ANZAC Day: Lest we forget

Ceremony of remembrance at dawn, ANZAC Day 1940. The Citizens' War Memorial, Wellington . B E Pike 1939. Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand.

ANZAC Day  is a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia, held on 25 April every year to commemorate all those killed in war and to honour returned servicemen and women.

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in 1915, just eight months into World War I.

The troops met fierce resistance from the Turks and the campaign was to last a hard and bloody eight months.

Armistice day, Gallipoli, Turkey. Powles family Photographs. Ref: PA1-o-811-23-3. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Casualties were heavy and at one point the stench from rotting corpses in no-man’s-land became so bad that an armistice day was arranged for 24 May 1915 to allow both sides to bury their dead.
At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties with over 120,000 men dead; 86,000 Turks and 44,000 men from France and the British Empire.

Almost one in four of the New Zealanders that fought in the Gallipoli campaign lost their lives in the name of the British Empire.

Anzac Day was first marked in 1916 and has been a public holiday in New Zealand since 1921.

Ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride are held at war memorials around New Zealand, and overseas.

Lest we forget.

On a personal note; we are now very proud to live in New Zealand and last year my daughter (who attends a St John youth group) was asked to lay a wreath at the cenotaph in Cambridge.
It was a great honour for her and we were very proud parents.

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