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“Anzacs” Episode 1 – Epic WW1 Australian Mini-Series (1985)

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Part 1 of 5: “The Great Adventure: 1914” from ANZACs – an epic look at Australia’s fighting soldiers during World War I. Unlike many other series on The Diggers, however, ANZACs went further than the heroic debacle of Gallipoli and followed the Australians deep into the hell of the Western Front. This incredibly well-produced TV Mini-Series follows the lives of a dozen Australian soldiers who served in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War I – who enlist in the 8th Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force – which follows them from the 1915 battle of Gallipoli, to the brutal trenches of France during the 1916 Somme battles, the 1917 Arias and Vimy Ridge battles to the final 1918 German offensives and the final victory drive as well as the hardships, mid-adventures and the casualties of friends encountered at each one. PART ONE SYNOPSIS: The series begins in 1914, in the Western District of Victoria (Australia). Martin Barrington, the son of a wealthy British-born land-owner, is persuaded by his best friend, stockman Dick Baker, to enlist to fight in the Great War. They are joined by Dick’s sister Kate, who will become an army nurse. They become part of the 8th Battalion led by Lieutenant Armstrong and Sergeant McArthur. Other members of the platoon include Roly Collins, Bill Harris, Pat Cleary, and the Johansen brothers. By 1915 the platoon, having trained in Australia and Egypt, take part in the Allied invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli. Suffering heavy casualties, both of the Johansen brothers are killed and Barrington is badly wounded. He recuperates at a hospital on the Greek island of Lemnos and rekindles his romance with Kate. In August, the platoon take part in the bloody Battle at Lone Pine, and in the close-quarters fighting Baker is killed. In December, the platoon, of which only six original members remain, are evacuated from the peninsula along with the rest of the Anzac forces.

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