Monday, April 25, 2005

Commonwealth War Graves

Commonwealth War Graves

I doubt if there could be a better place to have Anzac Day that a Commonwealth Cemetery surrounded by those who died. I took a photograph of the laying of the weaths, with far too little light and the flash turned off. The soldiers of the MFO who were laying the wreaths looked like ethereal ghosts on the picture, drifting like smoke. I was about to delete the image, but realised that it summed up the feeling of the morning, with the dead all around and among us.

Ghost soldiers

"They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them or the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

These words fell softly into the air, raising the hair on the back of my neck and putting a lump in my throat.

With the dawn came the braying of a donkey, a twittering bird's chorus from the trees all around us, and a far off rooster calling to his harem, and a far off mosque. It was easy to realise that not much has really changed since the war in some parts of Egypt.

The Catafalque Party Before Dawn
The Catafalque Party Before Dawn
In the old Cairo Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Laying of wreaths
Laying of wreaths

Attending the Service
Attending the Service

The Last Post
The Last Post

The MFO in Egypt
The MFO in Egypt

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny

Thanks for the ANZAC service photos. I know the ANZAC services always bring a lump to my throat (and the odd tear to my eyes as well). We will remember them.

Ros in Wellington, NZ
Lest we forget

7:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jenny. My grandfather fought in Egypt (thankfully he came home) your description made it real for me.
Mary-anne
Dead Dog Gully

5:48 am  
Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

Hi Jenny,
I find that as each year passes I become more and more emotional on ANZAC day but I also think that the comradeship between the Turks and the ANZACs deepens. Here they were for nearly 9 months and only a matter of metres apart exchanging cigarettes, chocolates, bully beef etc. Just proves how futile war can be.
Regards Helen

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jenny for the ANZAC photos, my father was badly injured in Egypt but always had a high regard for the country and its people.He went back twice in the sixties before he became too frail.Regards Chrisine from Bathurst

6:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny

It looks SO beautiful: thank you for doing this. We watched the ceremonies on BBC World Service and thought of you both.

Love Tena & Himself

10:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thank you Jenny, similar to Mary-anne of Dead Dog Gully. I attended my first dawn service this year, came home and started surfing for information about my grandfather's service history. I recall mentions of Egypt and I know he was in 13th Regiment so the link to Robert's attendance at Tobruk was much appreciated. I have sent a link to my GF (84yo and wanting to learn about the internet) It is only in the last couple of years that he has become more comfortable talking about his years of service in both Army and RAAF in the 40's.
Thanks for the very moving images you shared with us.
Emma B
Endeavour Hills

11:13 am  

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