The battle field tour, following a strategic withdrawal from Gallipoli, is now touring the battlefields of France. Reinforced with fresh recruits from Australia we travelled to Normandy and viewed the Bayeux Tapestry and then on to the site of the Second World War D Day landings.
Blog: Battlefield Tours
This is the final post for our 2008 Simpson Prize blog, with some reflections on the trip, as we all try and settle back into 'normal' life. The trip is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime expereince and we were lucky to share it with such a special group of people. Like all travel, it's often the connections that you make with people that are the highlights, more than where you go. However, going to Turkey and being at Gallipoli for Anzac Day certainly combines the place and the people in a great way.
Pearl McGill's great uncle died of wounds on Anzac Day and is buried at Plugge's Plateau. Private George Bell of the 11th Battalion was killed in action on 25th April, 1915. He was 28 years old and the son of Jane McFadyen Bell. Pearl is the first person from the family to come back and visit his grave. We were moved when Pearl shared his story with us and read some prayers.
The tour visited Shrapnel Valley Cemetery in the late afternoon and were touched by the sad expression of loss on the grave of Private John Edward Barclay of the 8th Battalion. He was killed in action on the 21 June 1915 and was the husband of Louisa Mary Barclay. He is buried at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery Anzac.
The Walk from Chunuk Bair down Rhododendron Ridge to the northern outposts gave the tour an appreciation of the difficulty of the terrain around this area of the peninsula.
Our last morning in Turkey has finally arrived as we work out how to stuff everything into already bulging bags and spend our remaining lira. The final day yesterday included a visit to the beautiful Chora Church which features mosaics depicting the life of the Virgin Mary. Being a Sunday it was a little easier to get around Istanbul without the usual crazy traffic.
A couple of days after the landing on the 25th April 1915 the weather turned bitterly cold for the ANZACs dug in at Gallipoli. Having been blessed with the weather so far, the battlefield tour received a good dose of what it would have been like for the diggers in 1915.
ANZAC Cove is the name given to this stretch of the west coast of the Turkish Peninsula where the Australians and New Zealanders made their landing on the 25 April 1915. The landing marked the start of an eight month campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The ANZACs under General Birdwood were to make the northern landing. Once ashore they were to press inland.The Battlefield tour took a boat trip yesterday to the coast where the ANZACs made their famous landing on the morning of Sunday 25 April.
Wednesday - To Helles and back
Following our exploration of the ANZAC part of the Gallipoli campaign, we moved to Cape Helles to look at the battles that took place at the south of peninsula. A visit to the British Memorial reminded us of the significant naval presence and the huge number of British troops involved in the battles for Krithia. At the top of the cliff we looked down onto V Beach where the River Clyde beached and the British troops were cut down as they tried to establish a beachhead.
Homer described the location of the city of Troy as situated at the entrance of the Dardanelles. The Gallipoli campaign was fought a few kilometres from the site of the ancient city. The historical connections between the ancient and modern battlefields were not lost on the Australians fighting in this region. Many ANZACs found pieces of ancient pottery when tunnelling into the hills.The battlefield tour took the opportunity to walk through the ruins of this ancient city and to take some group photographs. We are divided into two groups Green (top) and Gold (bottom).