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Anzac Day – 100 years

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 am, April 25th, 2015 - 35 comments
Categories: Anzac Day, history, war - Tags: ,

100 years ago today ANZAC forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. During the subsequent eight month Gallipoli Campaign the Ottoman Empire suffered 174,828 casualties (dead and wounded), and the Allies 187,959 including 28,150 from Australia and 7,473 from New Zealand.

Today will see commemorative services around the country, including many peace vigils.

NZ History has excellent information about Anzac Day. Coverage at Stuff includes some useful infographics. The Herald’s coverage is particularly good – Letters From Hell: Gallipoli heroes in their own words. From the quoted letter of Trooper F.C. Trenne 13/747, Auckland Mounted Rifles:

… It was simply dreadful at times. Fancy living amongst shell and bullet nights and days without sleep and only bully beef and hard biscuits from one week’s end to another and at the first week with sometimes only half a pint of water in a blazing hot sun.

And still you would not hear a murmur, only “when are we going to have another go at them?”

It used to turn me sick at times to see the dreadful pieces of human bodys lying about, with a head rolling without a body, legs and arms all over the place.

Often I have taken cover behind our own dead. As Mr Turk was having a shot at you, the bullet would plunk in the body in front of you.

Oh Gill, this was hell on earth for if hell can be worse but I really think that it can’t be worse. …

What more can be said.

35 comments on “Anzac Day – 100 years ”

  1. adam 1

    “In 1915 the Turkish Government began and ruthlessly carried out the infamous general massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia Minor. Three or four hundred thousand men, women, and children escaped into Russian territory and others into Persia or Mesopotamia; but the clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act, on a scale so great, could well be. It is supposed that about one and a quarter millions of Armenians were involved, of whom more than half perished. There is no reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions, cherishing national ambitions that could only be satisfied at the expense of Turkey, and planted geographically between Turkish and Caucasian Moslems. It may well be that the British attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula stimulated the merciless fury of the Turkish Government. Even, thought the Pan-Turks, if Constantinople were to fall and Turkey lost the war, the clearance would have been effected and a permanent advantage for the future of the Turkish race would be granted.”

    Full piece here – http://www.armenian-genocide.org/churchill.html

    • Murray Rawshark 1.1

      I think Churchill downplayed the extent of it. I’ve seen figures of over 1.5 million Armenians, as well as over 750,000 Assyrians, and over 950,000 Turks. Yet we worship Kemal Ataturk as part of the Anzac myth. What he did makes our heroes’ sins at Surafend disappear in the shadows. He was far bloodier than Saddam Hussein, or even Osama bin Laden. Ataturk belongs with Hitler.

      • adam 1.1.1

        I agree Murray – a thoroughly freighting period in history, and we all but ignore it. Hitler, Stalin and Ataturk – evil sick twisted men, who killed millions.

  2. Kevin 2

    ‘Lest We Forget’

    Why is the voting public understand these three simple words, but politicians do not?

    • With our troops back in the old Ottoman Empire as an appendage of Anglo force and, without any apparent irony, being referred to as the “Sons of Anzacs” by the Australian PM along with his certainty that New Zealand defence forces “will give a fine account of themselves”.

      100 years ago it was the British Empire and Churchill’s folly, this time its America with Bush, Blair and Obama the fools.
      Then as now, it’s imperialism, regional dominance and oil.

      It’s been 100 years and as a nation, this is the year we forgot the lessons of Gallipoli.

      • Skinny 2.1.1

        It is a very sad day remembering the brave souls who lost their lives. A hundred years on sending our troops back over there is a bloody insult to the fallen dead. Tories failed us then and fail us now.

        I hope the battle of Passchendaele gets as much recognition for the stupidity of war.

        • Dave

          I almost think the dawn service should have been on the day we left the shores of Turkey. Those poor buggers.

          • Murray Rawshark

            That would make a lot more sense to me, except that we are trained to see riding into the valley of the shadow of death as heroic. Retreating from it is somehow ignoble.

            • Dave

              Given the situation they were in, the fact that Sir Andrew Hamilton managed to extricate the kiwis without losing a life, I mark that as an exceptionally classy manoeuvre. Possibly the only good bit about the whole affair.

              • Murray Rawshark

                The rest of it was absolute rubbish militarily, but only the British are allowed to commemorate military defeats like Dunkirk. We get to commemorate jumping to serve empire, not leaving after a heavy defeat.

  3. freedom 3

    The War of Peace

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They said lay down the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    We went to burn the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They said don’t touch the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They carried off the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They built much stronger drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They’re pounding on the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    Do you not hear the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    It never stops the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They march again the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    They never rest the drums of war

    I thought we fought to fight no more
    That silence caught the drums of war
    I thought we fought to fight no more


    • Chooky 3.1

      +100….a time to remember the tragedy of war …and strive for peaceful resolution of conflict

  4. joe90 4

    The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    and builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him. Behold,
    A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
    Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

    Wilfred Owen

  5. Atiawa 6

    Spare a thought or two for those brave men & woman who opposed war and conscription.

    • Philip Ferguson 6.1

      In relation to the comments at the start of this piece, they didn’t simply “land” on the Gallipoli peninsula, they invaded it. And they came specifically as invaders.

      Imagine if the Japanese had’ve stormed up Brighton beach or Bethells Beach or some other NZ beach in WW2, and were eventually beaten off. Would people here welcome them back to ‘commemorate’ their invasion, let them have monuments to how they invaded this country, and turn up every year to remind everyone about it?

      I doubt it very much.

      Despite the kind of liberal political correctness that is part of the reworking of Anzac Day, there’s still a good bit of white imperialist entitlement about it.

      A couple of plugs:

      Gallipoli invasion – a dirty and bloody business: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/gallipoli-invasion-a-dirty-and-bloody-business/

      The absurdity and obscenity of Gallipoli – three NZ writers accounts: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/the-absurdity-and-obscenity-of-gallipoli-three-new-zealand-writers-accounts/

      And, of course, just the previous year, NZ invaded Samoa and ruled it as a colony for the next near-50 years, carrying out the Black Saturday massacre, and caring so little for Samoan lives that thousands died during the influenza epidemic after the war: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/samoa-what-new-zealand-did/

      Then the NZ state compounded its disgraceful behaviour in relation to Samoa: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/depriving-samoans-of-immigration-and-citizenship-rights/

      • idlegus 6.1.1

        i don’t want to be too cynical but maybe its good for turkeys tourism market? i know all the hotels are full this time of year.

        what astounds me is the type of message on FB ‘they fought so i would have freedom’ & i want to shake them ‘they lost resoundingly at gallipoli, so no, it did not ensure your freedom you egg’.

        also another great quote from FB ‘it brought tears to my eyes hearing the last stand being played in (whatever) cafe i was in’. ’bout sums it up.

    • jenny kirk 6.2

      Yes – Atiawa – these are important stories as well. Those Waikato Maori men were incarcareted at North Head, Takapuna for the duration of WW1 – and their stories buried with them. A piece of our history which needs to be more widely known about.

  6. mac1 7


    Fairfax and the media can sometimes get it right. The link is to a Soapbox in a small circulation community newspaper which offers a different perspective on war.

    “Wartime- courage comes in many forms.”

    Credit to the paper for running an unpopular view for some, and credit also to the group who organised the exhibition of the anti-war posters and got the paper on side, and also the the members of the public with their supportive vox pops.

    Tolerance and good-will, thoughtfulness and positive action live in small-town, rural New Zealand.

  7. Clemgeopin 8

    Lest we forget this bizarre behaviour from Key and this Government:

    “What on earth was the New Zealand Defence Force thinking when it snuck its New Zealand contingent of Iraq-bound soldiers out of the country unannounced and without a public farewell, almost on the eve of Anzac Day?

    The Kiwi contingent were flown across to Australia to join up with their Aussie counterparts who received a very public farewell from their Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, just hours after the New Zealanders’ arrival.

    The NZDF press release belatedly announcing the departure of the New Zealand troops was likely only sparked by Australian media reports announcing that the Kiwis would be at the ceremony.

    That would have raised uncomfortable questions about the silence on this side of the Tasman about our troop movements compared with Australia, where that information was public knowledge.

    The suggestion that Kiwi troops were at the farewell would have raised even more difficult questions about why the Australian government was happy to fly the flag at their deployment, while our own government greeted their departure with silence.

    NZDF’s answer to that potential embarrassment appears to have been an instruction to Kiwi troops based at Brisbane’s Gallipoli barracks to stay away from the farewell ceremony.

    Someone may have forgotten to tell Abbott and his ministers, however; they delivered speeches drawing heavily on the joint New Zealand-Australia bond, suggesting they were under the impression they were farewelling our troops as well as their own.

    It seems unthinkable that our troops were forced to skulk around in the background on the eve of a long and arduous deployment to one of the most dangerous regions on earth.

    NZDF’s excuse is that the deployments are kept secret for security reasons. That seems lame given that the first leg of the deployment only took the troops across the Tasman, especially given Australia’s contrasting approach.

    It will be a sombre moment when Key and Abbott stand side by side at Gallipoli to mark the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings. As always, the event will serve as a stark reminder of the human cost of war. And as Afghanistan tragically demonstrated, today’s soldiers continue to put a modern day face to that human cost.

    It would have been fitting to acknowledge that by publicly paying our respects.”

    From the article in this link:


  8. Clemgeopin 9

    Read the real history of Gallipoli and the cause of war here:


    • aerobubble 9.1

      The goal of war is regime change. The ottoman empire collapsed thanks to Gallipoli.

  9. adam 10

    Another Winston – Peters this time. Who I’m not a fan of – let’s be honest. But credit, where credit is due.

    This is well worth the read. And thank you Mr Peters for saying it.


    • Clemgeopin 10.1

      Excellent article!

      He ends it poignantly as follows:

      “It’s important to remember April 25th not as a glorious occasion for flag waving and sabre rattling but as a time to remember the terrible price we paid in a war not of our making in a far off land.

      Present day political leaders comfortable behind their protection squads talking about “splendid sons of ANZAC” heading off to Iraq will learn that history is a very harsh teacher. New Zealand and Australia can only properly remember the dead, and the price they paid, by not condemning the living to a similar fate.”

    • Murray Rawshark 10.2

      That’s pretty good for Winnie.

  10. Clemgeopin 11

    Andrew Little’s email message and video from Gallipoli :

    ” I’m writing to you this Anzac Day from Gallipoli.

    One hundred years ago today, New Zealand troops, alongside their Allied partners, landed here at the Gallipoli Peninsula, marking the start of one of the bloodiest military campaigns of our country’s history.

    A fifth of the Kiwis who landed that day would not survive the campaign, and thousands more were injured.

    While I’ve been here, I have met with the families of those who died. They recount stories of their fallen loved ones, and speak with pride about the bravery of these soldiers and the strength with which they endured this terrible war.

    Today, Caitlin Papuni-McLellan delivered a moving speech at ANZAC Cove about her great uncle, Private Kueri Papuni, who died at Gallipoli on August 6, 1915. It was my honour to be entrusted to bring Caitlin and her family Private Papuni’s 1967 Gallipoli Medallion from New Zealand with me.

    Private Papuni’s family are just one of thousands who today are remembering the loved ones they lost. They are not alone. Both home and abroad, tens of thousands of us have united in Remembrance at Anzac memorial services.

    For New Zealanders, the Gallipoli Campaign has become a symbol of our involvement in armed conflict – from the wars of the last century, to our recent important work as peacekeepers and in helping rebuild damaged nations.

    But Gallipoli also helped us forge a national identity – it was on this distant peninsula that so many paid a terrible price to take the first steps toward us becoming an independent nation.

    My team have made a short video to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli Campaign. It’s a moving tribute to those who gave their lives and what ANZAC Day means to Kiwis today. If you’d like to watch it, please

    click on this button for a two minute video

    On this major anniversary of one of the defining moments in our country’s history, we come together in remembrance and respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are united too in the hope we are never again subjected to horrors and losses like those suffered in Gallipoli.

    Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll join me in taking a moment to remember those who died and the legacy they left us as a nation. As New Zealanders.

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

    Lest we forget.

    Andrew Little
    Leader of the Opposition “

    • Murray Rawshark 11.1

      That’s terrible from Little. Gallipoli did not forge our national identity. It showed that we were blindly loyal to the British Empire and had no notion of what being a sovereign nation meant. FJK sending troops to Iraq shows that heaps of us still don’t have a clue.

  11. Mark Freeman 12

    Not a bad speech from Little, wonder who wrote it? Not sure how he reconciles it with him being a Union owned man, what with the Unions’ actions of sabotage during wartime leading probably to greater death & destruction of their countrymen. Lest We Forget….

    • Levi 12.1

      Yes, because it is those who fight for the working man and woman who are the real enemy. How about putting on those jackboots and doing a little goosestep .

      • Murray Rawshark 12.1.1

        “How about putting on those jackboots and doing a little goosestep .”

        I doubt if he needed telling. Sabotage in wartime mainly comes from capitalists firms, who supply materiel that doesn’t fit the specifications, who falsify performance reports for equipment, who take advantage of monopoly positions to overcharge for goods. Look at the crap Halliburton supplied to Iraq as one example.

        Any workers who resist war are heroes. Any capitalists who profit from it are scum.

  12. https://willsheberight.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/lest-we-forget/

    It is worthwhile remembering Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s famous words. Not many nations so graciously host the graves of foreign troops as the Turks do ours and the Australians.

  13. finbar 14

    Its the brave souls, that is the most insult, most conscript.Prior to the great slaughter that was imperialist arrogance at its most class arrogance,their apparently was a survey done here and also OZ,asking would you fight for King and country,most replied no.Hence conscription of these brave souls we now pay homage too.

    Its the mind set of war right or wrong that our children are getting brain washed to celebrate.

    I was at the library yesterday and out side was a bus load of Primary school kids sitting above a arch that says Lest We Forget ,and their was four teachers laying it all out to these kids.Don!t get me wrong the second world war was a just battle,not the horror that a arrogant inhuman class and culture by threat had enforced on its people in the first world slaughter.

  14. Murray Rawshark 15

    Anzac Day doesn’t mean a lot to me, at least as it’s represented. It has become a celebration of militarism where empty speeches about freedoms fought for are made by the same politicians who vote away our freedoms today. I can see a case for returned soldiers and their families getting together, but the politicians responsible for so many deaths on all sides should butt right out.
    I’d rather commemorate things like Te Tiriti, the eight hour day (non-existent in 2015), universal suffrage (also now non-existent), and the right to not have our lives spied on by the state (oops, also gone). In short, if we are going to commemorate anything, scum like Key and Abbott should not be allowed near it. They should not get the chance to be mates with a country that still denies the Armenian holocaust.
    Surafend never again! My Lai never again!

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