Birth of Anzac...

Gallipoli Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 5 › view all entries

For those who don’t know about Gallipoli, I’ll explain it:

 

Australia had it’s first colony established only as recently as January 26th 1788 when Captain Cook first sailed into Sydney Harbour with the First Fleet of settlers.

 

However, it wasn’t until January 1st 1901 that the separate colonies were united into one Federal Nation.

 

When Britain declared war against Germany in 1914, Australia was quick to answer the call of the motherland and go to her aid.

Attaturks note to the mother's of the fallen ANZAC's
Many of the Australians, were at that time, still only recent immigrants from the homeland.

 

They saw it as their duty, but more than that, they saw it as a great way to see the world. They felt there was little risk of failure, much less death.

 

The Australian troops were sent to Egypt to prepare and train given that it was safe from the European arena and with good access to the Mediterranean. New Zealand followed along side us and they called the combined group the ANZAC’s • Australian & New Zealand Army Corps.

 

It was soon realised that the ANZAC’s were a tough and unrelenting bunch • weathered well by the harsh conditions back home and the training in Egypt.

The Turkish war memorial. It took 90 years to finish!
They were seen as the bulldogs, and also unfortunately, the fodder, of the British war machine.

 

The British needed to access to the Black Sea, to aid Russia. So it was necessary to take out the Turkish Peninsula at the Aegean sea to allow this access. The Anzac’s were the logical choice to send into this hellish and difficult locale. It was called the Dardenelles or Gallipoli Campaign.

 

A plan was drawn and on the 25th April 1915 the first wave of Anzac’s landed at Gallipoli Bay. Disaster was immediate as the co-ordinates were wrong and strong currents in the night had put them in the wrong place. They landed on a beach facing steep cliff walls covered in razor sharp impenetrable thistles and bracken. The enemy was on them and it was an immediate slaughter. The British command should have immediately withdrawn however the stubborn colonel’s insisted that the troops ‘dig in’ and so these aussie battlers set about constructing elaborate trenches to establish a post.

The Turkish war memorial. It took 90 years to finish!
It was an amazing feat given the conditions and the stories that emanated from this campaign are unbelievable in modern terms.

 

The war scene was catastrophic with huge numbers of dead and injured. Conditions were appalling. Disease was rampant. It was very close combat, often only metres apart, resorting to bayonet or even hand to hand combat.

 

The most horrific fact is that the campaign lasted for 8 full months when it never should have happened. In this time the Anzac’s suffered huge casualties and deaths. The enemy, the resilient Turk’s also suffered, and much worse, but were successful due to their shear numbers and home-side advantage..

 

Out of the battle came amazing stories from both sides. The Turks and Anzac’s actually grew to respect each other and would have armistices to clear the dead where they would talk to each other - share cigarettes and even play football together.

 

After the campaign, a British Royal commission showed that the Campaign was ill-conceived, hopeless, totally unfruitful and should never have been attempted.

The Turkish war memorial. It took 90 years to finish!
However the damage was done.

 

Out of the terror and torture of this bloody, awful situation came amazing tales of humour, courage & inspiration. Turkey emerged from the campaign as an Independent Republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal, an inspirational and highly successful colonel who had risen to prominence during the battle. He became known as the Father of modern Turkey and a much loved figure.

 

This battle was by no means our worst in terms of deaths or injuries but it was our first significant one as a nation.

 

Every year, thousands of people flock to the site where this all started to pay tribute to the sacrifices that the first ANZAC's made.

 

Arriving on the 24th, during the day time, the crowds set up camp at Anzac Cove and huddle in to await the dawn.

The Turkish wall of battle
As the sun rises on the 25th, the dawn service starts with a series of processions to commerate all those who fought and died. This year there was around 16,000 people - a record crowd. It's amazing that 90years on, so many people still care. It was an extremely emotional day, a thoroughly moving experience and one which is without compare.

 

Every true Aussie patriot views this place and this time as a proud and defining moment in our history. 

 

The attributes seen at the battle front are the epitome of our way of life and culture.

Our tenacity is legendary. Against all opposition, with impossible odds the aussie way is to always 'give it a go'. You just have to look at our business and sports people today to see this in action.

 

However, you'll also notice us always doing it with a smile and a laugh, making sure not to take ourselves too seriously.

The Turkish war memorial. It took 90 years to finish!

 

More important than anything else though, is the notion of mateship. A notion that was forged and tempered in the trenches and lingers to this day. In Australia, we think of everyone as a mate, and we make sure we always look after our mates.. Regardless of the situation, in a world that may be falling apart, you should always stand by your mates, cherish your friendships, and help your fellow man.

 

It’s a truly inspiring way of life and one that is not very common around the world. It certainly is not in Europe or the USA where it is a very much an ‘individualistic’, 'me, me, me' society.

 

It’s also one of the reason’s why Australians are so well received around the globe. Certainly, if you talk to anyone that’s visited, they’ve usually had the best time of their life…and we're pretty proud of that!

 

So here’s to the ANZAC’s that started it all.

the aussie memorial on the beach
They gave their today… for our tomorrow.

 

Lest we forget…

homeres says:
this was a well written blog. Now i wanna visit Turkey! i have worked with Turks before and they are very friendly.
Posted on: Jul 06, 2008
genetravelling says:
For further info on the Anzac spirit see Elke's blog: http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/10475/The-Spirit-of-ANZAC-Hobart-52
Posted on: May 10, 2008
genetravelling says:
thankyou. I'd be honoured...
Posted on: May 10, 2008
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Attaturks note to the mothers of …
Attaturks note to the mother's of…
The Turkish war memorial. It took …
The Turkish war memorial. It took…
The Turkish war memorial. It took …
The Turkish war memorial. It took…
The Turkish war memorial. It took …
The Turkish war memorial. It took…
The Turkish wall of battle
The Turkish wall of battle
The Turkish war memorial. It took …
The Turkish war memorial. It took…
the aussie memorial on the beach
the aussie memorial on the beach
Simpson and his donkey. This amazi…
Simpson and his donkey. This amaz…
The plaque at the beach memorial
The plaque at the beach memorial
The Lone Pine Memorial
The Lone Pine Memorial
Lone Pine Wall of remembrance
Lone Pine Wall of remembrance
Light horse plaque
Light horse plaque
Lone Pine Memorial tower
Lone Pine Memorial tower
Lest we forget
Lest we forget
The trenches
The trenches
The Turkish memorials
The Turkish memorials
Turkish Girl Guides at the Turkish…
Turkish Girl Guides at the Turkis…
Ataturk had a way with words...
Ataturk had a way with words...
The Anzac Cove
The Anzac Cove
More trenches
More trenches
Turkish women sit by the Ataturk m…
Turkish women sit by the Ataturk …
The Anzac Cove
The Anzac Cove
the Fatefull shores...
the Fatefull shores...
The crowd starts to get underway
The crowd starts to get underway
An enigmatic and poignant sunset
An enigmatic and poignant sunset
and so the sun goes down
and so the sun goes down
starting to get crowded
starting to get crowded
Settling in for the night...i actu…
Settling in for the night...i act…
night-time bustle..
night-time bustle..
Geno snug as a bug...
Geno snug as a bug...
Gallipoli
photo by: scacos2006