2014 ANZAC - Troops Depart Australia Stamp and Medallion Cover
Brief background: After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Serbian nationalist on the 28th June 1914, the balance of central powers in Europe was threatened. Like falling dominoes, European powers came to the aid of its allies. Austria declared war on Serbia; Russia mobilised its forces to support Serbia in retaliation; Germany declared war on Russia that meant France was also at war. Britain declared war on Germany following the invasion of Belgium on the 4 August 1914. Australia pledged a contingent of 20,000 troops and the services of its navy.
On the 19th August, the Australian Military and Naval Expeditionary Forces sailed north from Sydney to take possession of German New Guinea and then New Britain. Troops and ships were readied for departure to Britain, to which they would sail in convoy with the New Zealand contingent. Only days after departing Albany on the 1st November 1914, the force was called upon to engage with the enemy in the Indian ocean- The HMAS Sydney successfully scuttled the German warship SMS Embed at Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
World War I, 1914-1918, was the 'Great War', the 'war to end all wars'. On November 1, 1914, 30,000 young Australians and New Zealanders departed from Albany in Western Australia on board ships bound for Egypt and the battlefields of the Great War. They had never heard of Gallipoli and had no idea where they were headed and the fact that many would never return home. The most important battleground was the 'Western Front' in France and Belgium where great battles were fought - Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passchendaele and Villers–Bretonneux.