I wrote the following fictional letter for a guerrilla publishing campaign but I missed the deadline so instead I am releasing it here. I have written the letter in the voice of an Australian nurse serving on the Western Front as the Armistice takes effect on 11 November 1918.
The basic facts are true, and based on my research into an Australian soldier who died on 25 April 1915. The thoughts and impressions expressed in the letter are 100 percent an invention of my imagination, and in no way reflect the memories of any person alive or dead.
ANZAC Day is next Saturday, and as the 100th Anniversary of that murderous day approaches the feeding frenzy is sickening. On one side is a parade of sanctioned and tawdry marketing campaigns using the anniversary to further their business success. On the other side is a cadre of journalists, historians and citizens shouting at business and the Government to stop using the memory of ANZAC as a marketing brand for commercial and political success.
So for just one moment, step back and consider this simple question:
Who will you remember on ANZAC Day?
For some families the answer is simple, a great grandfather, uncle or a distant relative in their family tree who served during the Great War. But many Australians, like me, have no direct link to the soldiers, airman and sailors of the First World War. So did a little research and decided I would pause to remember a soldier who originated from the Hunter region.
On ANZAC Day I will remember Port Stephens soldier, Private George Alfred Rush 1045, 9th Battalion AIF. George Rush landed at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and was last seen in the firing line at 2pm and is listed as killed in action later that day. He has no known grave. His brother Cecil landed the same day, and was wounded but survived the war being wounded on three subsequent occasions and awarded the Croix de Guerre for his service. Their sister, Edith, enlisted on 26 April 1915 and served as a nurse throughout the war.
Find a name on your local Shrine of Remembrance or search the National Archives for a soldier or nurse who hailed from your town or suburb, and pause for a minute on ANZAC Day to remember him or her.