I had the very great privilege of attending the ANZAC Services at Gallipoli on the 25th April 2015, and happy that I accepted the notification to attend.
It will be hard to put all that happened in a short report and even though there were some small hiccups, they were nothing compared to what the original ANZAC's had to endure. It was cool and we did have some waiting around on completion, but we did not have heavy artillery, rifle machine guns firing and hand grenades firing down on us from above, and with the weather conditions they had to endure with no relief.
I had travelled with Insight Vacations who did a great job, and our guide, Ahmet Turgut was a very knowledgeable person and along with our coach driver made sure we were at the Services. It all began at 4pm at our accommodation, a hotel called the Barbarossa (very new) in the area of Assos. We had a meal at that time and by 4.30pm we were on our way, and prior to leaving given boxed breakfast food (no muesli or milk!!!), also in our back packs, gloves, heavy jackets, scarves, water bottle, and any medication that you would require over the next 24-36 hours. In our coach was 40 Aussies and Kiwis making the journey, and only 3 of us were ex Service personnel. We also had the usual jokes about sheep and Kiwis!!!
Our first stop was at Cannakale where we joined other coaches for the ferry voyage across the water. Our number was 263 so you can imagine how many coaches, buses were heading there. After the ferry voyage, we started on the road and then came the first of three Security checks. Prior to leaving Australia all those who had received approval had received nice Security cards with your name, passport number etc. At the first check we received a nice carry bag containing a beanie with Gallipoli 2015 printed on the front, a poncho, a Commemorative Service book, a book of ANZAC, a lanyard, a Gallipoli lapel pin to name just a few of the items. Also we had a wrist band fixed on your arm. The next stop was a check on your back pack for illegal drugs, alcohol and also another wrist band to say you have been checked. Then we had to leave our coach and start walking.
On arrival at the sight were the Dawn Service was to take place was now full but we managed to find seating for two, even though Helen and myself were the only Aussies amongst about 20 Kiwis, we had a relatively good position. It was now about 2.45 am and rather cool, and with the breeze blowing off the waters gave it that bit of extra bite. Gloves, beanies, jackets and blankets wrapped around yourself was now the order of the day.
0500am the Service began and in the following Order.
Spirit of Place, an Australian Indigenous performance by William Barton , then a Soliloquy about the Landing at Anzac Cove by Warren Brown, then a Roll of Honour of those ANZAC's who died at Gallipoli. then Karanga - a Maori Call to Gathering (this was performed by Women of the New Zealand Defence Forces)
0530am Dawn Service
Music by the Australian Army . the New Zealand Defence Force Band - All Hallows Gallipoli Choir all under the Baton of Lieutenant Colonel Andrea McMahon Director of Music ARA.
Introduction by MC, Major-General Mark Kelly AO DSC, Rtd , Repatriation Commissioner , DVA. Catafalque Party is Mounted by Members of the Australian Federation Guard and the NZ Defence Force. Call to Remembrance by Air Marshal Mark Binskin AC, Chief of Defence Force Australi . the Address by the Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister New Zealand . A quotation by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President of the Republic of Turkey 1923 - 1938 (this was given by a Serving Turkish Army Officer).
The Hymn God our Fathers, Address by The Honourable Tony Abbott MP Prime Minister of Australia, the Reading by His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, the Prayer of Remembrance by Monsignor Glynn Murphy OAM Director General, Chaplaincy Australian Army, the Lord's Prayer by Chaplain Class One Lance Lunkin RNZCHD . then the Wreath Laying by Official Representatives, the ODE of Remembrance by Lieutenant General Tim Keating MNZN, Chief of Defence New Zealand, The Last Post, One Minutes Silence, Reveille.
National Anthems Istiklal Margi (Turkey) Australia and New Zealand , then the Final Blessing by Monsignor Glynn Murphy OAM. , the Catafalque Party Dismounts and Official Party Departs.
We then had to make the journey to Lone Pine which was to commence at 11.00am
Music by the Australian Army Band under the Baton of Lieutenant Colonel Andrea McMahon.
Official Party arrives. Introduction by MC, Major General Mark Kelly AO DSC Rtd, Catafalque Party Mounts, the welcome by Senator the Honourable Michael Ronaldson Minister for Vets Affairs, the Reflection by Air Chief Mark Binskin AC, Chief of Defence, the Bible Reading by The Honourable Bill Shorton MP, Leader of the Opposition, the Hymn Abide with Me, the Reading by His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, the Address by The Honourable Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, the Reading by a Student Maximlian Classsens , Scots of Riverina who was Winner of the Simpson Prize , the Prayer for the Australian Defence Force by Monsignor Glynn Murphy OAM , the Official Wreath Laying , the ODE of Remembrance by Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN Rtd, National President of the Australian RSL, the Last Post. One Minutes Silence, Rouse, the National Anthems of Turkey (Istiklal Marsi) and Australia , the Catafalque Party Dismounts, Official Party Departs and then Public Laying of Wreaths (there were many different Associations who participated in this Service).
Now all those who were not walking to Chunuk Bair (the New Zealand Service) had to remain seated but could witness this Service on the big screens .
I had hoped to meet up with Frank Lawton as we were both allocated seating in A3 stand and Bill Gadd in B2 stand, but with 10,000 in attendance this did not come about, but seated behind me was ex LTO Neville Sampson from Port Pirie SA, so during the break and the long wait for our coaches etc we spent the time , do you remember, what became of so and so. etc. Neville was aboard a cruise liner and had come ashore that morning and would be returning that night and sailing away.
The coach I was on did not leave till 1905pm so by the time we arrived back at our hotel (2300pm) it had been a long time, having been up since 0600am the previous day (we had a tour in the forenoon the previous day) but it was worth it.
Along with our group on our coach (263) we then did a ten day tour of Turkey, knocking up 2835 kms, it was so clean, green and I only spotted 3 pieces of graffiti and it was totally different to what I thought I would see and the people were so nice and I would recommend to any who have the chance to go there - GO - you won't regret it
I hoped that I have been able to convey how good this Service was to mark the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC at Gallipoli.
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW
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