ANZAC Day 2011

Family at Mornington

Family at Mornington

This day is always sad and happy for me. There is a long line of service in our family: from my great-grandfathers through to my husband.

My great-grandfather, Cyril Denton Fethers (MC, DSO) served in the First World War, along with a number of male relatives.

Erle Finlayson Denton Fethers, of East Malvern, Victoria, received his first commission in the Victorian Scottish Regiment in 1906 as a Second Lieutenant. He was appointed Lieutenant in November 1907 and then promoted to Captain in January 1912. He was military adjutant from 1908 to 1910. He served with the 48th Infantry, Citizens’ Military Forces (CMF), until his enlistment on 25 August 1914.  Captain Fethers embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Orvieto on 21 October 1914, with A Company, 5th Battalion. He was promoted to Major on 1 January 1915[, but] was killed in action on 25 April 1915 on the Gallipoli Peninsula, aged 27 years.  His younger brother, 16471 James Keith Fethers enlisted in December 1917, and survived the war.  Several other relations also served with the AIF, including: Captain Bernard Denton Fethers, Lieutenant Cyril Denton Fethers MC, Captain Geoffrey Ernest Fethers, 4779 Private George Vernon Fethers, Major Noel Denton Fethers, 2031 Private Raymond Denton Fethers, Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Kent Fethers DSO and 2nd Lieutenant Percival George Fethers who was killed in action in France on 3 May 1917.

Australian War Memorial

In the Second World War my grandfathers both served – one on the Home Front, and one overseas. Lewis Kenneth Hughes, known as Ken, served around Australia as a PT trainer. James Evan Williams served with RAF in the European and North American theatres.

My husband, James, has served as a peace-keeper in East Timor during 2002-03.

I was proud to stand with him today, and to remember the service of my relatives.

Lest We Forget.

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ANZAC Day

It has been a big weekend for our family, as usual.
With my husband as a retired serving member, and a legacy of PTSS for his tour of East Timor, ANZAC Day is always a bitter sweet day.
The thing that really pees me off is the Australian Army’s continuing protestations that they support their returned soldiers, and that very few seek to take advantage of the psychological and other support services that are available. Let me tell you that my husband would rather cut his tongue out than admit to the Army that he needs their help.
And herein lies the problem – the Army creates a culture of self-sufficiency and strength and manliness, which then back-fires in a big way when the shit hits the fan.
And as a spouse, one can only say and do so much in support, when what is needed is professional, uncategorical and non-judgmental support from the body that helped to create the problem in the first place.
In The Age on Sunday there was an article about this very problem. Each of the people interviewed had issues when they were discharged, and none had taken advantage of what is available.

For the first time in six years, I didn’t cry at the ANZAC Day service at school, or even on the day. As I was reflecting on this yesterday afternoon, I realised that I hadn’t had the burden of ‘the elephant in the room’ this year, as our family is temporarily separated geographically. And following that realisation was a wish that the elephant could be disposed of – once and for all. What a relief that would be.