Horace Graham Weall.
By Dee McLachlan
My grandfather was a South African soldier in the WW1 — sent off to the British Colony of Tanganika, now Tanzania. And in WW2, I believe he worked in some intelligence department.
When I was growing up he told us fascinating stories of the few years he spent marching around the grasslands in the middle of Africa. He probably avoided the blood and the killing, and so his tales were more about the wilds of Africa; How one soldier, while they were crossing a river, was snatched and drowned by a crocodile; Another was dragged away by hyenas in the middle of the night, and many more.
The one I remember clearly, was when he was lying in a shallow hole dug out with his helmet. They lay there for days in the pouring rain with a few biscuits. Then when he ventured forward to dig another hole with his helmet — a bullet grazed his scalp. For several moments he was wondering whether he was alive or dead.
Fortunately for us, this caring and empathetic father and grandfather, lived well into his 90s.
He was a prolific writer, of diaries which are kept in a safe somewhere in South Africa. But I do have a small hand-written notebook of events and statistics of the WW2, as they unfolded.
He seemed to want to make a record of the losses of the war. In this book there are charts and notes with all kinds of statistics (obviously carefully researched). As he was born in England in the late 1800s he included British Empire, Great Britain, and South Africa.
Figures and statistics get blurred with time. And large numbers are hard for our brains to deal with. The destruction was on such a grand scale. Imagine the effort it took to build 100,000 planes or 6,000 ships. The item below is from 1945.
What of all the lives lost? What is wrong with us that we allow this to happen over and over again. I used to think, it was only the kind of thing that happened to my grandfather.
But it’s happening now.
It happened in 2003, when our politicians agreed to go and bomb and kill Iraqis. The intelligence people knew that they had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11. Nothing.
Yet “we” went along with the “shock and awe” campaign to destroy and country and kill its people.
And even in these modern times we cannot get accurate statistics as to how many people were killed in Iraq. Depending on where you research, and who is providing the research, the numbers of people killed in Iraq range from 156,887 to 1,455,590 (population in 2003, nearly 26 million).
How did we let this happen.
It was in March 2003, that the West invaded Iraq. Yet on April 25, 2003, Australia held ANZAC parades remembering various wars and fallen heroes — while we were participating in the killing of tens of thousands of people.
As our former prime minister John Howard said — it was an “embarrassing” mistake. It was, and is, an utter DISASTER.
What a screwed up world.