Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The date marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. The objective was to capture Constantinople. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). The war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on.
At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated. Both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The casualities numbered 21,255 from the UK including 4,000 Irish soldiers from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, almost 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, 1,358 from India and 57,000 of the Ottoman Army.
News of the landing at Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders. Today many of them commemorate the sacrifice of those who died in various conflicts but at the same time they are all too aware of war’s potential futility. I think my relatives in Australia and New Zealand including Maureen, Sandra, Louise and Liz will appreciate the following version of Waltzing Matilda.
One World, One Nation