The Australian Digger
Major Alec Weaver, Royal Australian Regiment, (Ret)

I am a great believer in the power of the ANZAC tradition which, although never openly mentioned by our Diggers, has a significant effect on their attitudes in battle where mateship and moral toughness play an important part. (ANZAC = Australian + New Zealand Army Corps)

In WWI, out of a population of ca 4½ millions 60,000 men were killed in action and ca 320,000 wounded, resulting in enormous national grief and suffering. One sad result:- whole country towns lost most fathers, sons and brothers.

As a young country, we cannot look back to the great achievements attributable to the grand British regiments or those of other nations, but nevertheless, the spirit kindled at Gallipoli and on the Western Front continues to inspire our men. I experienced this personally in the Jungles of New Guinea, in Korea and later in Vietnam.

Not that this phenomenon is uniquely attributable to the Australian soldiers' scene, but there is something to be found which cannot be readily explained viz- larrikinism (a nonchalant air and a delight in puncturing pomposity), individualism, fair play, tolerance (towards the more unfortunate among their ranks), and a rare sense of humour (especially in adversity).

Independence rather than blind discipline. Respect for results rather than rank alone.

All of which combined manifests itself into Mateship.

When the Diggers' initiative and ingenuity for improvisation are considered, they appear to be unparalleled. This was born in the Bush during the early days of settlement. These aspects require some more detailed explanations, but that is another story.

The absence of elitism based on social class systems, is also a most significant aspect, which bears to be considered. Thus, whenever an officer is immobilised in action, there is never a question as to who would take his place (THE MOUND)

Also, in my particular case, as a very young German migrant with a pronounced ' Kraut' accent and mannerisms, I was always judged by my personal conduct (warts and all). I am certain that, as a member of the British Army, I would never have been considered for a commission as an officer. This also applies to those who did not belong to the more privileged classes in British society.

I am most reluctant to make comparisons as such pursuits are invariably most fruitless, but I must also draw attention to the way the United States is still motivated by the spirit born at the time of the War of Independence which continues to be remembered on the fourth of July each year with the WestPoint motto of ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ saying it all!

'Avenge the patriotic gore, that flecked the streets of Baltimore' !

Major Alec Weaver, Royal Australian Regiment (Ret)
January 8, 2000

                 SEARCH SITE                  
     Principal Infantry Weapons     
                   Guest Book                   

     The Korean War, 1950-1953        
  Map and Battles of the MLR   
        Korean War Time Line        

© Australian Album ©