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.
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.
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).
There are only five known Aboriginal servicemen buried at Gallipoli, however, it is estimated that 500-800 Aboriginal diggers served in the First World War. Ethnicity was not recorded in the enlistment process and research into indigenous service can involve trawling across many different sources, sometimes we may never know who these servicemen were.
Stepping on two continents
It's great to see that the concept of quiet Sunday morning traffic exists in other places around the world. Leaving Istanbul was quick and simple, even though we got an idea of just how big a city of 16 million people can be. A drive through green countryside was very pleasant, noting the complete lack of fences and many shepherds with sheep and goats. The boy from Kingaroy has seen plenty of tractors in his time in Australia, but out in the paddocks, not cruising down the road like they do here.
For all Australians, ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance and commemoration. Looking back to the landing at Gallipoli at dawn on 25th April 1915, what is extraordinary is the speed with which that day became known as ANZAC Day in Australia. The event was so significant that within less than a year the Returned Services Association of New South Wales was raising funds for an ANZAC Day Memorial, and the Queensland Department of Public Instruction had already published a text for students entitled ‘ANZAC Day'.
On the journey from Istanbul to the Dardanelles the Battlefield tour noticed this striking memorial on the slopes of the Kilitbahir Plateau. In English it translates to:
The ground you tread on, unawares,
Once witnessed the end of a generation.
Listen in this quiet earth
Beats the heart of a nation.
Every year, as ANZAC Day approaches, people become curious about ANZAC biscuits. Maybe it's because the thought of them is a delectable relief to the sombreness of that day and all that it represents.But it is easy to make mistakes about ANZAC biscuits, strangely enough. The biscuit that most of us know as the ANZAC biscuit is a sweet biscuit made from rolled oats and golden syrup. These must not be confused with that staple of soldiers' and sailors' rations for centuries, the hardtack biscuit.