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.
The tour has been visiting some of the famous sites of the old city including the Hippodrome, Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. These grand and glorious monuments tell us much of Istanbul's long history. This city is the former capital of three successive empires Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
It turns out that Rod Stewart, one of our fellow travellers on the tour, is also a fellow blogger. Rod's grandfather Edward John Howells served at Gallipoli where he was evacuated injured.
Reaching Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the objective of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. An objective that failed. The battlefield tour, however, managed to arrive safely at Istanbul airport in high spirits and only slightly crumpled from the long flight. We checked into the Marmara hotel to ‘freshen up' and in the afternoon we set off to cruise on the Bosphorus followed by a visit to the Egyptian Spice Market.
Those of us travelling with the Memorial on the Gallipoli battlefield tour arrived in Istanbul today following a long journey from our various home ports. On a flight of over 22 hours it is inevitable that conversations would be struck and I met several Australians also travelling to Gallipoli. For the first leg of the trip I sat next to an Australian Vietnam war veteran. He was planning on touring the battlefields and to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.
The Memorial's annual battlefield tour commences this Sunday with several members of the Memorial preparing to set off for the trip. Ashley Ekins, Head of the Military History Section will lead our Gallipoli tour and Nick Fletcher, Senior Curator in Heraldry and Technology will lead the Western Front tour. We will be walking many of the historic battle sites and commemorating Anzac Day with the Dawn Service at Gallipoli and the Australian National Ceremony at Lone Pine. This year is the 90th anniversary of many major battles fought in 1918.