ANZAC DAY: finding family and finding myself

ANZAC day, or April 25th, is one of those days where pictures speak louder than words.

On January 9th 2013, I found my Great Great Uncle’s grave in Cerisy, France.
My solo Eurotrip which birthed Politics in Kicks later the same year.

A day that had profound impact on my life.

This is my story.

20140424-210156.jpg

Sargent Michael J. Phelan was killed in action, August 18th, 1918. Less than 12 weeks before the Great War ended.

I found him by accident by googling his name.

He is on the Roll of Honour at Canberra War Memorial: http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1656783/

20140424-210148.jpg

I found out tonight, through googling his name, He was killed by a shell as he stood up to check on his men after the one exploded near them.
He died instantly.

I could hardly read this through my tears.

20140424-210141.jpg

 

WAR IS A WASTE.

 

20140424-210121.jpg

The French remember them beautifully.

20140424-210128.jpg

No one in my family ever knew what happened to Michael before I went looking. If he was a name on a wall, or even had a grave at all.
I found him.
It wasn’t a euphoric moment, but one that overwhelmed me.
My eyes glass over as I type.

20140424-214552.jpg
Pictured: Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery, Michael’s grave is on the row at the back, far right, perpendicular to the graves in the foreground

Michael is resting peacefully with his friends under watchful, loving eyes in Cerisy, France.

20140424-210134.jpg
Pictured: Hill 106 just outside of Villers-Bretanoux, France

Sergeant Michael Phelan is one of three members of my extended family to serve Australia in War. His brother Lionel was a light horseman in Palestine, he survived the War but never spoke of it. My Great Grandfather, Thomas Burgiss served in the Boer War at the beginning of the 20th Century. I will wear his medal tomorrow at the Kings Park Dawn Service.

Lest we Forget.

– PIK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s