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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918



This is our final number, and we make the announcement with the hope that our modest venture has served a useful purpose. The little magazine was conceived with the wish that it would provide recreation for the troops. But it has gone further than that. Generously supported by all ranks, both as contributors and subscribers, it has for ten months maintained an average sale of 13,000 copies. It has, with all its shortcomings, reflected the work and life and distinctive characters of the Australian and New Zealand fighting men. Our books show that it has been freely sent to all parts of the world: probably nine published copies out of ten have been posted overseas. Naturally, most of these have been sent to our friends in Australia and New Zealand; andsoithasserved, as nothing else has done, to make our struggles, and our cares, and the lighter side of our soldier-ljfe, familiar to those who waited and prayed at home. "The Kia Ora Coo-ee" ends because the war ends; and so we close down with a vast measure of satisfaction. If we have helped lonely troopers in Palestine to speed away a tedious hour, or if we have led those at home to a fuller understanding of the Palestine campaign and a deeper appreciation of the part played in it by Australians and New Zealanders, we are richly rewarded for our pleasant labours. We offer our thanks to our many contributors. That is all that need be said of our enterprise. In this farewell number it is fitting to try to assess the magnitude and importance of the work of Australian and New Zealand mounted troops in the long and gloriously successful struggle against the Turks. Of Gallipoli—where, as we see so clearly today, no man died in vain—little need be written here. The mounted troops, fighting on foot, took their fair share of knocks with the infantry. Coming back to Egypt, our horse and foot went separate ways. The infantry were for the Rhine; we had our goal at Aleppo. In this sense we had the easier field in which to win distinction: the infantry fought as a dimunitive force in a huge company of Allies; in Palestine and especially in the earlier fights of the campaign, we were in numbers almost, if not quite, the strongest Allied force in the field. All honour toour infantry, that right through the long years of the terrible swaying conflict in France, the splendid valour of their deeds has resounded through all the world. They were few, but in battle they were mighty. From the Canal to Aleppo—our strategic objective—the road stretched out over 600 miles, a harsh, stoutly defended track across sandy wastes and fertile plains and rugged mountains. It ran over a land which, of all lands, has the most moving and significant past, but which to-day offered little that was useful or comforting to the soldier. Our campaign has been waged in a country which, by comparison with Western Europe, is dead and desolate, a hungry country, whose people, although usually friendly and often diverting, offered no companionship or acceptable hospitality to men from civilised nations. Here for three years the Australians and New Zealanders gaily rode and greatly fought. Our main source of prideinthiscam-paign will always be that the mounted men from the two Pacific Dominions were, with slight exception, the one constant fighting force on the front. Others came and went, but our men battled right through. They were the first troops to venture in strength into the hazardous sandy region beyond the Canal. Bearing the brunt and gaining the honours at Romani, they changed the whole nature of the campaign. After that brilliant fight, the best Turkish effort perhaps in the whole war, the offensive passed from the enemy to us. That fine fervour of victory which inspired the Turk after Gallipoli—where he held us fair and square —vanished as we hunted him back towards El Arish, and never again showed in his fighting. The Light Horsemen, and the Mounted Riflemen from Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland, were the advanced guard up to Gaza. Magdhaba and Rafa fell to the Anzacs, fighting almost alone; and probing on across the desert, they pushed the Turk to the natural gate of Palestine between Gaza and Beersheeba. And when General Allenby moved, in October last year, to the battle which gave him the first of his two grand victories, it was our mounted men who led, and who by their dashing blow at Beersheeba, broke the Turkish defences and cleared the way for the royal sweep up the Philistine Plain. Afterwards, as the British Army grew, their relative part decreased. But they were seldom out of the van. They were the first mounted men into Jerusalem, the first troops through Jericho; they led across Jordan and through Es Salt and out to Amman. They were—after the bloody little fight at Semak—the first to drink at the Sea of Galilee, and galloping hard they headed the pack into Damascus. All the way they have been where the fighting was thickest. To a very remarkable extent, Turkey has been destroyed by Australia and New Zealand. There have been casualties enough: lonely sleepers in their graves mark the long line of the advance from Kantara out to Amman and away up beyond the Lebanons. But here, as on Gallipoli, no man's life was wasted, no blow was struck that did not draw blood in Berlin. That is perhaps the best thought we have in this hour of our splendid, widespread victory. And next best is the sure knowledge that, when our foes finally tottered and crashed, the fighting forces of Britain and her Dominions were still the most powerful on the Allied side. The British peoples all the world over have done their full share. It was a hard campaign, but not an unhappy one. Laughter sounded all the way. Our men will go home with the consciousness of a great task well done. And of those we leave behind be it said:

There dwelt men merry-hearted and in hope exceeding great,
Who took the good days with the evil as they went the way of fate.