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Decentering Anzac: Gallipoli and Britishness, 1916–39


The First World War set in train the development of ideas and traditions that had profound implications for nations and for national identity. Whilst the British Empire grew in size at war’s end, revolution and war beset the United Kingdom, the very heart of that empire, resulting in the establishment of what ultimately became the Republic of Ireland. This was a violent rejection of Britishness. Elsewhere within the empire, a shared British identity was simultaneously reaffirmed and undermined by the war. One of the ways in which this manifested itself was through commemoration. This chapter uses the early years of the commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign as a means to observe both continuities within Britishness and the seeds of its decline.


  • Gallipoli Campaign
  • Carl Bridge
  • Soldiers Return
  • Zealanders
  • Charles Bean

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Fig. 11.1


  1. 1.

    C.E.W. Bean, The Australian Imperial Force in France During the Allied Offensive, 1918, vol. 6, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1942), 1095.

  2. 2.

    Ibid., 1096.

  3. 3.

    Tony Abbott, “Lone Pine Address, Gallipoli” (speech, Gallipoli, Turkey, 25 April 2015).

  4. 4.

    Craig Stockings, ed., epilogue to Anzac’s Dirty Dozen: 12 Myths of Australian Military History (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2012), 292.

  5. 5.

    K.S. Inglis, “Anzac, the Substitute Religion,” in Observing Australia 1959 to 1999, ed. Craig Wilcox (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1999), 61–70.

  6. 6.

    “Budget 2015: Honest History Factsheet: Centenary Spending $551.8 Million,” Honest History, accessed 8 October 2015,

  7. 7.

    Martin Ball, “Re-reading Bean’s Last Paragraph,” Australian Historical Studies 34, no. 122 (2003): 231–47; Peter Londey, “A Possession for Ever: Charles Bean, the Ancient Greeks, and Military Commemoration in Australia,” Australian Journal of Politics & History 53, no. 3 (2007): 344–59; Marilyn Lake, Henry Reynolds, Mark McKenna and Joy Damousi, What’s Wrong With Anzac? The Militarisation of Australian History (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2010); James Brown, Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession (Melbourne: Redback, 2014); Bruce Scates, Rae Frances, Frank Bongiorno et al., “Anzac Day at Home and Abroad: Towards a History of Australia’s National Day,” History Compass 10, no. 7 (2012): 523–36; K.S. Inglis, Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape (Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 1998). Professor Bruce Scates of Monash University is leading an international team of researchers exploring the history of Anzac Day.

  8. 8.

    Neville Meaney, “Britishness and Australia: Some Reflections,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 31, no. 2 (2003): 122.

  9. 9.

    Jenny Macleod, Gallipoli, Great Battles Series (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

  10. 10.

    J.G.A. Pocock, “British History: A Plea for a New Subject,” Journal of Modern History 47 (1975): 601–28; L. Colley, “Britishness and Otherness: An Argument,” Journal of British Studies 31 (1992): 309–29.

  11. 11.

    Krishan Kumar, “‘Englishness’ and English National Identity,” in British Cultural Studies: Geography, Nationality and Identity, eds. David Morley and Kevin Robins (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 46.

  12. 12.

    Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich, “Mapping the British World,” in British World: Diaspora, Culture and Identity, eds. Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich (London: Frank Cass, 2003), 2–3.

  13. 13.

    John Hirst, “Independent Australian Britons,” in The Oxford Companion to Australian History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

  14. 14.

    Stuart Ward, “Imperial Identities Abroad,” in The British Empire: Themes and Perspectives, ed. S.E. Stockwell (Oxford: Blackwell Pub., 2008), 226–33.

  15. 15.

    Russel Ward, The Australian Legend, 2nd ed. (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1965); Stephen Alomes, A Nation at Last? The Changing Character of Australian Nationalism 1880–1988 (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1988).

  16. 16.

    Richard White and Hsu-Ming Teo, “Popular Culture,” in Australia’s Empire, eds. D.M. Schreuder and Stuart Ward (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 342.

  17. 17.

    R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600–1972 (London: Penguin, 1988), 431–60.

  18. 18.

    D. Boyce, “‘The Marginal Britons’: The Irish,” in Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880–1920, eds. R. Colls and P. Dodd (London: Croom Helm, 1985), 230–53.

  19. 19.

    Bridge and Fedorowich, “Mapping the British World,” 6.

  20. 20.

    The relationship of Māori and Pakeha (white settler) identities within New Zealand and the British Empire is the subject of a growing literature. See, for example, Katie Pickles and Catharine Coleborne, eds., New Zealand’s Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016). Australia sought to limit and withdraw indigenous voting rights after Federation in 1901.

  21. 21.

    Kynan Gentry, History, Heritage, and Colonialism: Historical Consciousness, Britishness, and Cultural Identity in New Zealand, 1870–1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), 107–8.

  22. 22.

    K.S. Inglis and Jock Phillips, “War Memorials in Australia and New Zealand: A Comparative Survey,” in Packaging the Past? Public Histories, eds. John Rickard and Peter Spearritt (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1991), 183–5.

  23. 23.

    Joan Beaumont, “‘Unitedly We Have Fought’: Imperial Loyalty and the Australian War Effort,” International Affairs 90, no. 2 (2014): 399.

  24. 24.

    “Attack on the Straits,” The Times (London), 27 April 1915.

  25. 25.

    [Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett], “The Gallipoli Landing,” The Times (London), 7 May 1915.

  26. 26.

    “Well Dad?,” Bulletin (Sydney), 13 May 1915.

  27. 27.

    “The Fields of Fame,” Auckland Star, 11 May 1915.

  28. 28.

    Edward Newton MacColloch, “The New Iliad,” Bulletin (Sydney), 17 June 1915.

  29. 29.

    Jenny Macleod, Reconsidering Gallipoli (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004).

  30. 30.

    Patrick Shaw-Stewart, “I Saw a Man This Morning,” in David Childs and Vivien Whelpton, British and Irish Poets of the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915: Heirs to Achilles (London: Cecil Woolf Publishers, 2011), 30; Elizabeth Vandiver, Stand in the Trench, Achilles: Classical Receptions in British Poetry of the Great War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 277.

  31. 31.

    Clement Attlee, “Lemnos 1915,” in Childs and Whelpton, British and Irish Poets of the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915, 17.

  32. 32.

    Francis Ledgwidge, “The Irish in Gallipoli,” in ibid., 48.

  33. 33.

    “Anzac Day,” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), 26 April 1916.

  34. 34.

    “Anzac Day,” Northern Star (Lismore, NSW), 25 April 1916.

  35. 35.

    “Parade of Troops,” Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 1916.

  36. 36.

    “Anzac Day,” Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 1916.

  37. 37.

    “Anzac Day,” Wanganui Chronicle, 24 January 1916.

  38. 38.

    “Anzac Day,” Otago Daily Times, 25 April 1916.

  39. 39.

    Mercutio, “Local Gossip,” New Zealand Herald, 6 May 1916.

  40. 40.

    “In Memory of Anzac,” New Zealand Herald, 22 April 1916.

  41. 41.

    K.L., “The Memorable 25th,” Quick March (Auckland), April 1919, 38.

  42. 42.

    “The Message of Anzac Day,” The Times (London), 26 April 1916; “In Honour of Anzac,” The Times (London), 26 April 1916; E.M. Andrews, The Anzac Illusion: Anglo-Australian Relations during World War One (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 88; Eric Andrews, “25 April 1916: First Anzac Day in Australia and Britain,”Journal of the Australian War Memorial 23 (1993): 16.

  43. 43.

    “The March of the Anzacs,” The Times (London), 26 April 1919.

  44. 44.

    Geoffrey Moorhouse, Hell’s Foundations: A Town, Its Myths and Gallipoli (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1992), 147–8. For an evocative description of the service and parade held each year, see 155–9.

  45. 45.

    See, for example, “The Landing at Gallipoli,” Irish Times, 22 April 1929.

  46. 46.

    “Twenty Years Ago,” Irish Times, 26 April 1935.

  47. 47.

    W.S. Churchill, 1915, vol. 2, The World Crisis, 1911–1918 (London: Thornton Burrerworth, 1923), 322–4.

  48. 48.

    Sir I.S.M. Hamilton, Gallipoli Diary, vol. 1 (London: Edward Arnold, 1920), 158. HMS Queen Elizabeth, the super-dreadnought battleship, was one of Hamilton and Vice-Admiral De Robeck’s best assets.

  49. 49.

    “Anzac Day,” Ellesmere Guardian, 21 April 1933.

  50. 50.

    “Too Mournful?,” Auckland Star, 18 April 1929.

  51. 51.

    “Anzac Day,” Mercury (Hobart), 25 April 1935.

  52. 52.

    “The Landing at Gallipoli.”

  53. 53.

    Paul Keating, “Eulogy to the Unknown Soldier” (speech, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 11 November 1993).

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Macleod, J. (2017). Decentering Anzac: Gallipoli and Britishness, 1916–39. In: Ariotti, K., Bennett, J. (eds) Australians and the First World War. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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