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Honouring Those Who Served Their Countries in Fields of War

Australians, New Zealanders and others commemorate ANZAC Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and some other countries in the region, that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served" (source: Wikipedia).

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Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918). That campaign resulted in 26,083 Australian casualties and 7,473 New Zealander casualties.

Henry Lee-Thomas, ANZAC, his wife, Ruby and two-year old son, Maurice
Henry Lee-Thomas, ANZAC, his wife, Ruby and two-year old son, Maurice
Henry Lee-Thomas, ANZAC, his wife, Ruby and two-year old son, Maurice© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Henry Lee-Thomas, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was among the ANZAC and Allied troops storming the beaches at dawn on 25 April 1915, landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in Ottoman Turkey.

Henry was one of 16 Latter-day Saint servicemen from Australia to serve in WWI. Only eight returned.

Lee-Thomas was baptised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ on March 1912, at the age of 24, in South Australia. He married Ruby Thredgold nine months after he was baptized.

Henry was one of the five signatories on the purchase of the property in Adelaide where the first meetinghouse of the Church in South Australia was built. There were just over 200 Church members in Australia at that time.

Four months later, 28 Aug 1914, he enlisted in the Australian Army.

“When World War I broke out,” Ruby wrote, “This caused some serious reflection, and the more Henry thought about it, the more concerned he was about his wife and baby, so he enlisted.”

Lee-Thomas was wounded at Gallipoli 9 May. He was wounded again at Dardanelles in July and was returned to Australia for recovery. In 1916 he re-enlisted and returned to the Middle East. He was made a Lance Corporal in September 1917.

He was sent to France and Belgium and on 8 January 1918, he and three other men were sent to make a trench raid which they successfully accomplished. While returning to their lines he was hit by a high explosive and killed in action.

Anzac Day observance, Auckland, New Zealand, war, military,
Anzac Day observance, Auckland, New Zealand, war, military,
Laying a commemorative wreath, Anzac Day© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Ian S. Ardern, president of the Pacific Area of the Church, said, “My father, Harry Wiltshire Ardern served overseas during World War Two and my Grandfather did likewise during World War One. Neither was an advocate of war, they would have preferred to live in an environment of peace which Christ preached about. However, both were called on by their governments of the day to defend their nation and ideals and so to war they went. On this day we remember and honour them and the hundreds of thousands who did as they did, some of them having made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.”

Additional Resources

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.