Tag Archives: Gallipoli

They Shall Grow Not Old

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We Will Remember Them.”
LAWRENCE BINYON 1869-1943,
English poet, dramatist and art scholar.

Last post being sounded at North Beach, Gallipoli.
Photo Mike Bowers, Sydney Morning Herald

April 25 in New Zealand and Australia is celebrated in remembrance of all those who have fought, suffered and died in wars. In both countries, it is a Public Holiday. Services of Remembrance are held throughout both lands. And on this day, in Gallipoli in Turkey, those brave souls who suffered and the many who died are also remembered.

During my recovering period in 2016, my number three Grandson Drew took me to an exhibition on Gallipoli. What follows is what I wrote after attending that exhibition. 

After a nasty accident that caused severe brain injury, I spent seven weeks in hospital and at ABI rehabilitation.  Now thanks to the teams at both places I’m well on the way to recovery. Back home again and ready to post on my blog.

One of the most annoying aspects is that with brain injury driving licences are suspended for six months until a doctor certifies you can drive. So currently I’m very dependent on family, friends and Driving Miss Daisy to take me around.

The entry to the exhibition

 

On Tuesday this week, my No 3 grandson Drew took me to our National Museum, Te Papa (Our Place in Maori) to see the Gallipoli Exhibition  This tells the story of the landings on April 25. 1915

On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.

For eight long months, New Zealand troops, alongside those from Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland battled harsh conditions and Ottoman forces desperately fighting to protect their homeland.

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Larger than life sized models

By the time the campaign ended, more than 130,000 men had died: at least 87,000 Ottoman soldiers and 44,000 Allied soldiers, including more than 8700 Australians. Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a sixth of all those who had landed on the peninsula.

New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War per head of population than any other nation. Of those killed, almost a third were buried half a world away in unmarked graves.

This exhibition tells the story from the standpoint of those young men.  It is incredibly detailed and we are shown where they stood their ground against an incredible army of Turks.  We see how they lived and we hear readings of letters home.

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One of the standout officers was Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone (1859-1915) , a Stratford farmer and lawyer, who commanded the Wellington Battalion at Gallipoli. The Wellington Battalion landed at Anzac Cove on 25-26 April 1915. Malone soon began to impose order, transforming weak defensive positions along the Anzac perimeter into strong garrisons. Between June and August, he helped consolidate critical positions at Courtney’s Post and Quin’s Post.  Just one of many no doubt.”

What a terrible waste of so many young lives, and yet, over a century later, we continue to send our young people to war – doing the same things all over again and expecting different results. Will we never learn !

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ANZAC Day and Easter Monday

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow’d mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.
~William Collins, 1721 – 1759 English poet
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Dedication ceremony 1931

Dedication of the Cenotaph, Wellington, NZ 1931

This year Easter Monday coincides with ANZAC Day a public holiday both here in New Zealand and in Australia.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year.  The day is in honor of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

Gallipoli Campaign 1915

Via Wikipedia

The Gallipoli Campaign, or the Battle of Gallipoli,took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War.   In an attempt to secure a sea route to Russia through the Black Sea,  a joint British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople/Istanbul.  Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of this Allied Expedition.  The Allied force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April and met fierce resistance from the Turkish Army.  The Expedition failed.

Dardenelles fleet

Fleet heading to Gallipoli

What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate.  The campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The casualties included 21,255 from the UK, an estimated 10,000 from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.

News of the landing at Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war. While the Gallipoli campaign undoubtedly failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Turkey out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops’ actions during the campaign bequeathed a powerful legacy – the ANZAC legend.  This  was the first time that the Australian and NZ armies fought an enemy  representing their own countries.  This gave each country a new found sense of national identity.

In 1934 Ataturk, who had fought in the war and subsequently became the first President of Turkey, sent the following message via his Home Affairs Minister to the first visitors to Gallipoli from New Zealand, Australia and England:

“Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.”

A memorial containing those words was unveiled by the Australian Veteran Affairs Minister on 25 April 1985.  The cove has been named ANZAC Cove by the Turks.e from Australia, New Zealand and England in 1934.via his Home Affairs Minister to the first visitors who had come from Australia, New Zealand and England in 1934.via his Home Affairs Minister to And now to 2011.  ANZAC Day is commemorated/celebrated by New Zealanders and Australians.  It has changed to be a day of remembrance for all those who lost their lives in a war.  The day begins with a Dawn Ceremony of Remembrance at 5.45 am.  Here in Wellington it is at The Cenotaph.  Each year scores of people march to the Cenotaph and hundreds of people gather to mark this day.  It is surprising to note the number of young people who attend.  Some of these march wearing their grandparents’ medals, others (like my grandsons) just stand in silence and remember.

Later in the day there are services of remembrance at many churches in and around the city.  And there is a Dawn to Dusk Vigil mounted at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in the National War Museum.

Shops must remain closed until 1pm.  So you see, ANZAC day has more meaning for us than Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. This is our day to honor our dead.  Poppies are sold by the Returned Services Associations and are worn by most people as a sign of respect.

So while we are celebrating Easter here, we are also commemorating the men and women who have given their lives for their countries.

Anzac Poppy

Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’  – the fourth verse of which is so familar to us today was quoted by Sir Winston Churchill, 1874 – 1965, British statesman and politician, Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

And just because Rupert Brooke is a favorite of mine, and I can’t resist this poem.

“If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England. There shall be
in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
a body of England’s breathing English air,
washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.”