NZDF personnel attended over 350 Anzac Day services all around the country and overseas, in Gallipoli, France, Belgium and Iraq to name a few.
This year marks 100 years since the first Anzac Day service. This year, there is a particular focus on the Western Front, where we suffered our greatest loss of life with more than 12,000 New Zealanders killed between 1916 and the end of the war.
Several thousand people turned out for the dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial on a clear, still Anzac Day morning in Wellington.
The crew of HMNZS OTAGO joined crowds of locals and other NZDF personnel for Dunedin's Dawn Service.
Thousands gathered at the Auckland War Memorial to pay their respects at the Dawn Service.
On Wellington's South Coast, chosen for it's likeness to the landscape of the Gallipoli Peninsular, sits the Ataturk Memorial. This stands as a symbol of a mutual respect between the people of Turkey and the two Anzac nations.
A crowd drew in close in the evening for a special extended version of the Last Post Ceremony held at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Three volleys rang out from the New Zealand Army firing party, and with music provided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force band and the New Zealand Secondary Schools choir the sun came down on Anzac Day here in New Zealand.
In France, a dawn service was held amongst the headstones of the 18 New Zealand soldiers buried in the Le Quesnoy Communal Extension Cemetery. The NZDF also conducted the Anzac National Commemorative Service at Caterpillar Valley ceremony in Longueval, France, on Saturday 23 April. Caterpillar Valley is significant as the frontline at the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. The New Zealand Battlefield Memorial is positioned at the first objective the New Zealand Division achieved on that day. The service was followed by a French-led march from the cemetery to the centre of Longueval for a wreath laying at their memorial.
In Belgium, The NZDF Western Front contingent conducted three Anzac Day services in Belgium; a Dawn Service at Buttes New British Cemetery near Zonnebeke, The New Zealand National Anzac Day Service at the New Zealand Memorial Park at Mesen/Messines which is the site of the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial and a service at Berkshire Cemetery Extension in Ploegsteert. In addition to these services, the NZDF contingent again joined with Australia and Belgium at the Menin Gate at 11.00am for a special Anzac Day Last Post ceremony, and later attended the regular Last Post ceremony at the Gate in Ieper.
In Iraq, New Zealand and Australian personnel gathered along with Coalition Forces to the commemorate our two nations' shared history with an Anzac Day Dawn Service at Taji Military Camp. For the men and women deployed overseas, Anzac Day is a poignant reminder of the heritage that underpins their service.
In Gallipoli, New Zealand and Australian personnel gathered for the dawn service at Anzac Cove.
On 13 May 1941, the launch Rawea attached a buoy to a German mine that had been caught in a fishing net eight miles north-east of Bream Head. Puriri and Gale were sent to deactivate it, and arrived in the area the next day. Gale sailed past the mine without seeing it, but Puriri, also not seeing the mine, struck it and sank quickly.
PURIRI was the only naval loss in NZ waters during the Second World War – the violent explosion sank the Puriri so quickly that no lifeboats could be launched.
HMS New Zealand
31 May 1916, Events across the land and sea will mark the 100th anniversary of the greatest naval battle fought in World War 1. The 100th anniversary of the battle will be the Royal Navy’s key Great War centenary commemoration. On Orkney, a national service of remembrance will be held in the impressive setting of St Magnus’ Cathedral, before proceedings move to Lyness Royal Navy Cemetery overlooking Scapa Flow.
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