Every Anzac Day we're told to remember the Anzacs, and how they died for our freedom in a horrific war one hundred years ago.
But often what we're informed about is not close to the truth at all, misinformation that repeats the same clichés and myths rolled out each year by ignorant media organisations and politicians alike.
Newshub's Tony Wright sets the record straight and busts those century-old Anzac myths.
- Myth: Australian & New Zealand soldiers made up the majority of troops involved in the eight-month Gallipoli campaign against the Ottoman Empire, or the country we now know as Turkey.
- Bust: Anzac soldiers only made up only 12.5 percent of the Allied troops involved, with most soldiers coming from Great Britain, Ireland, France and India, with small amounts from Nepal & Newfoundland (Canada).
- Myth: Most Anzac soldiers who died in World War One (a combined NZ/Australian figure of 80,000) died at Gallipoli.
- Bust: Only 10 percent of Anzac soldiers died at Gallipoli, with most (87 percent) dying in France & Belgium fighting the German Empire in 1916-18.
- Myth: The Anzacs landed on the wrong beach under a hail of machine gun fire, the beach was soon littered with corpses.
- Bust: This is one of greatest misunderstood aspects of Gallipoli. Historians now believe the Royal Navy dropped the Anzacs off on the correct beach after all, as it was the most lightly defended with no machine guns and only a single company of Ottoman Empire soldiers (Not Turks, but Syrian Arabs) defending it.
There were few casualties on the beach and the Syrian conscripts were quickly overrun, but it was in the hills and gullies where the Anzacs became engaged in brutal fighting with Ottoman reinforcements who eventually hemmed the Anzacs into the beach head we now know as Anzac Cove.
- Myth: Australia hosts its Anzac Day ceremony on Gallipoli each year at the Australian monument at Lone Pine. This monument honours the sacrifice of Australian troops during the Gallipoli campaign.
- Bust: The Lone Pine monument is actually one of five New Zealand monuments on Gallipoli dedicated to missing Kiwi troops (soldiers whose bodies were never recovered from the battlefield for burial). Australia doesn’t actually have its own national memorial anywhere on the Gallipoli peninsula.
- Myth: The 'drip' gun, invented by an Australian soldier, fooled the Ottomans into thinking the Anzacs still manned the trenches, allowing them to evacuate Anzac Cove without the enemy knowing.
- Bust: The famous Drip guns didn’t fool the Ottoman soldiers at all. The first of these guns went off well after the Anzacs had actually left the peninsula. This myth perpetuates Australia’s notion of its soldiers having natural cunning and ingenuity. We Kiwis call it something else, our number eight wire mentality.
- Myth: The famous moniker 'Digger' was born at Gallipoli. On the night of April 25, the Anzac commander Lieutenant-General Birdwood asked the man in complete command, General Sir Ian Hamilton that he wanted to withdraw his Anzacs due to their untenable position. Hamilton gave the famous reply: "You have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig, until you are safe."
The myth goes that Hamilton's reply gave birth to the nickname 'Digger', and has been used as slang to describe Australian soldiers ever since.
- Bust: There is no evidence the term 'Digger' was used at all by any Anzac soldiers during the eight month Gallipoli campaign.
What we do know however, is that the term was originally given to New Zealand Pioneer troops (non-combat units of Maori and Otago men) by the British high command, after they dug two key communication trenches up to the front lines during New Zealand's turn in the Battle of the Somme in France, in September 1916.
The nickname 'Digger' soon came to be used by all Kiwi soldiers, before it was adopted by Australian troops in 1917.