Monday 28 October 2013

Gallipoli, Turkey

For both Australia and New Zealand, on April 25th every year, ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance. Initially it served to commemorate Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the Gallipoli campaign in the first World War, but it has evolved over time to become a memorial for all Australian and New Zealand lives lost in military operations.

I had the incredible opportunity to visit Turkey last month for work. Before my commitments began I had a single day free in my itinerary so, buoyed by a perfect solo day in London, I embraced the travelling alone thing and signed up for a day tour to Gallipoli. 

After five hours on a bus from Istanbul, a few quiet road stops and apple teas, we arrived at the Gallipoli peninsular. Brighton Beach, ANZAC Cove, the battlefields, the cemeteries. Rows and rows of headstones commemorating young soldiers that lost their lives here, the vast majority in their teens and early twenties. Some as young as sixteen lied about their age, just to get in on the idea of adventure. They couldn't have known what they were in for.

I sat for a time against the foot of a tree in the ANZAC trenches. It was quiet and peaceful, and unbelievably within sight of the Turkish trenches just ten or so metres away. I imagined soldiers trading for cigarettes, writing letters, waiting for their orders. Orders that promised to send these young boys home different men, if they made it home at all. 

The story of our ANZAC's has become a part of Australia's national identity. This war shaped the history and culture of Turkey too. Standing on that soil, feeling the weight of history, I was overwhelmed to reflect on the horrors of war faced here, such horrors that were met with solidarity, loyalty, mateship, ingenuity, guts and sheer determination. So many didn't come home.

What a humbling place and experience. 

Lest we forget.

Belinda x


  1. Oh wow, that blue sea! And what a powerful looking memorial. I didn't realize what Anzac day commemorates before (I've just always wanted to try an Anzac biscuit!) so thanks for sharing, so sad.


Thanks for your comment, so nice to hear from you. Belinda x

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