Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, April 21, 2022

"Anzac" by Oliver Hogue

Lone Pine — 6 August 1915

Ah, well! We’re gone! We’re out of it now. We’ve got something else to do.

But we all look back from the transport deck to the land-line far and blue:

Shore and valley are faded; fading are cliff and hill;

The land-line we called “Anzac” . . .  and we’ll call it “Anzac” still!

This last six months, I reckon, ‘ll be most of my life to me:

Trenches and shells, and snipers, and the morning light on the sea,

Thirst in the broiling mid-day, shouts and gasping cries,

Big guns’ talk from the water, and . . .  flies, flies, flies, flies, flies!

And all of our trouble wasted! All of it gone for nix!

Still . . . we kept our end up – and some of the story sticks.

Fifty years from on in Sydney they’ll talk of our first big fight,

And even in little old, blind old England possibly some one might

But, seeing we had to clear, for we couldn’t get on no more,

I wish that, instead of last night, it had been the night before.

Yesterday poor Jim stopped one. Three of us buried Jim –

I know a woman in Sydney that thought the world of him.

She was his mother. I'll tell her – broken with grief and pride –

“Mother” was Jim's last whisper. That was all. And died.

Brightest and bravest and best of us all – none could help but to love him –

And now . . . he lies there under the hill, with a wooden cross above him.

That's where it gets me twisted. The rest of it I don't mind,

But it don't seem right for me to be off, and to leave old Jim behind.

Jim, just quietly sleeping; and hundreds and thousands more;

For graves and crosses are mighty thick from Quinn's Post down to the shore!

Better there than in France, though, with the German's dirty work:

I reckon the Turk respects us, as we respect the Turk;

Abdul's a good, clean fighter – we've fought him, and we know –

And we've left a letter behind us to tell him we found him so.

Not just to say, precisely, “Good-bye,” but “Au revoir”!

Somewhere or other we’ll meet again, before the end of the war

But I hope it’ll be in a wider place, with a lot more room on the map,

And the airmen over the fight that day’ll see a bit of a scrap!

Meanwhile, here’s health to the Navy, that took us there, and away;

Lord! They’re miracle-workers – and fresh ones every day!

My word! Those Midis in the cutters! Aren’t they properly keen!

Don’t ever say England’s rotten – or not to us, who’ve seen!

Well! We’re gone. We’re out of it all! We’ve somewhere else to fight.

And we strain our eyes from the transport deck, but “Anzac” is out of sight!

Valley and shore are vanished; vanished are cliff and hill;

And we’ll never go back to “Anzac” . . . But I think that some of us will!

Oliver Hogue


Oliver Hogue, born in Sydney Australia in 1880 worked as a journalist, achieving recognition for his writing under the pseudonym "Trooper Bluegum" during the First World War. He was born on 29 April 1880 in Sydney and was educated at Forest Lodge Public School. Despite growing up in Sydney, his ability at sports and his skill as a horseman led Hogue to consider himself a bushman and, after completing school, he cycled thousands of miles along Australia's east coast. He worked as a commercial traveller before gaining employment with the Sydney Morning Herald in 1907.  

Hogue enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in September 1914 as a trooper with the 6th Light Horse Regiment. Commissioned second lieutenant in November, he sailed for Egypt with the 2nd L.H. Brigade in the Suevic in December. Hogue served on Gallipoli with the Light Horse (dismounted) for five months, then was invalided to England with enteric fever.  In 1916 he returned to the Anzac forces deployed in the Sinai and Palestine sector. Oliver Hogue went through the whole campaign of the Desert Mounted Corps, but died of influenza at the 3rd London General Hospital on 3 March 1919. He was buried in the Australian military section of Brookwood cemetery. All through his service produced letters, articles, three books, and this poem, which is his best remembered work.

Sources:  All Poetry, Australian Dictionary of Biography


  1. I can see why this poem is so well remembered. I'm surprised we don't find it in more WWI poetry anthologies.

  2. "little old, blind old England" is quite a phrase.

  3. Their like may never be seen again...