April 24, 2015

Anzac Day 2015 - Remembering Hugo Throssell VC

In the midst of Australia's current orgy of war glorification, it might be appropriate to remember the life of Hugo Throssell:

In 1919, Gallipoli veteran and Victoria Cross winner, Hugo Throssell said, “The war has made me a socialist and a pacifist. It has made me think and inquire what are the causes of wars. And my thinking and reading have led me to the conclusion that we shall never be free of wars under a system of production for profit”. 

After his initial enthusiasm for war, Throssell lived through some of the worst slaughter at Gallipoli and saw his brother killed in action in Palestine. Injured, he ended up suffering from  meningitis and what we today call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 
Already disillusioned about the war, he met and married Communist Party activist and author Katharine Susannah Prichard. After finding it hard to get work during the Depression, Throssell committed suicide in 1933, in the hope his death would see the government grant his wife and child a war pension.
He wrote on the back of his will, “I have never recovered from my 1914-18 experiences”.

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