Nov 2014

Remembrance Day: The saddest letter I ever read

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To the editor

The saddest letter I ever read was written to the War Department in 1923, 7 years after Australian troops pulled out of Gallipoli harbour. The letter was from the girlfriend of Bert Henley, an RSM in the divisions that were sent to Gallipoli. She said she had heard, and she felt very confident that the story was true, that Bert was still alive in a prison camp somewhere in Germany and could they please investigate. However, Bert Henley had been shot dead at Anzac Cove at Gallipoli. Her heart was broken, she would never get over losing the love of her life.

Bert Henley was my Great Great Uncle. He and my Great Grandad had tossed the coin as both of them wanted to go to war but someone had to stay home and look after the saddlery business. Great Grandad lost the toss; and that is the only reason I am here today.

One of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard was 21 Guns, written by Tommy McIvor - a country music singer and friend of my best mate Robbie Gough. Here is the last stanza of that most beautiful song.

Now the angel of death with his knock at the door.

The crumpled up telegram falls to the floor.

Her reason for livin is livin no more, as she cries for the pride of Australia.

So it’s 21 guns for a nations’ proud sons, from the hard luck selections to the big cattle runs.

They came with their ponies and soldiered their guns.

And they died for the pride of Australia.

Hon Bob Katter MP
Federal Member for Kennedy

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