Monash - Australia's Finest Solider - Is He Forgotten?
November 11th marks the 90th anniversary of the end of WWI, and tonight on ABC TV there's a program featuring something of a biography of the man that is arguably known as Australia's finest soldier - Sir John Monash.
To quote the ABC website directly: "Monash - The Forgotten Anzac examines Monash's key military victories and the hidebound military culture he overturned to win them. And it introduces us to Monash, the man."
Anyone with a passing interest in numismatics will known Monash as being the crusty old boy on the back of the current polymer $100 note.
I haven't yet read the biography of Monash, written by Roland Perry and reaonably widely available through bookstores, but I understand from those that have read it that Monash certainly was an incredible individual - a general that was wholly dedicated to the welfare of his men, who stuck it up the poms and the top brass in the Australian military whenever his principles required it.
I'm going to resist the temptation to paint a broader picture of Monash here as his life and achievements are covered in great detail right across the internet. Needless to say however, the number of people that attended his funeral was an excellent guide to the esteem that Monash was held in by the Australian public - the Australian Dictionary of Biography states that "His state funeral, with crowds of at least 250,000, was probably the largest in Australia to that time."
I've taken a keen interest in the past in searching out books that cover the deeds of Greek and Roman generals having come across them on a range of ancient coins, however I now realize that I'll have to add Perry's biography of Monash to my Christmas wish list.