On 25 April 2015 Australians and New Zealanders around the world mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings on Gelibolu peninsula. For Daughter and I it will have a very special meaning – my Grandfather and her Great Grandfather fought at Gelibolu as part of the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 1st Division (although the terrain at Gelibolu was deemed unsuitable for mounted troops after the initial loss of lives his regiment was sent into battle as reinforcements in May 1915). More so Daughter’s Great, Great Grandfather on her father’s side fought and died at Gallipoli when the first wave of troops landed at ANZAC Cove.
I did not get the opportunity to meet my Grandfather Leslie Vivian Morgan. He passed away long before I arrived on the scene. I do not have any photographs of him and I do not have anything personal to hold but I do have my mother’s memories in my heart. Memories of a man who fought bravely at Gallipoli for his country. She spoke of his bravery and his sacrifice and gave thanks to him and to his “brothers in arms” so that we could grow up in a country of peace and prosperity.
Now 100 years on I thought it would be a fitting memorial to my Grandfather and, of course, to my mother to attend at the commemoration on ANZAC Day. Sadly in January I found out that I was 18 months too late to apply for tickets. It also seemed that as we do not live in Australia we are ineligible to apply anyway. “But hold on! I live in Turkiye! And my Grandfather fought at Gallipoli! Surely that has some merit?” Hayir!
As much as I could kick myself for not investigating how to obtain tickets earlier I am also so proud of how many Australians want to be there to recognise the service and the sacrifice made by so many men all those years ago.
As I do each year on 25 April I will be up at dawn. There is no dawn service here in Mersin so I will walk down to the beach, close my moist eyes and, in my mind, I will hear that lone trumpeter play The Last Post. I will think of my Grandfather and all those boys, those men, both the Mehmets and the Johnnies, who lost their lives fighting for you and me.
Lest We Forget.
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A lovely tribute to your family, Jane. I often attend our local dawn service on Anzac Day. Lest We Forget.
I think it’s better to visit the site without the crowds. Choose a day in the Autumn when you’ll have time for private remembrance.
. . as a former professional airborne soldier I would take nothing away from the courage and loss of those who fought (and still fight). What I would take issue with is who and what they fought for – king or queen or president or country? Assuredly not – it has always been for profit – control of resources and trade routes. There has probably only been two true ‘humanitarian wars’ – that fought by India to stop the genocide of the Pakistan military in what was then east Pakistan and the intervention by the Vietnamese to put an end to the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Very few are aware that the British and Aussie SAS were deployed secretly to train Pol Pots murderers because it was politically expedient to win a friend and block Soviet and Chinese influence in the region. There is nothing noble about wars were workers fight each other for the benefit of the few – the elite.
That said, those who grieve for those killed and maimed and those who have taken their own lives because of the trauma of war, those who weep for lost love and lost children whether is OZ, Turkey, UK, US, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia or Palestine have my deepest sympathy and empathy.
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You don’t need a special day as a reminder. Every day is.
Another Time….. Another Place……
Your tears will dry, Your Heart will mend, …..and you will dance again.