Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was a First World War army corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. It was formed in Egypt in December 1914, and operated during the Battle of Gallipoli. General William Birdwood commanded the corps, which comprised troops from the First Australian Imperial Force and 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The corps disbanded in 1916, following the Allied evacuation of the Gallipoli peninsula and the formation of I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps. The Corps was reestablished, briefly, in the Second World War during the Battle of Greece in 1941.

Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
Anzac Cove encampment 1915
New Zealand soldiers' encampment at ANZAC Cove in 1915
Active1914–16
Countries
BranchArmy
TypeAdministrative Corps
Part ofMediterranean Expeditionary Force
Nickname(s)ANZAC
AnniversariesAnzac Day
EngagementsFirst World War
Second World War
Vietnam War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
William Birdwood

Original formation

Coloured illustration of Anzac troops after the fighting at Gallipoli during World War I (1)
Popular illustration of Anzac troops after the fighting at Gallipoli

Plans for the formation began in November 1914 while the first contingent of Australian and New Zealand troops were still in convoy bound for, as they thought, Europe. However, following the experiences of the Canadian Expeditionary Force encamped on Salisbury Plain, it was decided not to subject the Australians and New Zealanders to the English winter, and so they were diverted to Egypt for training before moving on to the Western Front in France.[1] The British Secretary of State for War, Horatio Kitchener, appointed General William Birdwood, an officer of the British Indian Army, to the command of the corps and he furnished most of the corps staff from the Indian Army as well. Birdwood arrived in Cairo on 21 December 1914 to assume command of the corps.

It was originally intended to name the corps the Australasian Army Corps, this title being used in the unit diary in line with the common practice of the time which often saw New Zealanders and Australians compete together as Australasia in sporting events.[2] However, complaints from New Zealand recruits led to adoption of the name Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The administration clerks found the title too cumbersome so quickly adopted the abbreviation A. & N.Z.A.C. or simply ANZAC.[2] Shortly afterwards it was officially adopted as the codename for the corps, but it did not enter common usage amongst the troops until after the Gallipoli landings.

At the outset, the corps comprised two divisions; the Australian Division, composed of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Australian Infantry Brigades and the New Zealand and Australian Division, composed of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Australian 1st Light Horse Brigade and 4th Australian Infantry Brigade.[3] The 2nd and 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigades were assigned as corps level troops, belonging to neither division.[3]

Despite being synonymous with Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC was a multi-national body: in addition to the many British officers in the corps and division staffs, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps contained, at various points, the 7th Brigade of the Indian Mountain Artillery, Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps troops, the Zion Mule Corps, four battalions from the Royal Naval Division, the British 13th (Western) Division, one brigade of the British 10th (Irish) Division and the 29th Indian Brigade.

Later formations

World War I

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, the Australian and New Zealand units reassembled in Egypt. The New Zealand contingent expanded to form their own division; the New Zealand Division. The First Australian Imperial Force underwent a major reorganisation resulting in the formation of two new divisions; the 4th and 5th divisions. (The Australian 3rd Division was forming in Australia and would be sent directly to England and then to France.) These divisions were reformed into two corps; I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps.[4] I ANZAC Corps, under the command of General Birdwood, departed for France in early 1916. II ANZAC Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Alexander Godley, followed soon after.

In January 1916, the 4th (ANZAC) Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps with Australian and New Zealand troops was formed, the 1st and 3rd battalions were Australian and the 2nd Battalion British.[5] Then in March 1916, the ANZAC Mounted Division with three Australian and one New Zealand brigade, was formed for service in Egypt and Palestine.[4] There was also the 1st (ANZAC) Wireless Signal Squadron, which served with the British expeditionary force in Mesopotamia in 1916–17.[4]

In early 1916 the Australian and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand governments sought the creation of an Australian and New Zealand Army which would have included the New Zealand Division and all of the Australian infantry divisions, but this did not occur.

World War II

Monument in Sfakia commemorating the evacuation of British and ANZAC forces from Crete in late May 1941.

Chora Sfakion 1941 evacuation monument
Chora Sfakion 1941 evacuation commemorative plaque

During World War II, the Australian I Corps HQ moved to Greece in April 1941. As the corps also controlled the New Zealand 2nd Division (along with Greek and British formations), it was officially renamed ANZAC Corps in April.[4][6] The Battle of Greece was over in weeks and the corps HQ left Greece on 23–24 April, with the name ANZAC Corps no longer being used.[7]

Some troops evacuated to Alexandria, but the majority were sent to Crete to reinforce its garrison against an expected air and sea German invasion. Australians and New Zealanders were respectively deployed around the cities of Rethymno and Chania in western Crete with a smaller Australian force being positioned in Heraklion. The invasion began the morning of 20 May and, after the fierce Battle of Crete, which lasted ten days, Crete fell to the Germans. Most of the defenders of Chania withdrew across the island to the south coast and were evacuated by the Royal Navy from Sfakia. Many others evaded capture for several months, hiding in the mountains with generous assistance from the local Cretan population.[8]

Other conflicts

During the Vietnam War, two companies from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment were integrated into Royal Australian Regiment battalions. These integrated battalions had the suffix (ANZAC) added to their name (for example, 4 RAR became the 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion).[4] An ANZAC battalion served as one of the infantry battalions of the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) from early March 1968 until its withdrawal in December 1971. Due to the rotation of forces there were a total of five combined battalions of this period.[9]

The ANZAC Battle Group was the official designation of Australian and New Zealand units deployed to Timor Leste as part of Operation Astute. The battle group was established in September 2006.[10]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Beckett, Ian (2012). The Making of the First World War. Yale University Press.
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Leon (2005). Scarecrow Army: The Anzacs at Gallipoli. Black Dog Books. p. 24.
  3. ^ a b Davidson, Leon (2005). Scarecrow Army: The Anzacs at Gallipoli. Black Dog Books. p. 25.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The ANZAC Acronym". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Imperial Camel Corps". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  6. ^ Ewer, Peter (2008). Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941, Scribe Publications Pty Ltd, ISBN 1921215291.
  7. ^ D.M. Horner. "Blamey, Sir Thomas Albert (1884–1951)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, pp 196–201.
  8. ^ Crete, Kreta: the battles of May 1941 "Australian War Memorial".
  9. ^ McGibbon 2010, p. 550.
  10. ^ "ANZAC Battle Group". 24 August 2009.

References

  • McGibbon, Ian (2010). New Zealand's Vietnam War: A History of Combat, Commitment and Controversy. Auckland: Exisle. ISBN 0908988966.
  • Anzac Day Act 1995

Further reading

External links

2nd Light Horse Brigade

The 2nd Light Horse Brigade was a mounted infantry brigade of the First Australian Imperial Force which served in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. The brigade first saw action while serving in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during the Dardanelles Campaign in the Battle of Gallipoli. After being withdrawn to Egypt in February 1916 they served in the ANZAC Mounted Division from March 1916 as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign until the end of the war.

3rd Light Horse Brigade

The 3rd Light Horse Brigade was a mounted infantry brigade of the First Australian Imperial Force which served in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I.

The brigade first saw action during the Dardanelles Campaign in the Battle of Gallipoli where they were noted for their charge during the Battle of the Nek. After being withdrawn to Egypt in February 1916 they were involved in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign until the end of the war. They were attached to a number of different formations being part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915, the Anzac Mounted Division in March 1916 and the Australian Mounted Division in June 1917 who they remained with until the end of the war.

ANZAC Cove

Anzac Cove (Turkish: Anzak Koyu) is a small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. It became famous as the site of World War I landing of the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on 25 April 1915. The cove is 600 metres (2,000 ft) long, bounded by the headlands of Arıburnu to the north and Little Arıburnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south. Following the landing at Anzac Cove, the beach became the main base for the Australian and New Zealand troops for the eight months of the Gallipoli campaign.

Anzac Highway, Adelaide

The Anzac Highway is an 8.7-kilometre-long (5.4 mi) main arterial road heading southwest from the city of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, to the beachside suburb of Glenelg.Originally the Bay Road (which remains an informal synonym), it mostly follows the track made by the pioneer James Chambers from Holdfast Bay, the first governor's landing site, to Adelaide. It gained its current name in 1923 to honour the contribution of the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in World War I.

The highway is serviced by a 15-minute Go Zone, serviced by the 262, 263 and 265 buses.

Anzac Parade, Canberra

Anzac Parade, a significant road and thoroughfare in the Australian capital Canberra, is used for ceremonial occasions and is the site of many major military memorials.

Named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) of World War I, Anzac Parade joins Gallipoli Reach of Lake Burley Griffin in the south and the Australian War Memorial to the north. As the main axis between Parliament House and Mount Ainslie, it bisects Constitution Avenue, which forms one side of the Parliamentary Triangle between Civic and Russell Hill.

The Parade is flanked by Victorian blue gum eucalyptus trees on gently sloping banks either side of the three-lane, one-way roads centred by a wide parade ground topped with granulated rock (similar to scoria), with planted boxes of a low bush called Hebe. The eucalypts are Australian; and the hebe comes from New Zealand. The Parade is also flanked by the streets of Anzac Park West and Anzac Park East on either side of Anzac Park.

On Anzac Day (25 April) and other ceremonial occasions, the Parade and adjoining streets may be blocked off to provide a parade route for formed groups of armed services personnel and veterans to proceed either along the central parade ground or the flanking roads. Removable concrete kerbs to facilitate marching along the central parade route are at the cross streets of Parkes Way, Constitution Avenue, Currong Street/Blamey Crescent, and Limestone Avenue/Fairbairn Avenue.

Anzac biscuit

The Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit, popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter (or margarine), golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water, and (optionally) desiccated coconut. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.

The biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Today, Anzac biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale.

Anzac biscuits should not be confused with hardtack, which was nicknamed "ANZAC wafers" in Australia and New Zealand.

Gallipoli (2005 film)

Gallipoli (Turkish title Gelibolu) is a 2005 film by Turkish filmmaker Tolga Örnek. It is a documentary about the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, narrated by both sides, the Turks on one side and the British soldiers and Anzacs (soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on the other side.

HMAS Anzac

Three ships of the Royal Australian Navy have been named HMAS Anzac, after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

HMAS Anzac (1917), a Parker-class destroyer leader commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Anzac and presented to the Australian Government in 1919. The ship was paid off in 1931, and sunk as a target four years later.

HMAS Anzac (D59), a Battle-class destroyer commissioned in 1951. The ship was paid off in 1974, and sold for scrap.

HMAS Anzac (FFH 150), the lead ship of the Anzac-class of frigates. The frigate was commissioned in 1996, and is active as of 2016.

HMS Anzac

Two ships of the Royal Navy has borne the name HMS Anzac, after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Another was planned but never completed:

HMS Anzac, a trawler hired by the Admiralty in 1916 to serve as an auxiliary minesweeper. She was renamed HMS Anzac II in 1917, and remained in service until 1919

HMS Anzac (1917) was a Parker-class flotilla leader launched in 1917, transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in 1919 as HMAS Anzac and sold in 1935.

HMS Anzac was to have been an Amphion-class submarine, cancelled in 1945.

Helles Memorial

The Helles Memorial is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission war memorial near Sedd el Bahr, in Turkey, on the headland at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula overlooking the Dardanelles. It includes an obelisk which is over 30 metres (98 ft) high.

The memorial is the main Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli Campaign, and also commemorates the 20,956 Commonwealth servicemen with no known grave who died in the campaign from 1915-1916, during the First World War.

The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, with main landings at Cape Helles and Suvla Bay, and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps fought mainly at ANZAC Cove. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters.

Other Commonwealth memorials to missing servicemen from the Gallipoli campaign include the Lone Pine Memorial, Hill 60 Memorial, Chunuk Bair Memorial, and Twelve Tree Copse Memorial. Naval casualties who were buried at sea are also commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Plymouth Naval Memorial and Chatham Naval Memorial in the UK.

French casualties are commemorated at the Morto Bay French Cemetery. The main Turkish memorial is the Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial.

II ANZAC Corps

The II ANZAC Corps (Second Anzac Corps) was an Australian and New Zealand First World War army corps formed in Egypt in February 1916 as part of the reorganization of the Australian Imperial Force following the evacuation of Gallipoli in November 1915, under the command of William Birdwood. This corps, along with the I ANZAC Corps, replaced the original Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).General Alexander Godley, commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, assumed command of the corps after the I Anzac Corps embarked for France in late March, 1916. The corps initially comprised the two "new" Australian divisions—the Australian 4th and 5th divisions—that had been spawned from the "veteran" 1st and 2nd divisions.

In July 1916, following the arrival of II Anzac in France, the Australian 4th Division was swapped for the New Zealand Division from I Anzac, and II Anzac took over a sector of front-line near Armentières. In mid-July, II Anzac lent the 5th Division to the British XI Corps for a diversionary operation that became known as the Battle of Fromelles.In the June 1917 Battle of Messines, prelude to the Third Battle of Ypres, II Anzac was the southernmost of three British divisions to attack the Messines ridge. At this time II Anzac contained the New Zealand Division, the Australian 3rd Division and the British 25th Division. The Australian 4th Division was also attached to the corps as reinforcements and was to mount a follow-up attack after the assault by the other three divisions.Upon the formation of the Australian Corps in December 1917, which contained all five Australian divisions, II Anzac was reformed as the British XXII Corps.

I ANZAC Corps

The I ANZAC Corps (First Anzac Corps) was a combined Australian and New Zealand army corps that served during World War I.

It was formed in Egypt in February 1916 as part of the reorganisation and expansion of the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) following the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915. Along with the II ANZAC Corps, it replaced the original Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The corps initially participated in the defence of the Suez Canal before being transferred to the Western Front in France and Belgium in late March 1916. Later in 1916 the New Zealand Division was removed from I ANZAC's order of battle, swapping with II ANZAC's Australian 4th Division.

In November 1917, I ANZAC ceased to exist when the Australian infantry divisions in France were grouped together as the Australian Corps and the New Zealand Division, then part of II ANZAC Corps, was allocated to a British corps.

Mediterranean Expeditionary Force

The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) was part of the British Army during World War I, that commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. This included the initial naval operation to force the straits of the Dardanelles. Its headquarters was formed in March 1915. The MEF was originally commanded by General Sir Ian Hamilton until he was dismissed due to the failure of the 29th Division at Gallipoli. Command briefly passed to General William Birdwood, commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, but for the duration of the Gallipoli campaign it was General Sir Charles Monro who led the MEF.

While the Gallipoli theatre was the only active Mediterranean theatre, the MEF was used to refer to the forces at Gallipoli. With the opening of the Salonika front in October 1915, the forces at Gallipoli were referred to as the Dardanelles Army and the Salonika contingent became the Salonika Army on the Macedonian front (World War I).

Once Salonika became the sole Mediterranean theatre the MEF was commanded by General Archibald Murray who was based in Egypt and whose command also involved defence of the Suez Canal from Turkish attacks. As the importance of the Sinai front grew, a separate headquarters called the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was formed (in March 1916).

Supposedly when the British Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, was preparing the Mediterranean expedition he intended to name the headquarters the Constantinople Expeditionary Force but Hamilton suggested this might be a bit of a giveaway, and also noted in his diary, "I begged him to alter this to avert Fate's evil eye."

Parker-class flotilla leader

The Parker-class leaders or improved Marksman-class leaders were a class of six destroyer leaders built for the Royal Navy during 1916-17 for World War I service. They were named after famed historical naval leaders, except for Anzac, which was named to honour the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and was later transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. They were the last major Royal Navy warships to be ordered with three propeller shafts, a design that was never widely adopted in British warships.

Roy Longmore

Roy Longmore (29 April 1894 – 21 June 2001) was an Australian soldier and centenarian, who along with Alec Campbell was noted as the last living Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) veteran who saw service in World War I.

Shrine of Remembrance, Brisbane

The Shrine of Remembrance is located in ANZAC Square, between Ann Street and Adelaide Street, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. With its 'Eternal Flame', the Shrine is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs).

The Shrine of Remembrance is a major Brisbane landmark of cultural, architectural and historic importance and is a key component of the Queensland Heritage listed square and annually hosts ceremonies for ANZAC Day and Armistice Day (now referred to as Remembrance Day). A service marking Singapore Day (The Fall of Singapore, 15 February 1942) is held annually on the closest Sunday to the 15th, in remembrance of the losses of the 8th Division during World War 2.

Walter Parker (Australian soldier)

Walter Parker (11 August 1894 – 22 January 2000) was an Australian soldier and a veteran of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in World War I.

William Birdwood

Field Marshal William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood, (13 September 1865 – 17 May 1951) was a British Army officer. He saw active service in the Second Boer War on the staff of Lord Kitchener. He saw action again in the First World War as Commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, leading the landings on the peninsula and then the evacuation later in the year, before becoming commander-in-chief of the Fifth Army on the Western Front during the closing stages of the war. He went on to be general officer commanding the Northern Army in India in 1920 and Commander-in-Chief, India, in 1925.

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