Anzac Cove, Gallipoli Turkey, for Anzac Day Ceremony 1998
Crossing the narrow Dardanelles
Whilst on this ferry, it was certainly a mistake to make use of a very primitive and overpoweringly smelly toilet, people forced to use this facility just exited it, looking quite pale and decidedly unwell.
The Gallipoli Peninsula
Once again the toilet facilities are most limited and very primitive, when you manage to track one down, there will be a huge queue. At last you are able to enter, and then you just wish you had not been so lucky in actually finding it. The safety of suitable undergrowth is definitely preferable and highly recommended.
Denise and I quickly assessed the situation, if we were to see anything of this Dawn Service, we would need to start climbing the very hills that our Anzacs had faced so long ago. Encumbered by heavy overcoats, bought back home specially just to wear this morning, and of an age much advanced on those young Diggers, here we were in total darkness, there being no visible moon, and we now approached this rather daunting task.
We stumbled into gorse bushes and stunted and prickly holly trees, and now and then suddenly disappeared into old concealed shell holes. But perseverance at last won out, we had climbed high enough to view the total area below us. So we sat, huddled in our coats, somewhat smug, having in a small way emulated our forebears. We did not have to tote a heavy pack, a rifle, plus ammunition, water or all the accoutrements of war, nor were we soaked to the skin through wading ashore to arrive on a hostile shore, or be shot at by the Turks, dug in on the heights overlooking these hills.
The coming of Dawn
The Last Post, a Minute's Silence, then the Reveille played by buglers echoed across the gullies, and drifted out over the Dardanelles, the National Anthems of both Australia and New Zealand were sung to bring to an end another Dawn Service in this sacred place, located deep inside Turkish Territory.
We scramble down from our hillside viewing spot.
Descending from our eyrie was a great deal easier than our ascent in total darkness, in fact we were rather proud of ourselves to have managed that climb, and were happy to have taken the decision to "go for it."
By bus to Cape Helles
Return to the Lone Pine Australian Memorial
In April of 1915, a single Pine tree grew on this site, the Aussies named it Lonesome Pine, but it was destroyed in the subsequent fighting. Some gathered seeds were brought back home to Australia, planted, nurtured, and used to grow this present tree here in this cemetery.
A huge crowd had gathered, many young Australian back packers converge here on Anzac Day from all over Europe, answering the inanate urge to be present here at Gallipoli on this special day, just as we did.
A moving and most appropriate address was given by Philip Ruddock, followed by a Minute's Silence, observed to the letter, not a sound, just eerie silence. I was very aware of my own heartbeat as each of us, in our own way, recalled the ultimate sacrifice of so many, so long ago, and those who have since died in the cause of freedom. I felt very emotional, and my mind rushed back to the night of August 9 1942, when HMAS Canberra was sunk and we had 84 crew members die. To wind up this ceremony, the very robust singing of Advance Australia Fair by the assembly is a memory we both will carry with us always.
Casualties at Gallipoli
At the time of this landing, Australia as a Nation, was but 14 years old, our population less than 5 Million, when one combines the losses at Gallipoli with those on the Western Front, about 60,000 Australians died overseas in WW1, a whole generation wiped out.
Who can judge what they may have achieved if they had lived? How do you guage what all those deaths meant to Australia as a whole, particularly in small country towns across the country, where so many men did not return, and to our major cities, when so much potential talent was squandered and lost through the utter futility of war?
The First Turkish President
Should you visit Turkey, and its capital Istanbul, as my wife Denise and I did en route to Anzac Cove in 1998, you would be suprised at the number of Statues, Busts, Posters, and Photographs of a stern looking man featuring quite fierce mustachios, who is he?
None other than Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, without doubt, the Father of Modern Turkey.
Born in 1881, he was named Mustafa, it was his mathmatics master who gave him the nickname of Kemal, "The perfect one." Ataturk joined the army at a young age, then at Gallipoli as a Colonel, he was in command of the heights that overlooked the territory that Australian and New Zealand troops invaded on that memorable 25th. of April in 1915, when the name of ANZAC was born.
Ataurk was basically responsible for the ensuing Turkish victory.
Post first war, when Greece invaded Turkey over 1921/1922, it was Ataturk who led the Turkish army to another great victory.
For centuries, Turkey was part of the Ottaman empire, and the Sultans ruled until the end of WW1.
In the mid twenties, Ataturk was coming to power, and he gave himself the task of modernising his backward country.
He was responsible for many changes such as:
In 1923 Ataturk proclaimed the Republic of Turkey.
He believed in a less dominated religious life for all his people, ie, a non secular or non religious way of daily life.
He would only tolerate one political party, his own, and woe betide any factions that openly disagreed with his politics. He was a tough and powerful leader.
It was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who literally dragged Turkey, kicking and screaming into the 20th. Century, and he may surely be regarded as the "Father of Modern Turkey."
Ataturk had in 1923 become the First President of the Republic of Turkey, died in 1938.
He left his distinct imprint on his country, which is still very evident today.