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Panel response to Denis Bounsall, Brendan O'Carroll interview

Published: 2:38PM Sunday April 25, 2010 Source: Q+A

PAUL I should tell you before anything else that Mr Bounsall will be 90 years old next year.

Your response to Denis's stories.

THERESE Incredibly moving isn't it? I mean to put it into context, hearing of the incredible sacrifice at Gallipoli first up and to hear Denis who gosh I wish I was as articulate as he is, and it's the scale of the sacrifice, and for my generation who never really faced that, I mean I think it explains why people still honour ANZAC Day with such emotion, because we've never been asked to serve or to make those sorts of sacrifices, it's just incredibly moving.

WYATT My take on it was the way we look at war, we're seeing it from a general officer's point of view as big units moving around, this one goes here and it goes there, but at that level it reminds you yet again that war is a ghastly business, what they see, the wounds, the injuries to the people, doesn't matter what side you're on, it is just a revolting place to be, and when he talks about the stench of dead animals, I remember reading about the stench at Gallipoli of rotting human bodies, they weren't even able to recover their own bodies, and they had to live with it.

PAUL Apart from Gallipoli where the stretcher bearer was immensely important of course and Simpson and his donkey, Simpson was a stretcher bearer who eventually got a bullet I think in the back, and as never decorated actually but is legendary, but he was mentioned in despatches, but apart from Gallipoli had you heard much about the role of stretcher bearers?

SANDRA Well you hear a bit about them, obviously Gallipoli in particular, because the New Zealanders at Gallipoli were given the hardest mission of all in taking the whole of Chunak Bair and the point that I wanted to make was I think with Gallipoli people went away, colonials looking for the OE, for Mother England, King and Country, but the way they fought at Gallipoli really defined New Zealand as a nation and just picking up on his point about New Zealand males being soldiers in their spare time anyway, that's what distinguished the New Zealand troops at Gallipoli, they fought and took their orders from British high command, they knew they were put on a suicide mission, but they decided to fight their way to the top of that hill on New Zealand terms.

THERESE But it led to the Balfour Definition Statue of Westminster so that by the second world war Britain didn't declare war for us we declared it for ourselves.

PAUL Yes we declared it and they were under our command.

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