Blog: Battlefield Tours
Today was a sad day for us all. Leaving the Gallipoli peninsula and leaving behind all those boys from all nations is difficult. We as a group have paid our respects and honoured the men from all sides. It is hard in such a short time, to give a full perspective of the campaign but I am sure that the students and teachers alike are leaving with a new sense of what Gallipoli means and what it was all about.
Today was the day, the culmination of our trip and a chance for us to commemorate the lives, the service and the sacrifice of the Australians we have been learning about for the past days. It also gives the students an oppurtunity to contribute to this national commemoration. The dawn was mild again this year and only needed the sleeping bag for comfort not warmth. It is a long day but rewarding and especially for the students and an experience and memory that will last a lifetime. Rachel played a special part in the ceremony today;
Today was an opportunity for us to have a shorter day in preparation for the ANZAC day activities. We spent the day looking at other parts of the peninsula, making our way down to Suvla and spending more time talking about the Turkish experience. Looking at the experience of the Turkish and the conditions that the Turkish faced is an important way to provide a balance to the tour. It is always a challenge on this day because do security changes, road closures and dignitaries so we always have to play it by ear a little. Bryce reflected on today;
Today is an interesting day for the kids. we spend sometime exploring further but the spend the afternoon rehearsing for ANZAC Day. The department of Veterans Affairs is generous enough to provide a role for the student for the activities before the dawn service and then at the Lone Pine service later in the day. It is an amazing opportunity for them. We started the day with a cruise that gives the perspective of what the Australians would seen when they landed at the beaches. We drifted of ANZAC cove and the formidable obstacle of the terrain is never more apparent.
Today we visited the ancient city of Troy for a taste of ancient history and a change of pace. We never truly detach from the Gallipoli campaign and even on our way to and from Troy we were able to talk about the naval campaign. There is no better way to understand the difficulties and the enormity of the task that lay ahead of the French and British navies than to stand at the Dardanos Battery and look down at the straits and the narrows. The afternoon was a chance for us to look at the role of the French and British at the landings and to visit the French cemetery at Cape Helles.
Today was an opportunity for us to walk the frontline. We had made an attempt to follow the ridge up from Shrapnel Valley cemetery but the wet in Turkey this year has been unusual and we were sunk at our first creek crossing or maybe more accurately bogged. This is one of the most intense days for the students with lots of information about the campaign and plenty of walking. For those of you who have been here before or have time to look at a map, we walked from Lone Pine to Baby 700 and then from Chunuk Bair down Rhododendron Ridge to Embarkation Pier.
Please excuse the lateness of this blog, wifi has not been the easiest of things to negotiate.
Today, the 20th of April, was one of the most significant days of the tour. We bundled the students on the bus early in the morning so that we could drive down to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The significance is not for how much we can pack into the day or the activities we do but it is the first site and experience of the peninsula and the first time we get to hear the stories that have built the ANZAC legend.
Today was spent like most days on this trip, flat out from dawn until dusk. The group is learning more about each other and really bonding well. I think over the years, everyday in Turkey I learn something new. Sometimes that is about the country, sometimes the people and sometimes about myself. I have watched these young adults and the way they have embraced the culture here, the way of life and tried valiantly to squeeze every drop out of the experience. It is inspiring and makes me wish I had their enthusiasm and maturity when I was their age.
A quick note from me before we hear from Jack. Our first day in Istanbul is an opportunity to expose the students to Turkish culture and its place in the world. It is a crucial part of the trip and gives the students Ann understanding who the people are and how that Gallipoli experience has shaped this nation as much as Australia. It is a time where we can encourage the students to think about the position of those men and that nation 100 years ago who were at that time the enemy.