The Simpson Prize is a competition for high school students from around Australia, with a winner from every state and territory getting the opportunity to travel to Turkey and attend the services on ANZAC Day at Gallipoli.
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.
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.
The first action by the Allies against the Ottomans began as a naval operation and occurred here on the Dardanelles. On the 18 March a large British and French fleet of 18 war ships advanced towards the Narrows, hoping to put the forts that defended the Dardanelles out of action, threaten Constantinople and open supply routes to Russia.The war operation began with preliminary bombardments of the Turkish forts in January and February 1915. The operation failed due to the impenetrable defences of this passage which included artillery and mines that were laid strategically in the narrows.
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.