“If Australia is good enough to live in, it is good enough to fight for”
These are the words of Benjamin 'Ben' Moy Ling, one of over two hundred Chinese Australians who enlisted to fight in World War One and great-uncle of Serena, one of our Association members.
Ben's story is one of those being featured on ABCTV and ABCNews24 during this week of the centenary of ANZAC. Serena was interviewed by the ABC and the story will be broadcast on ABCNews24 this Thursday April 23 from 9am and then throughout the day on the ABC and ABC News 24.
Ben was also featured in the current exhibition Chinese Anzacs at the Chinese Museum. The exhibition is open until July 2015. He is also featured at the Domain tram interchange (stop 20 on St Kilda Road), near the Shrine of Remembrance. His quote is on display - 'If Australia is good enough to live in, it is good enough to fight for. I hope to live in it again after the war.'
Ben tried many times to enlist in 1915 but was rejected each time. His application for July 1915 says - 'unfit for active service - Not of substantial European background or descent.' Only white people were allowed to join the army in those days. He eventually overcame the bigotry and was allowed to enlist. Ben was in France when the war ended.
Ben's older brother Josiah had two stepsons - Reginald and George Garratt. Both joined the army and went to France. Reginald was killed in the Battle of Bullecourt in 1917, he was only 20 years old. George was about 18 years old when the war ended. He returned home but took his own life in 1924, for some the war never ended. Lest we forget.