Britain accused of “whitewashing” ANZAC role in First World War

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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Anzac troops on the beach at Gallipoli, 1915. ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY

 

The contribution and sacrifices of New Zealand and Australia in the First World War has been overlooked in Britain’s official century anniversary commemorations, according to a News Limited report published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

The omission is the result of a “PC push”, reads the introduction above the report, penned by Charles Miranda.

He writes:

News Corp Australia has learned [that] in a blatant politicising of the anniversary, Whitehall officials in London have been briefed to push the efforts by the so-called “New Commonwealth” nations in a bid to win political and economic favour in multicultural Britain.

The move comes amid a heated social and political row in Britain over immigration numbers with the issue likely to determine the outcome of federal elections in Britain next year.

British government sources have confirmed internal briefings on WWI commemorations have not mentioned Australia or New Zealand once, instead staff from departments and cabinet offices have been briefed to concentrate on other British Empire contributions by soldiers from countries such as Nigeria and other dominions in West Africa, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A “government insider” is quoted as saying:

It’s basically to remind Britons the First World War wasn’t just soldiers from here fighting in France and Belgium but involved people from Lagos, Kingston and the Punjab … There has been no mention of old Commonwealth Allies like Australia or New Zealand but more interest in celebrating the role from New Commonwealth countries. I think it’s fair to say Commonwealth ties are being frayed a little on this one.

The report also quotes New Zealand born British author Murray Rowlands:

There is nothing in David Cameron’s programme of commemoration that mentions these countries …

The British pretty much lost the war in July 1918, they were in retreat and it was the Australians and New Zealanders who got put into the gap … they were the ones that held up the Germans in places like Hamel [Somme, northern France], with the Americans too but basically the well-trained Australians, pretty battle hardened by then, who stopped the Germans.

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