Wednesday, 17 September 2014

14 September 1914 - The AE1 lost at sea

100 years ago the Australian submarine AE1 set out on a patrol from the port of Rabaul, New Britain, on the 14th of September 1914. She was due to return that afternoon but did not show up. At 8pm search vessels were sent out, but no sign was ever found.
Possibly the AE1 suffered the same disastrous mishap that the AE2 was to endure before it was lost in the Sea of Marmara in April 1915.

The AE1 was lost with a compliment of 35 men aboard, including the captain, and was the most severe loss Australia had suffered in the war up to that time.

The AE1's sister ship, the AE2, was to play a major role in the landings at Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915.

To read more detail:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 September 1914 - The Battle of Bita Paka

One hundred years ago Australian troops were engaged in their first land action against a German force in the Great War. It occurred on the island of New Britain and became known as the Battle of Bita Paka.

  Sailors and soldiers of the AN&MEF (Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force) landed near Rabaul to capture the German wireless stations near there. Initially they met no resistance, but as they advanced inland the German force of local Melanesian natives led by German officers attempted to ambush them. The ambush was foiled and the German force defeated.
  After requesting reinforcements the Australians continued on, along the way they fought a couple of brief battles in which the first fatalities from direct enemy action occurred.

  Able Seaman Bill Williams was mortally wounded and stranded in a forward position so the medical officer, Captain Brian Pockley, went to bring him in. Pockley was then shot by a sniper. Both men were evacuated back to the naval ships but later died of their wounds.

  After advancing further and encountering more opposition in the form of snipers, a large pipe mine and a large enemy trench, which was captured at bayonet point after a charge, the Australian force cleared the area and took possession of the wireless mast they found and capturing all the enemy opposition.

This first battle by Australian troops was a complete success, but almost completely forgotten nowadays.

To read a detailed account go to this web page:

Friday, 5 September 2014

History repeating itself?

One hundred years ago, our governments were sending troops off to war with the ideal that they should stop large nations (Germany and Austria - Hungary) bullying and taking over smaller nations (Serbia and Belgium). Australia and New Zealand, in the antipodes, did not hesitate to get involved in the conflict and promised troops and ships immediately.
Today 100 years later the big bully (Russia) is intimidating and threatening to take part/all of a smaller country (Ukraine). Not much has changed, even the relative locality of the conflict is in the same region.
This time Australia and other nations imposed sanctions on Russia. Businesses are moaning because they are losing profits, and people are asking "Should we get involved in a war so far away?"
Well - Should we help a country in trouble on the other side of the world?
Inadvertently we became involved, along with the Netherlands, when the Russian equipped separatists shot down the Malaysian airliner recently.
The Great War started close to this region 100 years ago. Ukraine (Blue and yellow).
The terrorist force invading Iraq (Red). The countries nearby must be nervous.

On another front - the scourge of a terrorist force have invaded Iraq from Syria. The Iraq government asked the USA for assistance to stop the advance. Australia was asked to assist and has done so. Australians are beginning to cry about supplying tucker to the Iraqie refugees besieged by cowardly murderers, and supplying Iraqie weapons to Kurds who are actually fighting the despicable cowards. The leader of our Green Party appeared on TV criticising the government for aiding Iraq. Can you believe that? They are the first ones to complain about human rights abuses, yet they can't put politics aside to support the government as it helps another. Incredible! To the credit of the opposition Party they have backed the government.
The people around the world criticised the Yanks for not helping soon enough. Now after becoming involved they are again being criticised for helping Iraq by targeting said terrorists with air strikes. It appears they are damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
It's a shame people can't support their government's decisions when they are helping a beleaguered neighbour, especially when the oppressors are so obviously doing the wrong thing.

Many people are concerned about refugees in Australia at the moment. If these bully forces continue to operate without opposition, there will be many more unfortunate people knocking on our doors. Refugees are not happy to leave their homelands unless they are forced out by threatened violence and hardships. We should do what we can to ensure the innocent victims can stay in their own homes safely, without fear.
I hope we never have another terrible conflict like we were involved in 100 years ago, and the best way to prevent it happening again is to nip it in the bud as soon as it develops. When something is so obviously wrong nations need to act quickly as a community to stop it becoming too big a problem.

To prevent what occurred 100 years ago happening again today, nations should quickly combine to let the bullies know that they can't just run amok doing whatever they want.

This is not a political statement, but rather a highlight that similar problems exist today just as they did 100 years ago.