Friday, April 24, 2009

The ANZAC Story

Tomorrow is April 25th. This day is observed in New Zealand and Australia as a day of commemoration for those who died in the service of their country andNZ soldiers to honour returned servicemen and women. It is a national public holiday in both countries. 25 April is the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) at Gallipoli in 1915.

The ill fated assault on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, began on 25 April 1915. It was an attempt by Allied Command to weaken the strategic position of the enemy and it was the New Zealand Expeditionary Force's first major engagement of the First World War. My great uncle Charlie was there and lived to tell the tale (minus only 3 fingers).

On the first anniversary of that landing, dawn services were held throughout both countries in remembrance of the 2,721 New Zealand soldiers and 8,709 Australians who died during the eight-month Gallipoli campaign. Since 1916 ANZAC Day has evolved to the observance we know today. In New Zealand there is a ceremony in almost every town around their war memorial cenotaph. Most are simple affairs where the gathered veterans ‘stand-to’ for 2 minutes while a lone bugler plays The Last Post before a short service. Always poignant.

Flanders_Poppies Flanders Poppies, 2004, photograph by Nostalgic T + Allan

The symbol of Anzac Day in New Zealand is the red Flanders Poppy. This flower is the symbol of sacrifice as it was the first thing to grow on the churned up soil of the soldiers graves in the Napoleonic wars and again in WWI after the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele.

Lest We Forget


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.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (founder of modern Turkey), 1934


Kiwi born artist Euan MacLeod has won this years Gallipoli art prize for his work entitled ‘Smoke in Landscape/Shovel’ which was judged to best depict the spirit of the Gallipoli campaign.

Sorry, no photo available.


Euan MacLeodFigure Sitting on Boat In Desert’, 2007, by Euan MacLeod


  1. Re your note:

    Hiring is a long process here. We currently have approval for 2 contract employees to help me out. 1 will be a 3 month contract just to help unbury me before our next inspection. The other will be a long term contract (6 month to possibly 2 years if the person works out).

    Both contracts are through different groups, everyone is busy, we haven't gotten any candidates to come in yet. Meanwhile I'm sinking...

  2. Lou...Check your E Mail. Hugs.

  3. Yeah and the weather is shite. Going be p*ssing down for our local dawn parade tomorrow - wonderful.

  4. Well it miraculously stayed dry throughout our service this morning between 6am and 6.30am. Was as moving a ceremony as usual.


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