ANZAC Day – We will remember them. These 4 simple words have a special meaning in Australia and New Zealand. ANZAC Day is a time many of us recognise individuals and the sacrifices they made to ensure our freedom to live a life without fear and persecution from others.
I remember my father would not talk about the Second World War when I was a child. Now that I am older and have seen the consequences of wars that appear daily on the news I can understand why you would not want to share these burdens with a child.
Medals Came Out on ANZAC Day
Occasionally he would let us handle his medals after he had them out for the ANZAC day parade. To a child I thought they were very special however I always felt they held a secret of terrible anguish and pain for him by the way he acted when they were out.
When my brother and I asked him what each different medal was awarded for the replies we received would have no depth of explanation at all as he attempted to quietly brush away our questions. We had no comprehension of what we were asking him. Statements like medals being handed out to everyone that goes to war and there was nothing special about him or you got them for going to different places regardless of the circumstances of your service.
My child-like innocent views thought how interesting to see places like Egypt, Italy and the other places he travelled, not considering the dangers, cold winters and brutality that he would have felt and seen. I know I thought that if the war was in lots of places you would get to travel through more countries seeing the towns and country side. Perhaps my love of travel was born in the warped idea that WW2 allowed my father to see more of the world. Clearly the mind of a five year old did not fully understand the consequences of war.
He said he was in the engineers. I developed my own understanding of what this meant. I believed they went ahead to prepare the way for the troops. I imagined they advanced into areas before the fighting troops on each side arrived for battle. I believed that it was safe and peaceful while they build bridges in advance of any fighting. Or they followed up, after the fighting had finished and moved onto another place, to do maintenance on the damaged and broken tanks left behind.
As my father avoided any opportunity to share his memories and dismissed us off to play it is easy to see how I moulded the few scraps of censored information we got into unrealistic view of my fathers time at war.
Now I am glad he did not give a detailed account of what he saw at war.
I would also like to recognise my fathers uncle Francis Kitto who died in World War 1 of influenza on 25 November 1918, aged 37. He is buried in Tidworth Military Cemetery, Tidworth, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. Although born in New Zealand he fought for the Australian Flying Corps, Australian Army. Our family has both Australian and New Zealand servicemen to remember.
This is the first year I have participated in the ANZAC Day Blog Challenge by Kintalk the Family History blog for the Auckland Library. I originally found about about the challenge at Gould Genealogy & History News.
This blog is the 25 April segment of the Family History Category which is all about events in my ancestors lives on a particular date. Persons discussed in this blog are Ernest Eric Scott Kitto (1917-2000) who regularly attended services or dawn parades on ANZAC Day and Francis Kitto (1881-1918).