Dawn of the Legend: 'Worthy sons of the Empire'
'Worthy sons of the Empire'
In 1914 Great Britain declared itself, and consequently the forces of its Empire, to be at war with Germany. Australians responded with conviction and enthusiasm; they began raising a volunteer army, called the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
After Turkey joined the war on the side of Germany, the Australians took part in a British-led invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915. The landing and the eight-month campaign that followed established the Australians' reputation for courage, endurance and initiative, but ended in military defeat.
From that time the anniversary of 25 April has been commemorated as Anzac Day: not as a celebration of victory but as a commemoration of courage and sacrifice. Anzac Day also marks the emergence of the young newly-federated nation on the world's stage.
I heartily congratulate you upon the splendid conduct and bravery displayed by the Australian troops in the operations at the Dardanelles, who have indeed proved themselves worthy sons of the Empire.
His Majesty, King George V