Today we salute ANZAC troops of all wars and conflicts.
As our card tells us, the ANZAC acronym actually stands for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. What it does not say is that this was the second version of the acronym, as originally the combined forces from across the antipodes was to be called the AAC, or Australasian Army Corps. This was abandoned when the Australian and New Zealand forces decided they would rather keep their separate identities.
The ANZACs entered the First World War early and soldiers were in Egypt by late 1914. Their best known action, even today, is the Gallipoli Campaign in present day Turkey. It is from this that we see them on Ardath “Great War Series” (A745-060 : A72-3 ~ issued in 1916), three series each of fifty cards issued in New Zealand, lettered series A, B and C. Do note that the title on the reverse of the cards says they are “War Pictures”, and this title is sometimes used by collectors and dealers. The text tells us that “On receipt of the complete series . . . [sent to Dunedin] . . . the company will send, free of cost, a handsome volume of “Pillars of Empire” containing 12 beautifully etched sepia prints 11 ins by 7 ¾ ins, with character studies of the portrait studies by Mr. E Brett Young.”
Another set worth looking out for is Wills “War Incidents” (W675-384 : W62-251 : W/113). There are two sets of these, a first and second series each of fifty cards, the backs telling the story of the incident shown on the front. We must add that not all the cards are ANZAC related.. They were originally issued in April and August 1915, the first series having brown backs and the second green, but have since been reproduced commercially. The interesting thing is that the reprints tell the story of the making of the original set, how the cards were “… illustrated by in-house artists who worked from sketches made at the front line by official war artists” and how “many of the illustrations depict incidents that were, and indeed are, still little known to the majority within the United Kingdom.”
The Wills cards were originally issued with Havelock and Specialities brands of cigarettes, and there are two versions of the header box on the reverse, one being an oval and the other two rectangles joined at the top which can actually be collected on two different types of card, a white one and a cream one. The same cards were also issued with Wills` Scissors brand in India, with red backs showing a packet above the description, and as an unbranded version with an oval header box which was issued overseas in other areas. Another unbranded version with two fern shapes below the rectangular header box exists, it is thought to be by Wills, though a similar series was issued by British American Tobacco with their Teal brand in India, Malaya and Siam.
Two of the hundred cards in the second series of John Player “Army, Corps and Divisional Signs” (P644-134 : P72-63 : P/13 ~ issued February 1925) also has relevance to our story. The first is card 126, and it shows the golden A emblem which “…denoted that the wearer of the badge had served either on Gallipoli or Lemnos, Imbros, and Tenedos, in the A.I.F. Lines of Communication from Egypt, or on board the hospital ships and transports in the Gallipoli Campaign.”
The other is card 138 which shows the patches of the ANZAC Mounted Division which consisted of the 1st and 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigades and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, units which started in Gallipoli and then served throughout the Palestine Campaign as part of the Desert Column and afterwards with the Desert Mounted Corps.
Another card relevant to the campaign is W.D. & H.O. Wills “Allied Army Leaders” (W675-092 : W62-61 W/35 ~ issued March 1917) 13/50 which shows Lt. General Sir W.R. Birdwood K.C.S.I. who commanded the ANZACs in Egypt and in Gallipoli with great distinction, becoming known as “the soul of ANZAC”. He can also be seen on Ardath “War Pictures”, Series B No.3, which shows him and Lord Kitchener. This set has the wording “Passed by the Press Bureau”, a kind of censorship, but you can find different dates of that passing, these being 30-11-16, 28-12-16, or 7-3-17, and you can also find these dates with dots ie. 30.11.16, though they are rarer and some numbers have yet to be found. Will try to find out what these are and list them so you can have a hunt. You will also find that cards change as the leader shown moves up the ranks, and that there are text changes. We will try to find those as well. There is also the curious case of the comma in the Imperial Tobacco Company clause to the reverse – it will either say “(…& Ireland), Ltd.” or “(…& Ireland), Ltd.”
To close, for now, there is an unusual one in Churchman`s “Warriors of All Nations” (C504-675 : C82-86 : C/144-146). Now curiously this does not mention the word ANZAC and instead calls the soldier “The “Aussie” (Australia)”. Churchman issued this set in three versions at different times. First came a set of 12 medium sized cards (C/145) where our man is 1/12; this was issued in November 1929. The following month a standard size of 25 cards was issued, (C/144) presumably the first twelve were the same, but I will check. And in May 1931 a second series of 12 medium cards were issued (C/146). I do not know who the poor chap was who was excised when the set of 25 became two sets of 12. Maybe you could tell me?
The cards were printed by Mardon, Son and Hall, and the standard sized set was also issued anonymously by British American Tobacco, in two printings, one with crossed swords to the base and one with a gilt panel saying “High Class Cigarettes”
The medium sized card tells us that “In Australia the Defence Acts ensure that all male citizens are liable to be trained in the use of arms. A boy is trained as a cadet and then passes on to become a fully fledged soldier, finally going in to the Reserve, This has been curtailed owing to financial considerations. The training is similar to the British Territorial. In the Great War the “Aussies” fought magnificently, on Gallipoli, in the Near East, and in France and Flanders. 329,883 men went overseas; of these 59,342 made the Great Sacrifice, and a further 166,819 became casualties from wounds or gas. In addition 87,957 were admitted to hospital sick.”
And that seems a fitting place to close for today on this Day of Remembrance.
However, do note that these A-Z posts are there to be added continually to, by me, and by you, with pictures, and with text, and with memories….
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