It is 40 years since I first visited Gallipoli. I remember the sombre veil that descended so rapidly when I saw where our soldiers landed and the precipitous cliffs rising above the beach. It was inconceivable to me then as it is now that on 25 April 1915, wave after wave of soldiers were delivered onto this beach only to be gunned down by Turkish troops on the hills above. By nightfall, total casualties were around 2,000.
In October last year, I revisited Gallipoli, this time with my partner whose family fought at Gallipoli. On this occasion, my first impression of the Anzac Cove was how small it is, a tiny sliver of coastline marked by a solitary wall bearing the word Anzac. There is a strange kind of tranquility about the place.
Below are the scenes captured and the corresponding chaotic scenes that took place during the Gallipoli campaign. The contrast is striking.
Our next stop was the Ari Burnu Cemetery, which was used during the campaign by troops to lay their fallen soldiers. The cemetery was predominantly for the Anzacs, however, there were 26 from the United Kingdom and three from India. These stone memorial tablets are separated by shrubs of sage, rosemary and thyme. The inscription below right is a quote from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first leader of the Republic of Turkey.
Brighton Beach, the place where the amphibian landing was supposed to have taken place. However, under the cover of darkness, the Anzacs landed two kilometres north of the intended location. Today it is a popular swimming beach despite the bunker from the Second World War.
From the coastline, we headed inland to the heights which were so bitterly fought over. Below is Lone Pine Cemetery, the site of a major battle between the Anzacs and Turkish forces in August 1915.
After Lone Pine, we crossed the ridge to Chunuk Bair. Chunuk Bair is to New Zealanders what Lone Pine is to Australians. Next to the New Zealand memorial is a statue of the Turkish hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Before our trip to Turkey, we spent several months travelling around Europe in a campervan. One of the places right at the top of our list of destinations to visit was Menin Gate, where every evening at 8:00 pm, crowds gather to hear the Last Post being played in memory of fallen soldiers of the First World War. It was a very sobering experience and we were quite blown away by just how much effort is put in to keep the Last Post ceremony going night after night since 1928. Today the Last Post ceremony continues to draw thousands.
While staying at Ypres, we also visited Villers Bretonneux and the new Monash Centre. It was a very moving experience and a little overwhelming at times when reading the ages of these young men so far away from home.
Later we went to the Caix British Cemetery, the final resting place of my partner's great uncle, Frank Tasman Poke.
Frank's headstone is the first in line in row 1E, but there is an error in the lettering: Driver Frank Tasman Poke is listed as F T Poke as per the cemetery register, not E T Poke.
Frank Tasman Poke was one of three men killed when a shell burst in a dugout where they were having lunch.
Of the 302 headstones at the British Caix Cemetery, there were only ten Australians. Over two hundred were Canadians.
While Anzac Day may look a little different this year and the fact we are not able to gather as normal, we will in a little while stand at the end of our driveway to remember our brave Anzacs.
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
Thanks for checking in and welcome to my adventure
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