While in the UK today everyone will be enjoying another public holiday and eating Easter eggs, for us Kiwis and Aussies we will be remembering the men and boys who lost their lives in Gallipoli in WW1. April 25th is Anzac Day, our remembrance day for those that died in that war and subsequent wars since.
The ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, where they met fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal. What had initially been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied Gallipoli casualties included 21,255 from the UK, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.
The news of the landing at Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and in 1916, the date of 25th April became Anzac Day.
The following is inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach, Gallopli), on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial in Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington. These words were spoken in 1934, by Kemal Atatürk (Mustafa Kemal) to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields
"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."
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.