Thousands turned out across Australia and New Zealand on Saturday morning for dawn services commemorating the 100th anniversary of the doomed World War One campaign at Gallipoli, an event viewed by many as the nations’ foundational myth. The battle on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula was one of the bloodiest of the Great War, as thousands of soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ANZAC were cut down by machinegun and artillery fire as they struggled ashore on a narrow beach. The fighting would eventually claim more than 130,000 lives, 87,000 of them on the Ottoman side, before the Turks finally repulsed the poorly planned Allied campaign.
It’s a day full of emotion and pride and gratitude. Of solemnity and remembrance. It’s a day that will further reinforce the bond between our two peoples.
Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove
The national day of remembrance began before dawn with a service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, as Able Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Alan Patterson from the Royal Australian Navy playing a dirge on the Didgeridoo in the cold early darkness. Chaplain Group Captain Peter Friend followed a hymn with a reading in remembrance of Australia’s veterans.