The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Our Mail Bag
To the Editor of the "Kia-Ora Coo-ee."
I have perused with great interest your magazine, and I have found it very good reading with the exception of one article. On your last page, you have' an account of the return of the members of the first division. You will see that I do not use capital letters to denote this unit. You ask why? Well,.it is hardly the thing to use capitals on abstract things, and who can deny that this first division is anything but in the abstract. We have heard of it, fathers have told their children of the doings of this mythical division, and doubtless a new legendry will in future be sung by the poets. As an essay in. fiction, the article may be passed over, but I feel it my bounden duty to throw a little light on this matter.
Let me say, that I was present at the banquet given to welcome home our brave warriors, our heroes, who at great personal cost brought the war to a successful issue. As everybody knows, this feast was held in the great hall of the "Mars" building of the Commonwealth House, Tin-Can-Berra. Representatives of the great Powers were present, from France to Frisco, from Tri-chinopoli to Timbuctoo. All had their envoys, and such a scene of pageantry will never again be viewed in this country. The conquering heroes were enthroned on a dais, with the then Lieut. Governor of N.S.W., Earl Holman, facing the East. This was deemed n'ecessary, as the majority of our warniors had lived so long in foreign parts that the habit had grown on them; for years they had watched the sun rise, well knowing that it was the dawn of another day nearer to their return. With the aid of interpreters, many speeches were given, and although few of our men spoke our tongue, yet they un-derstood as by a sixth sense. The celebrations were at their height when the Ambassador of the United States rose and addressed the throng. "I have heard all your welcome speeches,"' he said, "but there is one thing I would like to put before you. You have toasted our absent comrades in all good faith, you have mentioned with, reverence your men who perished at Anzac, you have especially spoken of your dead, your gallant infantry, your artillery, all have had specific prayers; but where, tell me where, is that arm of the forces, the arm typical of this vast and spreading land, Australia? The word conjures a vision of a long, sinewy horseman, a rider of the plains, a man with whom to ride is to live. Yes, I ask you, where is the famous Light Horse? With these words, the gathering was stricken as dumb. No-one present had any knowledge of this Unit, though I believe one man found in an old pocket book a mention of this Light Horse. As it was to the effect that a Tpr. Jones had omitted to pay his hotel bill, no notice was taken of H. Sir William Hughes hastily summoned the Cabinet, and as a result of their deliberations, a cable was sent to the War Office enquiring as to the whereabouts of the Light Horse. The cable was received at the Imperial Office. The C. in C. thought awhile and then understanding dawned on him. "My God!" he said, "I've been and forgotten all about them. They'll still be out on the desert of Egypt; get the wires to work, and have them sent home at once."
This is my story, as I know it. It may perhaps; cause a few loving hearts 10 cease worrying as to where their boys may be. In all good time, I doubt not, these long lost men of our country will be sent back to us. I am in hope that a number of missionaries may be sent out to them before they are returned. It would be awful if they came home heathens. With this exception, Mr. Editor, I have to again state that your magazine is good reading, and with every good wish for its continuous success,