Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mr Dreyer Shares his Armed Forces Experiences

Many classes have been studying the ANZAC campaign leading up to ANZAC Day on 25 April. 2014 is the 99th year after the campaign at Gallipoli in which just over 11, 000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers (ANZACs) lost their lives.  2721 New Zealand soldiers were killed.

The Senior classes had invited a guest speaker to talk about his experiences and the Year 4 classes were very fortunate to listen to his talk as well.

Mr Dreyer was in the NZ army for 20 years before he retired and took up a business career. 

Mr Dreyer

Mr Dreyer's talk was very interesting and thought provoking.  He described all the wars New Zealand soldiers had fought in to support Britain:
  • Anglo-Egyptian War, 1882
  • The Boer War,  1899 -1902
  • World War 1, in Europe and Africa, 1914 -1918 (at Gallipoli 1915)
  • World War 2,  1939 -1945
  • Korean War,  1950 - 1953
  • Vietnam War, 1956 - 1975 (NZ's involvement was in the years 1965-1971)
  • Conflict in Afghanistan, 2001 - present
He spoke to us about his experiences in the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s.  Life was very difficult during the war, for people on both sides.  Mr Dreyer lost many good friends in that conflict.

He answered many questions and we came away with the following insights:
  • war is not a glorious adventure - it takes a huge toll on people, during and after the conflict
  • soldiers and their support personnel have to work hard as a team
  • the armed forces have changed over time - women are now able to take combat roles if they choose
  • New Zealand soldiers have a major role in peace-keeping around the world
  • much of war can be boring - a lot of waiting around before there is action
  • when in a war, you are only concerned with what you are doing and your small area, rather than thinking about where everyone else is and what they are doing
  • war brings people together so you form very close relationships with the people around you - they are like family, you rely on them, you trust them, you form strong friendships

Mr Dreyer
Outline map of  the Bosphorus area in Turkey

Map showing the peninsula and where the ANZAC came ashore at Gallipoli
This map was interesting because it shows a rectangle which represents the area on the Turkish mainland that was successfully taken and held by the French soldiers during this war.  This was the only successful action in the whole of this campaign.  All the troops that landed on the peninsula, to the left of the map, suffered huge loss of life and heavy casualties.

  • NZ lost 2701 soldiers
  • Australia lost 8,709 men
  • Turkey had 251, 000 casualties of whom more than 86, 000 soldiers were killed.
See these websites for background:     NZ History Online
For an Australian perspective see:      Australian Govt ANZAC site

Each year, at the Dawn Services throughout New Zealand, the sacrifice made by all soldiers lost in war are remembered.

 Lest We Forget

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