ANZAC Day 2010
By CDR Garin Golding RNZN, Contingent Commander at Gallipoli
After the Dawn Service at the ANZAC Commemorative Site, we walked from the site up to Chunuk Bair through the battlefield. The track is significant because it was the route taken by the New Zealand units during the August offensive on Chunuk Bair.
The trail starts at the foot of Outpost Number Two. On the evening of 6 August 1915, the Maori Contingent performed the hymn Au e ihu, immediately prior to the commencement of the assault. Ninety five years on, the NZDF contingent re-enacted this event with our Cultural Group singing the same hymn. This was followed by a karakia, and WGCDR Marshall read the Chief of Air Forces’ message outlining the details of the helicopter accident in New Zealand earlier that day [see NT 154 May]. This was the first time most of our contingent learned of the losses; it was a very emotional moment.
The track to Chunuk Bair traverses key landmarks. Table Top, the halfway stage of the walk, is where part of the Maori Contingent, attached to the Wellington Mounted Rifles, conducted the first Maori attack in an overseas war—a silent assault against the Turkish troops holding the position. The post was successfully captured, the Maori celebrating their achievement with a rousing haka, which was reportedly heard throughout the valley. Our Cultural Group performed a silent version (actions only) of the NZDF haka; silent out of respect to our Turkish hosts, who are sensitive about the haka’s performance on the peninsula.
The track follows the Rhododendron ridgeline up to Chunuk Bair, made famous by Colonel Malone and his Wellington Battalion. Malone held his forces there on 7 August, refusing an order to continue with a daylight attack (he considered it suicidal after witnessing the disastrous outcome of the Auckland Battalion’s earlier assault). On the night of 7–8 August he successfully captured and held Chunuk Bair (albeit briefly).
Our walk ended with a karakia at Chunuk Bair, the significant landmark on the Gallipoli peninsula for all New Zealanders. It was our defining battle in that ill-fated campaign—the highest point captured by allied forces, and where our primary memorial is now located.
The walk was a period of reflection for our contingent, treading over the same ground as our ancestors, while paying respects to our fallen comrades—both past and present.
By POMT(P) David Griffith
Anzac Day saw the Ships’ companies of HMNZ Ships ENDEAVOUR and TE KAHA attend a dawn ceremony at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore where we had the opportunity to remember those who had served and fallen before us. More than 1,500 people attended, including official guests from diplomatic, defence and other organisations. Others from our ships had travelled the day before to Kuala Lumpur for the Dawn Service in Malaysia’s capital.
I’m a Lateral Recruit, so Anzac Day is still a new experience for me. Early in the day, as many of us as possible got into our whites and met up with crews from HMA ships ANZAC and SUCCESS and made the climb up the hill to the Kranji War Memorial. It was dark, but as the sun rose I think all of us were moved as we saw all the rows of white headstones around us and back down the hill. After the main ceremony, the ships’ Kapa Haka group sang their tribute, which was clearly appreciated by the veterans.
After the service, members of our ships’ companies walked quietly amongst the graves, paying their respects. It became apparent to a great many of us, just how much we had in common with the young men and women buried theres—an 18 year-old gunner here, a 21 year-old Killick stoker there; sailors the same as us, who more than likely had the same naval sense of humour and values and probably enjoyed the same runs ashore with their messmates.
This Anzac Day a lot of us made the connection and realised the reasons for all the training and learning how to ‘fight’ our ship. We train to do our job well, if the circumstances require, just like the lads at Kranji had.
La Nouvelle Caledonie
Commander Joint Forces NZ, Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell led the 203 Defence Force personnel deployed for Exercise CROIX DU SUD in Anzac Day commemorations in New Caledonia.
On Saturday a group of around 50 personnel drawn from all three Services departed HMNZS CANTERBURY for the ceremony at Bourail, where New Zealand’s Pacific War dead are buried. Set in beautiful surroundings, Bourail War Cemetery is the final resting place for 256 Kiwis who gave their lives in the South Pacific campaign.
People of all ages were present to honour those who had fallen, and those who served. As we stood in the heat of the day we heard how our men had fought and women had helped with the sick and wounded. The ceremony ended with Navy and Army personnel performing a haka, and receiving in return a song from the young school children who had attended the ceremony.
On Sunday, Anzac Day, all onboard CANTERBURY were up early for the dawn service to be held on board. With personnel from HMAS MANOORA, the French Navy, locals and expatriates, we were expecting up to 450 to attend.
The service was conducted by Chaplain Peter Olds RNZN, in English, and Father Bertrand Lorentz (of the French Armed Forces) in French. There were two honour guards, one from CANTERBURY and the other from the French Navy. Our guests included the Mayor of Noumea, the New Zealand and Australian Consul Generals, representatives of the French Government, the Commander FANC, local school-children and representatives from the French veterans association.
As dawn broke we all stood with pride to commemorate the events of 95 years ago and those of more recent years. All three nations were standing together again, remembering those who had worn the uniform before us and realising the big shoes we are now filling, here and around the world.
In London over 3000 came to The NZ Memorial in Hyde Park Corner for the Dawn Service, which was followed by a wreath laying at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and a service in Westminster Abbey.
Anzac Day in Europe is almost as significant as it is back in NZ; this year Anzac Day dawned brisk and clear as 39 of our Defence Force personnel (20 from the LONGLOOK contingent) marched to remember those who fought at Gallipoli and in all our campaigns since. The service was led by Principal Naval Chaplain Wayne Toleafoa, with readings by His Excellency Mr Derek Leske, the High Commissioner for New Zealand, and Brigadier Phil Gibbons, Head of the NZ Defence Staff. The readings stressed the sacrifice and commitment of the men who fought and died at Gallipoli, and set the tone for a truly moving ceremony.
Many of the participants then joined our NZDF personnel at the wreath laying service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall. This is one of only two occasions each year when Whitehall is closed for a service [the other being 11 November, Armistice Day].
The crowd gathered again, this time in Westminster Abbey, for the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark Anzac Day. This year the New Zealand Flag was borne by Sub Lieutenant Jarrod Austin RNZN, who acknowledged it was an honour for him and a proud moment.
Anzac Day is remembered not only in London. This year NZDF personnel represented New Zealand and our Defence Force at nine other services across the United Kingdom and seven services in Europe: Edinburgh, Brocken Hurst, Cannock Chase, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Belgium (Messines), Gothenburg and Warsaw. These services (and others) take place each year to honour the original ANZACs and the New Zealanders and Australians who contributed so much to freedom and peace in Europe.
For any past or present serviceperson visiting the UK or Europe over Anzac Day, you are welcome to register with NZDS in London and we can ensure that you are able to participate in some of these distinctive commemorations of Anzac Day.
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