April 21, 2015

Anzac Day - 2015


2015 marks the 100th anniversary of WW1, an important date not only for Australia, but also for New Zealand - hence the acronym ANZAC. April 25th.

Troops from Great Britain, Canada, France and the USA fought in WW1 and this should not be forgotten either.

There have been many movies and TV miniseries dedicated to ANZAC over the years.
For example Peter Weir's "Gallipoli" - is now considered as one of the best of the movies.


It gives most people a chance to show their thanks and appreciation for the soldiers, as well  as commemorating their service. 

This day does not only apply to those who fought at Gallipoli, but also the current men and  women fighting right now, as well as veterans from other wars.

Gallipoli was a tuning point for Australia. It helped define our nation, and since it  is 100 years since the day volunteers landed at Gallipoli, it is truly ingrained in the minds of many.

It should be mentioned that the soldiers came from many parts of the Commonwealth which, back then was the British Empire, as did some Americans who also fought in WW1 - more here.

They were fighting the Turks. 

This is not a glorification of war - all wars are bad, and the amount of causalities on both sides was horrendous. Anzac Day pays tribute to the fallen.

From the Herald Sun:

Some places you'll be hearing about:                                                                  


Set on North Beach, under the imposing Sphinx rock outcrop, many men landed here, just to the north of Anzac Cove, on April 25. The site replaced Ari Burnu as the dawn service setting from 2000 to accommodate swelling numbers. North Beach became a casualty station and supply zone during the campaign, and Anzacs were evacuated from here in December, 1915. It was a dangerous place to be until August fighting shifted the Turkish frontline. It then filled with hospital tents and piles of stores. Men hollowed dugouts in the slopes above while boats came and went from wooden piers. The site will feature grandstands for the dawn service itself, as well as a heavy security presence of about 3800 security officers.


The lingering warmth between Turkey and Australia was set by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934 when Australian, New Zealand and British officials visited Gallipoli for the first time since the war.
His words were set in stone at Ari Burnu in 1985. Many visitors here, at the north end of Anzac Cove — where 253 men are buried, including some in the ill-fated charge at The Nek at dawn on August 7, 1915 — are overwhelmed by the grandness of Ataturk's sentiments on the stone monolith that soars above the Aegean Sea. This was the site of the Anzac Day dawn service until 2000.
 t was a fitting venue: Ari Burnu was the point where the landing boats mistakenly clumped for the landing itself, where a commanding officer described the landing as a “terrible muddle”, and where the men followed orders and blindly climbed the hills. Ataturk spoke of no difference between the “Johnnies” and “Mehmets” lying side by side in a friendly country.

They were “heroes that shed their blood”:
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.


More than 3200 Australians died with no known grave at Gallipoli, as did 456 New Zealanders.
Their names are inscribed at the Lone Pine Memorial, along with the 1212 Anzacs souls who were buried at sea after succumbing to wounds or disease on hospital ships. The site was named for the single pine tree sighted soon after the landing on April 25. It was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in Australia's military history. From August 6, 1915, Australia suffered more than 2000 casualties in the Battle of Lone Pine, often in hand-to-hand combat in trenches where the Lone Pine Cemetery and memorial now stand. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded here, yet the recipients, as well as religious ministers overcome by the scale of the carnage, were always haunted by the savagery and death here. The names of the missing include three 17-year-olds, including two 6th battalion privates who died in the Battle of Lone Pine. Also commemorated is Private James Martin, of Hawthorn in Melbourne. He was buried at sea on October 25, 1915, and is thought to have been the youngest Anzac death. He was 14.



The cemetery here is built in what was No Man's Land: in 1919, four years after the ill-fated charges recounted in Peter Weir's film Gallipoli,(above) the earth was said to be covered in remains. 
It is accepted that most who died here were the men of the 8th and 10th Light Horse regiments of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade sent to instant death in the dawn of August 7, 1915. It is an eerie place, unusually empty of markers, small and removed. It's here that Trooper Harold Rush turned to a mate and said: “Goodbye cobber, God bless you.” Less well-known is the tale of David McGarvie, of western Victoria, who lay in a crater throughout the day with a wounded foot. He had charged with the first wave and took pot shots at Turks before he crept back to safety after dark. Only five men from the 326 commemorated in the cemetery have known graves: another five soldiers, known to be buried here, have special memorials.


Chunuk Bair is New Zealand’s equivalent of Lone Pine: the struggle for the peak’s control was as savage as any battles on the Anzac battleground below. 
The New Zealanders briefly glimpsed the elusive dream — the Dardanelles — on August 8. Over the next two days and nights the fighting was ferocious: of 760 Wellington Mounted Rifles, for example, only 49 were left unwounded. The loss of the hill by British replacements early on August 10 would be considered a turning point. The New Zealand memorial obelisk commemorates 850 NZ soldiers with no known graves (one of four) in nearby fighting.The cemetery has 632 burials, of which 10 graves are identified. The men were buried by Turks after fierce fighting on August 6-8. The memorial stands beside a 10-m statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. His imposing stance features a whip being held behind his back. Balls on the ground mark the place where he was hit by during the August fighting: a pocketwatch was said to have stopped shrapnel from piercing his chest.


This regiment responded to the Anzac landing. It was led by Ataturk, who issued the famous order: “I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die.” 

It is placed on the Chessboard, between Quinn’s Post and The Nek at the base of Baby 700, a hill that exchanged hands again and again on that first day as Anzacs tried to climb the heights. The memorial includes the names of 1817 Turkish soldiers said to lie here, the statue of a Turkish soldier, and a statue of Huseyin Kacmaz, the last surviving Turkish veteran who died at 108 in 1994.


Significant for a simple reason: the position was regarded as the most dangerous at Anzac. It was taken by a New Zealand machine gun crew on the afternoon of April 25 before Australians took it over. It was never safe, and many men were picked off by Turkish snipers getting to and from the outpost in the jagged ridge line. Journalist Charles Bean wrote that soldiers looked up to it as they might a “haunted house”. It was marked by bomb throwings, tunnelling and the ghastly smell. Named after Captain Hugh Quinn, of the 15th battalion, who took over the position on April 29, only to be killed there a month later when the Turks briefly overran the position. Of 473 burials in the cemetery, 294 are unidentified. Sixteen known to be buried there are Light Horsemen killed in a diversionary charge on the morning of August 7.


A replica of the small Turkish minelayer sits on the shores of the Dardanelle Straits in Canakkale. 
The ship's captain changed history when he laid 20 or 26 mines parallel to the shoreline rather than across the straits before March 18, 2015. British ships were seeking to breach Turkish defences and sail to Constantinople.  
Yet what was once the world's greatest navy had been outwitted: her manoeuvres were routine, her ships kept turning around at the same place. Three were hit by the mines: two sank, the other was badly damaged. The British Navy abandoned its efforts, prompting plans for the land attack now known as Gallipoli. Nusret's captain, Hakki Bey, has been honoured as a hero ever since — only days earlier, he had suffered a heart attack. Conjecture continues to this day whether the British should have persisted with a naval strategy.

Originally published as Anzac 101: The places you need to know
Top picture credit with many thanks to the Hon. Andrew Robb

 More from Yahoo7:

The chaos and carnage of the bloody Gallipoli defeat helped to forge the identity of Australia and New Zealand as independent nations, with the exploits of those who fought and died still finding relevance 100 years on.

When more than 60,000 Australian and New Zealand troops joined an allied expeditionary landing on the peninsula in what is now Turkey a century ago this week, the objective was for a quick strike.

But the ill-fated plan to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders and 11,500 of them never returned.

The 1915 battle had a profound impact on those back home, culminating in Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasion on the anniversary of the landings on April 25 -- the Anzac Day public holiday.

Many view the bloodshed at Gallipoli as the foundation moment for both of the former British colonies, who were eager to establish their individual reputations.

It was the first time they had fought on such a scale as Australia and New Zealand, with Anzac troops hailed for their comradeship and courage.

"Yes it was, in a sense, the crucible in which our national identity was forged, but it left horrific scars," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in the lead-up to Anzac Day this year.

"Gallipoli was, obviously, in a critical sense our nation's baptism of fire and 8,000 Australians didn't come back."

Today the word Anzac is a national symbol and the legend of Gallipoli a cornerstone of modern Australia and New Zealand, with the values exhibited a century ago taking on a myth-like quality.

"The Anzac legend has changed with Australian society," said Joan Beaumont, from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

"It is no longer simply a story of soldiers, although it continues to honour the service of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force and, thereby, making public criticism of their deployment in current conflicts difficult.

"Today the core vales of Anzac are civilian ones of compassion, endurance, sacrifice and mateship (camaraderie)," she added.

"Hence, in a highly materialistic society, Anzac serves the important social purpose of validating any sacrificial behaviour, be it by police officers, civil defence forces or firefighters, who voluntarily expose themselves to risk and subordinate their personal interest to those of the collective good."

- Pride and recognition -
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said youngsters continued to find relevance in Anzac Day, not because they were enamoured with the madness of war but because the virtues forged at Gallipoli and elsewhere give them a sense of what it means to be Australian.

He said values such as chivalry, loyalty, audacity, and endurance continued to strike a chord.

"This is a question of who we are, how we relate to one another and see our place in the world. It is who we were, but it's got much more to do with the people we are and the people we might become," he said.

"In the end what we need most and what our children will need most is one another, and that is principally what this centenary is about."

Ceremonies are held in towns and cities across both countries to remember those who served and died as Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers, not only in World War I but all conflicts, with this year's events assuming added significance.

A dawn service and the National Anzac Day Ceremony will take place at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Saturday, as it does every year. Similar events are planned in New Zealand.

Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders are also travelling to Turkey, with demand to attend the Gallipoli commemorations so great that a ballot had to be drawn.

Warships from both nations will also be there, along with the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth, which set sail from Sydney last month carrying a memorial wall of 11,500 poppies, commemorating each of the Anzac soldiers who died.

Onboard is Mark Keys, whose great-grandfather Francis Jensen perished in the battle.
"It's a time of great pride and recognition of the struggle that both the soldiers who went over there and the families that were left behind went through," Keys said of the upcoming ceremonies.

Australian War Memorial historian Ashley Ekins said the Gallipoli legend showed no signs of fading.

"It's achieved a sort of resonance in our society -- there's almost a romance about this story of Gallipoli," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"It always compels people to go to all those cemeteries, and see the row after row of headstones of Australians buried on the other side of the world in a campaign that really seemed to have little difference on the outcome of the war in the end."



Symbolic poppy red colour on Anzac coin - With thanks to The Herald Sun

A $2 coin has been minted to mark the 100th anniversary of the landing of Anzac troops at Gallipoli during World War I. 
THE coin has an image of poppies - symbolic of remembrance - among crosses similar to those that mark the graves of fallen soldiers, and the words "Lest We Forget".

It also features a small circle that is the colour of red poppy flowers. There will be about one and a half million coins released into circulation over the coming weeks, as part of a series of commemorative coins that capture the history, service and sacrifice of Australians at war.

From You Tube:     
In memory of those who have gone before us - the troopers of the Lancers, the 1st Armoured Regiment (AIF), and 1st Light Horse Regiment - and all Australian soldiers and service personnel - and those who served in Vietnam.
I Was Only 19 (Redgum/John Schumann) - performed by The Lancer Band (Australian Army) (2015)
Vocals: PTE Elizabeth Smith
Guitar + Backing Vocals: MUSN Richard Coward
Bass + Backing Vocals: MUSN Chris Hand
Keyboards: MUSN Tom Urquhart
Video: MUSN Malcolm Ramsay
Audio: MUSN Tom Urquhart + MUSN Richard Coward
Arrangement: CPL Ben North
Bandmaster: WO2 Dave Pragnell

Original song copyright John Schumann/Redgum. This video copyright by the Australian Army, 2015.

LIKE the Lancer Band on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/thelancerband
Twitter: @thelancerband                           

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