April 25th tomorrow and another ANZAC day to commemorate. Years ago, while herself was completing an ANZAC day project, we discovered that themselves had a closer to connection to this day than we realized; making the day just a light more meaningful to us as a family. Through himself Snr’s side of the family they actually have an ancestor who served in Gallipoli. George Thorpe joined the Australian 2nd Light Horse Brigade, becoming solider #662, on 19th November 1914 at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales.
George was an Irishman who had served the empire already in the Boer War. Somehow though he found himself in Australia just as the war broke out. I’m sure the pressure would have been felt, if not externally then internally, to sign up especially as an experienced solider. That decision may have been made all the easier as he didn’t have any dependents with him at the time; having left his wife and four children in Ireland. One of which was his youngest daughter and himself Snr’s maternal grandmother. We may never know the reason for George leaving Ireland and his family behind despite all our questions and theories. Was it to forge a better life? Were the family to follow? Was it to earn money to send home? Or had the relationship with his wife broken down beyond repair?
Whatever the reason it seems that George arrived in the state of Victoria, as many Irish did, and possibly worked as a cook in Bundalaguah area before heading to Sydney to enlist in 1914. George was sent straight to the action of Gallipoli in 1915. He was then was admitted into Rochester Row Hospital in the early part of 1916 for injury and/or illness before going back into action in France later that year. As the war progressed, and he had another stint in hospital in 1917, George was transferred to the 4th Battalion (Infantry) before being killed on 18th May 1918 in France. He has a plaque on the Roll of Honour commemorative area (panel 42) of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and is forever remembered within his family.
This year, for the first time, themselves will be wearing replicas of the medals George was awarded when they attended the local ANZAC parade. a special moment for the three of them. Of course here in New Zealand and Australia when ANZAC day rolls around with poppies worn and parades attending there is usually a morning tea after the parade where you’ll often see ANZAC biscuits making an appearance. While it is actually just a popular myth that these wee treasures were sent to soldiers in the field due to their ability to travel well (the ingredients not spoiling too fast) it is true that they now are linked in everyone’s minds with that Gallipoli campaign, the first world war and ANZAC day.
So with that in mind I thought I would create a batch and share it here. There are many recipes I know but this one from the good old Edmonds Cookbook which is another mainstay of kiwi life is usually my go-to. To ensure that everyone in the house can enjoy some biscuits I did substitute the butter for Nuttelex (vegan butter) this year. It is a super quick and easy recipe for any time of the year and and if you’re like me and go to make them then realise that you don’t have any golden syrup …. fear not as they still work out a treat 🙂
- 100 gm butter (or a vegan butter of your choice)
- 1 Tablespoon golden syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon hot water
-Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot.
-Mix in sugar then add in the coconut, oats and flour. Stir well to combine.
-Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add into the main mixture.
-Place evenly sized balls onto a lined tray and then press down with a fork. The mixture may seem crumbly however once you start rolling it into a ball it comes together fine …. you may need to just hold each biscuit/ball as you press with the fork though.
-Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until golden
-Cool on a rack and enjoy.
Hope this finds you safe, free from the worries of war and remembering those who have gone before us.