Anzac Day 2014

24 April, 2014

So, it being April 24th and all, I started thinking about about how tomorrow is a day of remembrance not just of the servicemembers who did not return, but those who did and whose lives were forever changed.

For example, “One-Armed Uncle Jack,” as he is known to family legend (Pte JG Trezise to the 7th Battalion) was shot in the hand at Lone Pine. A letter was sent to my Great-Great Grandmother informing her of a “slight” gun shot wound to her son’s right hand.

This was still 10+ years before penicillin of course, so it was almost luck whether you’d make it out of hospital - even today, when the Docs have all kinds of fancy medicines to tackle infections, people can still die from them. Of course, James Trezise (yes relation) was in and out of hospital with minor wounds and what are today easily managed illnesses and he was OK. Actually, you can find his name on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration…

Anyway, the paperwork shows Jack was put on a ship back home in September 1915, then discharged from another hospital without his hand in December 1916 and discharged again two weeks later without the rest of the arm. There is some later correspondence in the file and you can see him learning to write with his left hand, and he kept on keeping on until the early 70s.

The wounds that our servicemembers carry with them when they return aren’t always as obvious as Jack’s missing arm, but we are just as bound to support them, care for them, and, eventually, remember.