Originally posted by wolfgang59
Just back from the Dawn Parade and Remembrance Service.
Very sad remembering all those poor lads who gave their lives
100 years ago.
Any Newfoundlanders who observed today with the Kiwis and Aussies?
What happened to the ANZAC heroes--the survivors--after they returned home?
This is what happened to one of them. Billy Sing (1886-1943) was born in Queensland,
Australia as the son of a Chinese father and an English mother. Although he experienced
racism beginning from an early age, Billy Sing (already a proven champion marksman)
was able to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force after the recruiting officer decided to
ignore the fact that he was half-Chinese (usually, only white men were accepted).
During the Gallipoli campaign, Billy Sing acquired a reputation as the deadliest sniper.
Afterward, he was severely wounded in France, including by poison gas, which seems
to have permanently damaged his lungs, resulting in poor health for the rest of his life.
After the war, Billy Sing reported being afflicted by serious health problems. Sadly,
there was not yet much of an official support system for wounded or disabled veterans.
Once known as a hero, Billy Sing apparently had to struggle to find work in civilian life,
without, as far as I know, receiving any pension from the government.
As I recall this incident, when one of his old wartime comrades met him by chance, he
was shocked by Billy Sing's haggard appearance--he looked as if he had hardly eaten
for days. He offered to treat Billy Sing to dinner, yet the 'forgotten hero'--proud to the
end--said that he could not accept any charity. Billy Sing died--nearly penniless--alone
in his room in a boarding house. At that time, few people remembered him or cared.
In 2008 a biography of Billy Sing was published. An Australian television miniseries is
being produced of his life, though not necessarily accurately. The white Australian
director has cast his own white son as Billy Sing (who was half-Chinese) and another
white actor as Billy Sing's father (who was all Chinese). Would he have cast white
actors to play Australian aborigines?