Erdogan has just opened the longest suspension bridge in the world from Canakkale to Gallipoli to replace the small car ferry. This will now put the WW1 battlefields alongside a major highway instead of being on a remote peninsula. Time marches on! The Turks have banned any Russian shipping passing through to the Black Sea thereby cutting off their southern sea access.
This map shows the bridge. The green on the peninsula is the 1915 battlefield and national park. The green on the the south of the entrance is Troy and where about 10,000 French died in a secondary action in 1915 (nearly as many as Anzacs) - who knows about that? Lemnos just on the left edge of the map is where all the casualties went (see ambulance photo above) and had the British HQ and logistics base.
33,000 British and Indian
2,800 New Zealand
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If you have not served you must get someone who has done a fair bit of time (usually more than 2 years NS) to read them. My wife and her family history mafia have dozens of records of relatives from the Crimean War through to the 1980's. I am astounded by the conclusions they reach by reading these records, no bloody idea. Abbreviations elude them completely and there is no ability to read between the lines to see the real story.
Lots of comments like "Uncle Jack must have been pretty good because he was promoted to sergeant 4 times" when the real story is Uncle Jack was a complete F.. Up who kept getting busted back to corporal. Another big thing for WW1 particularly is the large number of troops held back in England while getting treated for VD. Their medical records have all sorts of euphemisms in them to confuse the issue but the trained eye sees Uncle Jack having dabbled with Mademoiselle from Armentieres once too often. Lots of people question why it took up to a year for some blokes to get home after the war, well...... 15% of the entire AIF contracted VD - 22,000 blokes.
Of course boys will be boys but by WW2 Penicillin had arrived and by Vietnam anti-biotics. AIDS has probably caused a bit more discerning behaviour these days and only about 99% of the numbers previously dabbling are now being tempted!
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I did just that for my Grand Dad. Had trouble understanding some abbreviations used in the medical records. So took a copy once when we went to the Australian War Memorial and sat down with a volunteer to sort it out. Well lets just say that Grand Dad had a few girl friends over there during his service who shared some ailments with him and many others.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe
Working on more play time.
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VD is something the army has always taken seriously right from Roman times. Rampant infection depletes the force, loads up the medical resources and generally downgrades the efficiency of the whole army.
At the same time they are not stupid or budding Catholic Priest celibates (now there is an oxymoron) and realise life goes on. There have been attempts at various punishments, bans and declaration of self-inflicted-wounds (a death sentence at various times in history) but this never works. The more educated officers suffer lower rates of VD than the soldiers but this is because they can afford visits to higher class establishments with less throughput (pun intended) and better health checks.
As a result of the shocking numbers during WW1. armies all over the world started on education and preventative measures such as unlimited condom issues, officially medically checked approved soldiers "venues", official government brothels and even working ladies attached to major units on the government pay roll. At all times, even to this day they had to work around the wowsers in the community keeping these programmes low profile or even secret from the public badly hampering the full results required.
My father had an Italian car salesman, Charlie Chiarelli, working for him who was a great bloke with a good sense of humour. He was an Italian infantry officer captured in North Africa and sent to Australia as a prisoner of war. He charmed the pants off a farmer's daughter at Cobram where he had been sent to work, married her and never went home, becoming an Australian citizen.
When I was about 16 Charlie told me about the official prostitutes the Italian Army had. These girls were volunteers on the payroll (plus tips from the boys) not sex slaves such as the Japanese "comfort women". The problem for Charlie was like all armies you had to be on the roll allotted to a unit to get accommodation, food and pay. Even the Italians did not openly talk about the girls to the public for fear of upsetting a Pope who could see no reason why half a million young men could not go without sex for 4 years or casting doubt in the minds of the wives of married soldiers.
Newly arrived Second Lieutenant Charlie Chiarelli stood in front of his platoon on his first big battalion parade in Bardia (where he was captured). On this day the General had actually come down to have a look at his boys and stood in front beside the Colonel. Each platoon commander reported his strength in turn " Number One Platoon, 1 officer, 4 NCO's, 23 OR's on parade, 2 OR's in hospital Sir!" etc down the line.
Despite the presence of the General the entire battalion roared with laughter as innocent Charlie read from his roll book ' Number 4 Platoon, one officer, 4 NCOs, 27 OR's on parade, 12 prostitutes at work, Sir!"
Charlie said the Colonel called him over after the parade and started to rip him up as being a smart arse but when he realised Charlie was so clueless he started to laugh and sent Charlie on his way. His mates thought he was pretty game mentioning the girls on parade because everyone knew they "didn't exist" and they were never to be mentioned officially or in letters home .
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Right about the jargon and abbreviations Lang & Cobba.
Grandfather’s medical documents just read ‘GSW Chest’ as reason for return to Australia by hospital ship from France in WW1.
How many times would they have had to write ‘gun shot wounds’.
Dad told me from his scars he must have been almost cut in half by machine gun fire.
Lucky to be here!
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