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Anzac Labour: Workplace Cultures in the Australian Imperial by Nathan Wise

By Nathan Wise

Anzac Labour explores the horror, frustration and exhaustion surrounding operating existence within the Australian Imperial strength through the First global struggle. in line with letters and diaries of Australian squaddies, it strains the heritage of labor and place of work cultures via Australia, the seashores of Gallipoli, the fields of France and Belgium, and the close to East.

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Sample text

12 During lulls these covering parties would assist in the digging to provide a more secure position from which to operate. 15 Throughout this first day and into the night the men of the Australian Imperial Force dug for their lives wherever they ended up. The first wave of 1500 men had not reached their objectives in sufficient numbers and had been forced to dig in along the first two ridges that rose up close to landing beaches. As the situation unfolded it became clear that the 20,000 Australians that were to land in those first few days were destined for a difficult struggle.

They expected war to have its risks, but they understood these risks to come through combat. Soldiers, they were led to believe, were meant to die a heroic death in battle against the enemy. By contrast, being shot by a sniper while working on a road or a trench was seen as unjust. Idriess explained in late May 1915: 28/5/15 Snipers shot fifteen Aussies this morning and a shrapnel got four of our regimental A. M. C. men. It is heartbreaking to see so many men killed and maimed when they are not in the actual firing-line.

The fire otherwise has been a lot easier to-day. ’22 Protection against sniper fire was an early priority. Ottoman rifle fire had largely been responsible for halting the Australian advance on 25 April and the Australians needed to provide some physical and psychological protection against this unseen threat and ensure that Ottoman snipers could not easily pick off their men. Digging was tiresome work, it strained the muscles of men and the small entrenching tools supplied to individuals made the initial task of digging a hole deep enough, wide enough, and long enough to provide cover for an individual all the more difficult.

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