Showing posts with label Dawn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn. Show all posts

26 April 2015

ANZAC Remembrance Day: WW100 - Gallipoli a century on


The ANZAC Dawn Service 2015 - A Century on from the Gallipoli Landings: Two Countries Remember



I attended the Wellington ANZAC Day Dawn Parade and Service at Pukeahu National War Memorial, marking a century since the ANZAC Landings at Gallipoli.


Tens of thousands of Kiwis have marked the centenary of the Gallipoli landings at Anzac Day dawn ceremonies around the country; whilst Australia did the same across the Tasman 3 hours later.

It was the first ever dawn service to be held at the newly-opened Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, which was packed beyond capacity, with 40,000 people turning up.


Press photograph (Stuff.co.nz) from the carillion tower

Nearby roads were closed to accommodate them and those determined to get a good view had been camping out on Buckle St since the early hours. My wife and I had booked a hotel room in the CBD to avoid traffic. Trains started running from Kapiti at 3 am. Jeanine and the children went ahead on Friday night. I was on call, and followed by train after 10pm when my call ended.

A 4 am start, getting Luc from Te Aro, and then off to Pukeahu. The streets were packed with people, emerging from their houses and making their way towards the memorial in a quiet, solemn migration.


Arriving at the memorial well before 5am, we could only get as close as the corner of Taranaki and buckle streets. Massive video screens were in place, as was a good PA system, so no-one missed anything. Particularly touching was the images of Wellington war casualties, from WW1 through to Afghanistan, that were shown on the screens while the crowd waited for the 5.30 start.



The start of the event was marked by a blast of the dawn gun. The parade and procession was led by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae who said the day was to "honour and remember all those who have served their country in all wars and, in particular, those who have lost their lives in executing that duty". The Governors-General from Australia and New Zealand both attended to mark 100 years since the combined forces landed at Gallipoli.

Australia's Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the Gallipoli landings had forged a special bond between the nations.

"Australians will never forget the gallantry of the New Zealanders. Today we stand side by side, from this dawn to dusk in New Zealand, Australia, and Turkey."

Lieutenant Colonel Ron Turner (retired) read the Ode of Remembrance. The crowed responded, "we will remember them", before observing a minute's silence.

As dawn broke the national anthem of Australia, followed by that of New Zealand, could be heard across the capital.


The Vice-Regal parties then rushed to catch a flight to Canberra, to attend Dawn services there; while members of the audience came forward to place poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Tea and ANZAC biscuits were made available in the Arras tunnel.


We opted to visit the Australian part of the memorial first, then the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. My intention was to then go up to the Dominion museum, still believing that the New Zealand room, where the Chanuk Bair ANZAC diorama is, was to open. I enquired from a guard, who said that the museum would open at 8am.


Red rock symbolising Australia, and Gum trees.






Just to double check I called up Roly's ANZAC diorama website, just to find out that the display was not opening for week, as Peter Jackson was not satisfied with some other  aspects of the experience yet.
I was glad to note Rhys Jones' invitation to have a personal tour before the official opening for those of us who had worked on the project.

I most certainly will take him up on this.

The NZ room is to open officially NEXT Saturday.








From the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior we went down into the Arras tunnel, where we were served Coffee and ANZAC biscuits.







We brushed shoulders with the Acting Prime Minister, Bill English (Minister of Finance) and the Mayor of Wellington with the French Ambassador.

This is one of the great things about New Zealand. How approachable, humble and down-to-earth people are.

Officials and politicians not afraid to have their coffee with the public, and from the same paper cups!



 

Wellington Regiment drums with battle honours inscribed on them 
(apologies for poor quality pics - poor lighting, and phone camera)


We grabbed breakfast at a nearby cafe, and then headed for Te Papa instead. 

Boy, was I impressed. The "Scale of Our War" exhibit takes you on an emotional journey that cannot leave you untouched. I was very impressed by the three dimensional visual map of the attack on Chanuk Bair, which brought the events to life for me.


(Photos again not great, taken with my phone, and no flash allowed.)





Photos cannot do the journey the exhibition takes you on justice. 
You have to experience it for yourself!

The display included the story of Lt Col William Malone, who was killed by "friendly" fire, probably from a NZ Howitzer and that of Percival Fenwick, a doctor at Gallipoli.

The latter was particularly poignant to me dued to our shared vocation. Interesting for me was that he had served in the Boer Wars, and thus been the enemy of my family's ancestors at some point.







I too had been called up to serve in the  Medical Corps in South Africa , but conscription ended the year that I finished my Internship, and I did not have to go. Most of my school classmates had already served in the armed forces, and several of my school friends paid the highest price.

I reflected on the futility of that particular war, and how useless the sacrifice of their young lives had been, and how they no longer receive the recognition of the country they died for. It probably is the subject of a different post, but I suspect that S. African war dead and veterans no longer get the recognition they deserve.

Not the case in New Zealand.

Lest we forget...







A diorama of the camp at Gallipoli. I am proud to say that the quality the painting on the figures in the ANZAC diorama is better than those in this diorama, presumably made by Weta workshop.






 The exhibition had many hands-on experiences, from firing a periscope rifle through to writing letters to the front, and trying on the headgear of the period. The lemon squeezer hat suited me best.









Original German Machine gun 


The ANZAC equivalent




The Chilling statistics:










...for you, who were our future