914
On 1st November 1914, Australian and New Zealand troops departed in convoy from King George Sound, Albany, initially bound for Europe. Germany’s invasion of Belgium precipitated decisive action from Britain with war being declared on 4th August, 1914. The conflict would become known as the Great War. Unreserved support from British colonies was offered with commitments of available men.
After several months training in Egypt and the Middle East, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at dawn on the beaches of Gallipoli,Turkey on 25th April 1915. Although troops from many different countries landed on the Peninsula, this was the site of the first major battles undertaken by Australia and New Zealand troops, those who would become known as our iconic ANZAC troops.
It was the courage, bravery and tenacity of our ANZAC troops at the landing that links Gallipoli with the birth of a national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand. The Gallipoli campaign continued for another eight months until evacuation in December, 1915. The Great War continued until the armistice was signed in 1918. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November 1918, peace was declared, a day we now commemorate as Remembrance or Armistice Day.
The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to Australians. The First World War left an enduring legacy, helping to define us as a people and a nation. The Federation of Australia was only seventeen years old when the war ended in 1918 and a national identity began to emerge which reflected upon the sacrifice and service of Australian and New Zealand armed service men and women.
During the Anzac Centenary, Australia and New Zealand will remember not only the original Anzacs who served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian service men and women.
‘We envied those units whose troopships occupied positions near to the wharf and who were enabled to carry out short route marches on shore’
Lt Leslie Newton, 12th Infantry Battalion, Oct 1914
‘The cheering and counter-cheering, the Maori war cries and answering cooees would have moved a stoic.’
New Zealand War Historian Fred Waite, 28 Oct 1914
The first convoy departed on 1 November, and the second on 31 December.