For many European and American readers Gallipoli will mean very little – so please let us Kiwi cats explain this important part of our New Zealand heritage. We will try to be brief but hope to give you the important details in this Anzac Centenary post.
On the 25th of April 1915 the Anzacs – Australian and New Zealand servicemen – went ashore as part of an initiative to distract attention away from the stalemate at the Western Front in Europe. The British thought an attack from an unexpected direction would help, intending to free the Bosphorous and Dardanelles straits which would allow ships to take munitions to the, then friendly, Russians and allow Russian ships to leave the Black Sea.
What actually happened
The Gallipoli expedition was a costly failure with 2,779 NZ forces dead and 4,852 wounded. Australian losses were also heavy with 8,709 reported dead. The Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) lost a massive 87,000 men in the 260 day campaign.
The Centenary 2015
The 25th of April is, therefore, the most important time for New Zealand and Australia to commemorate servicemen lost. It is the equivalent of Armistice Day in Europe – 11th of November. Servicemen and women are honoured on the this day each year – and the centenary gives this added emotional depth for all Kiwis.
Many thousands of New Zealanders have been allocated places at the official celebrations in Turkey itself and will travel to the Gallipoli Peninsula for a service and commemorative events. Here in New Zealand many citizens, old and young alike, will gather at local war memorials to honour the war dead of this terrible campaign begun on the dawn of that day 100 years ago. Our post goes live at that time to honour the fallen.
Further reading :-
- Detailed map and explanation of Gallipoli – ANZACS
- If you have time – a set of brief videos explaining Gallipoli.
- The significance of Anzac Day.
- Images and video of the 2015 Wellington Gallipoli Dawn Service.