Friday, April 23, 2010

Women of the War & ANZAC Day

The Women of the War
This Sunday morning the alarm will be set for 3:30am. We will rise from bed, get dressed into the clothes we have prepared the night before and drive into the CBD for the sombre service commencing at 4:28am to commemorate the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli in 1915.

Now, this is not going to be a long factual account of WWI, but rather a touching look on women who served in WWII and what that means to me.

Two of my great grandfathers served on ‘our side’ in WWI, and I think another one may have been the enemy. Ironic! Both my maternal grandparents served in WWII. My grandfather all around the pacific in the Army (the photos are amazing) and my grandmother on the ground in Australia as a nurse in charge of shipping medical supplies overseas.

The women’s group in the Army were named Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAF’s for short). And some lost their lives too. US WAAFs served throughout Europe, in the pacific as well as China-Burma-India. Some were killed, some were wounded and some held in concentration camps. We rarely hear of this.

My grandmother was a WAAF and always talked fondly and proudly of her time doing her duty during the war. I am extremely proud of my her.

During WWII my grandparents met and fell in love. Well my grandfather fell in love while in the middle east and wrote to my grandmother often. My mum has these letters framed which he stuffed with flowers from the holy land to send back to her, just think that wouldn’t be allowed through customs now days!
My Grandmother Patricia Mary Black front and centre ~ taken during WWII in early 1940's

While my grandfather was longingly dreaming of getting home to date my grandmother, she spent her time working hard in the day to support the troops overseas and filling her dance card at night and having a fantastic time with friends she made for life. When the war ended they got engaged, married and as they say – the rest is history.

During WWI the ANZAC biscuit came about and until her death my grandmother would always make these for us.

The army biscuit, also known as an ANZAC wafer or ANZAC tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat as porridge. Eeewwwww. Thankfully this recipe was developed into what we have today, simple recipe as follows:

Anzac Biscuit
1 cup plain flour
I cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)

See HERE for method
So what ever you may do on Sunday 25th April, remember the men and women who served our country so proudly over the last hundred years.

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