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 Centenary of Gallipoli

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PostSubject: Centenary of Gallipoli   Fri 24 Apr 2015, 11:54

Tomorrow, the 25th April marks the centenary of the Allied landings on the Gallipoli peninsula during World War One. The date is especially significant in Australia and New Zealand as it marked the combat debut of the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and is remembered annually in both of these countries.

Map of the Campaign;



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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:51

Landing at Anzac Cove:

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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Fri 24 Apr 2015, 22:31

In about ten minutes I am off to the AnzacDay service here - some are dawn ones, but ours is always at the sensible time of 10am.  I think we have some Major doing the speech part.  We are taking our four-year-old grandson who is staying with us, but I don't know whether he will cope with the whole hour, though he is a very well behaved child.  Will sit near the back.  At least this year, with so many other Anzac bits to report on, I won't have to take photos.

Anzac is the only game in town at the moment.  Because we in NZ (and Australia, I think) centre our war activities round Gallipoli this is the anniversary that is being particularly honoured here. (I read someone suggesting that perhaps Passchendale should be made more of, or even more so since it involved something good was our actions in Le Quesnoy.)  I think you could make a case for there being overkill.

Here in my little area, I have already been to one school and invited to another as they place 30 crosses at their school in a wee ceremony.  Thirty white crosses have been given to every school in the country I think, and the principal of the smallish primary school (about 120 pupils) I went to the other day said they had been delivered by a Ministry person.  I might have thought they would run out of enough Ministry people to do them all.

Yesterday I went up to the school for their service which involved the whole Year 1 - 13 school about 150 kids.  Who all kept completely silent as an audience.  Kapa haka performance, choir items, teachers singing, and classes telling the Gallipoli story in detail.  I am not sure about 6 year olds talking of the soldiers dying and now there being none left, but we have memories.  Or the insistence on no clapping. Or the mention of the Unknown Soldier whose identity is now known only to God.  However it was very well done, and we were given the details of the campaign, and information about the soldiers' lives and how they were affected.

Then on Sunday there is a parade in Balclutha 20 minutes from here which we will go to, though my son tells me the weather forecast is terrible, shame since we had very nice weather recently, frostly or foggy mornings following by lovely warm sunny days.  I am not sure what the parade consists of but I know people from here are taking horses.  I suppose we walk to the cenotaph.

Then on Monday there is a public holiday, confusing people a bit, since we haven't had one before.  On Anzac Day itself the shops etc are closed till 1pm, and there are no ads on television (one of only two or three days when we don't have advertising, the others being Good Friday and/or Easter Sunday).  A couple of years ago both Anzac Day and Waitangi Day fell at the weekend so people, already only having 11 public holidays a year, were miffed, so the government brought in Mondayising these when they fell at the weekend.  But they didn't seem to make a big song and dance of this so everyone was rather puzzled when they learnt of it. 

The libraries have been holding days where the kids make poppies, women have been knitting them all over the place, they are for sale on the streets the Friday 8 days before Anzac Day, and now I hear the library staff at Balclutha are wearing WWI nurses' uniforms at work.

And of course we are hearing stories of the war and Anzac on the new media constantly; our normal morning radio announcer is at Gallipoli, and our bigwigs over there now, of course.  As well as some relatives of former Gallipoli veterans.  And endless books are written about the war, some quite wonderful.  

I think if will be something of a relief when it is over. There's still new things to learn though.  I don't think most of had realised till this year that more Turks were killed than Allies.  My son and dil went to Gallipoli a couple of weeks ago and said that over 3 million Turks visit each year.  It tends to be thought of here as something that brought NZ to nationhood, and although there is an affection for Turkish people, helped by Attaturk's famous words, we don't always think of their casualties. (Today's radio had a big interview re the Armenian genocide which happened at the same time and rather dampens our love affair with Turkey.)
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sat 25 Apr 2015, 20:22

I had to look up 'Ataturk's famous words' because they are obviously more famous Down Under than Up Over. It's his tribute to the ANZAC dead at Gallipoli made in a speech given in 1934:

'Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.'

That's a remarkable level of magnanimity coming only 19 years after the event. To put it in context, it would be like Winston Churchill making a speech in 1959 praising the heroism of the Luftwaffe crews who died during the Battle of Britain and saying that they were no different to 'The Few'.

It's interesting to trace the relationship or 'love affair' with Turkey in the English-speaking world thru the generations over the last 100 years. A generation after Gallipoli and 35 years later, Turks were fighting as allies of Australians and New Zealanders in Korea. Specifically they were fighting alongside Americans notably at the Battle of Wawon in 1950. Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and the 'redoubtable' Turkish forces even warranted a special mention in Sir Cedric Hardwicke's narration of the 1953 film The War of the Worlds.

A generation later, however, in 1978 there was a particularly negative portrayal of Turkey in Alan Parker's film Midnight Express based on the account by Billy Hayes of his imprisonment there for drug smuggling. And 3 years later Peter Weir's film Gallipoli only has the Turks depicted as a generic 'enemy' in the action of the storyline.

Here we are 34 years and another generation on with Prince Charles and Prince Harry attending the commemorative events at the Dardenelles. It's worth noting that Ataturk's 1934 speech was specifically about the ANZAC dead, yet Great Britain & Ireland lost more dead than France, Australia, New Zealand and India combined during that campaign. And France lost more dead than Australia, New Zealand and India combined. Also noteworthy is (and away from the English-speaking world) that the French President Francois Hollande didn't attend the Gallipoli event but chose rather to attend the Armenian commemorations in Yerevan.
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 26 Apr 2015, 08:49

I think in modern France the whole Gallipoli campaign tends to be viewed as disaster and moreover a British-led disaster ... and of course there was also a lot happening closer to home on French soil. So not surprisingly then there has been little about the centenary in the French media, although the evening TV news did mention it combined with the ANZAC day commemorations held at Le Quesnoy and Villiers-Bretonneux. And yes as you say Viz, the French media has focussed much more on the centenary of the Armenian genocide (France has a very large ethnic Armenian population) and unlike the UK, France officially calls the massacres, 'genocide'.

The more negative way that Turkey was viewed (at least in Britain) in the late 1970s must also have been at least a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, no? (although the British relationship with Cyprus is/was also very complex).
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 26 Apr 2015, 12:14

It's viewed here as a disaster too, and also as a British-led disaster.  Le Quesnoy seems to be much more valued in France than in NZ, though it is becoming more known here, with people asking for donations to the memorial.  My historically-minded son and his wife went to Le Quesnoy and though they had no specific connection with it, they were invited to meet the mayor!  (They didn't have time, I seem to remember.)

On our radio today they had something from the Turkish point of view - I didn't hear it, but did hear some emails about it.  One said something like, "It wasn't a different viewpoint; it is the only viewpoint.  We invaded a sovereign state."  And then they had an programme and interview about cowardice, which I was interested in, being a distinct coward myself, and suspecting that my very gentle father might have shared this attribute a bit.  The programme was also about conscientious objectors, some of whom were far from cowardly, notably Otago's Archie Baxter who was sent to war against his wishes and put in a crucifix to view the battles.  They are thinking of putting up a memorial to him.  The American man interviewed mentioned a memorial somewhere honouring all those who have deserted in war, which is a nice idea to me. Last night we watched War Horse on television and they had two youngsters shot when one brother thought the only way to honour his promise to his mother to protect his very young brother was to leave the battlefield.  (Our NZ Listener review said no-one does spectacle better than Spielberg and no one does sentiment more either, which seemed a fairly accurate summary.)


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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 26 Apr 2015, 12:22

Another very minor but interesting point about casualties at Gallipoli was that some of the British dead were aged only 15 ... and these weren't lads that had lied about their age to join up, but were RN officer cadets deliberately sent there. While the minimum age to join the army was 18, at outbreak of war all RN officer cadets at Dartmouth aged 14 to 16 were mobilised to serve as part of the reserve fleet, comprised mostly of obsolete pre-dreadnought battleships hastily brought out of retirement. (RN officer cadets generally started at Dartmouth aged just 12 and would normally go to sea at 16).

About twenty 14 and 15 year old lads died in September 1914 when HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy were sunk in the North Sea, and the first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill was forced to defend the decision to send the boys to sea in the House of Commons. He explained to MPs: "It was felt that young officers of their age would be of great use on board His Majesty's ships, and that they would learn incomparably more of their profession in war than any educational establishment on shore could teach them."

And so midshipmen cadets were also sent on battleships to support the Gallipoli campaign. There were 15 year old midshipmen onboard both HMS Irresistible and HMS Inflexible when they struck mines and sank on 18 March but I'm not sure how many of these young cadets were killed. Then on 12 May HMS Goliath, whilst close inshore shelling Turkish positions, was torpedoed. 15 year old Wolston Weld-Forester, survived and described the how Goliath went down in just four minutes:

"Just before I struck the water my face hit the side of the ship. It was a horrid feeling sliding on my face down the slimy side, and a second later I splashed in with tremendous force, having dived about 30ft. Just as I was rising to the surface again a heavy body came down on top of me. I fought clear and rose rather breathless and bruised. I swam about 50 yards away to get clear of the suction when the ship went down. Then, turning round and treading water I watched her last moments."

Goliath took 570 crewmen down with her, including at least two young midshipmen. Best friends, Torquil MacLeod and Ronnie Faed were both still just 15 years of age:



Sub-lieutenant Philip van der Byl wrote this letter to Ronnie's parents:

"I am sure it will be some comfort to you to hear how much we all loved your son in the Goliath, and how much we miss him. He was the life and soul of the gunroom, and always most cheerful and optimistic. His best friend was (Torquil) Macleod, who also was drowned.

They always used to go ashore together and buy curios for you. He really was a charming boy, loved by all who knew him. On the night we were sunk he was sleeping outside my cabin, and I saw him when I turned out. He had got his safety waistcoat on, and was going quietly up the ladder on to quarter-deck. He seemed as cheerful as usual, and perfectly cool.

When I got on to deck a few seconds later he was just going-over the port side with two other 'snotties.' That was the last I saw of him, and I shall never forget his cheery little face absolutely as full of confidence and calm assurance as it could be. He was picked up unconscious by one of the Euryaliis boats, and died on board, and was buried at sea early the same morning. Poor boy! I hoped and prayed he might have been saved, and we were all miserable when we heard he had gone... It is always the good who die young."
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 26 Apr 2015, 16:23

The Centernary means different things to different people, of course. In Greece, namely for the expulsion of ethnic Greeks who were living on the Gallipoli Peninsular. An extract from the book Deutschland Uber Allah by Australian John Williams describing the events is here http://au.greekreporter.com/2015/04/25/the-ethnic-cleansing-of-greeks-from-gallipoli-in-1915/

Yet again the centenary means something else for those of the Greek island of Lemnos, where the wounded were evacuated, hospitalised and cared for. There were also ceremonies there where ship and crew of HMAS Success paid tribute to the special role that the island played. At the same time HMAS Anzac observed ceremonies at Souda, Crete and over the next couple of week both ships of the Australian Navy are to participate in joint excercises along with the Greek Navy, also as part of the commemorations. 

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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 26 Apr 2015, 17:34

A number of young Officer Cadets RN also served and died in the cruiser "Monmouth" at Coronel, well before Gallipoli
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Wed 29 Apr 2015, 13:06

Often overlooked is the French contribution to the Dardanelles Campaign;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_exp%C3%A9ditionnaire_d%27Orient
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Wed 29 Apr 2015, 13:09

14 year old, Jim Martin died of typhoid during the Campaign;



Martin was the youngest Australian soldier to die in the War.
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Thu 30 Apr 2015, 00:22

In NZ the youngest boy was 17, which I was a little surprised about; I thought it might have been lower.  Not sure what was the age limit.  In 1916 people could be conscripted if they were between 20 and 46 (and were non-Maori).  But I feel you could join up at 18, though I can't quite find that anywhere, except in some ordinance from 1845 covering the wars between Maori and Europeans which meant men between 18 and 60 had to make themselves available for military service.  Almost half the men conscripted appealed though many of the appeals were rejected.  Some went to Australia where there was no conscription (and therefore no executions for desertion, since the men were volunteers).
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PostSubject: Re: Centenary of Gallipoli   Sun 03 May 2015, 01:35

My son and daughter-in-law went to Gallipoli a few weeks ago and commented on how many Turks visit the area (something like three million a year.)  An article in a recent NZ Listener Listener article puts a different slant on this. It is by Trevor Richards who was a leading protester around the time of the 1981 and earlier Springbok tours, and leader of HART (Halt All Racist Tours).  That isn’t all that relevant though interesting, as here he seems concerns about Islamisation of the Gallipoli campaign and subsequent story.   In this article it talks of 100+ bus tours going there daily but nearly all of fundamentalist conservative Islams.  And he and his party were the only visitors to Kemal Mustafa Attaturk’s house on the site.
 
It suggests that there is a move to credit God and specifically the Muslim God, with the Turkish victory, not the campaign leader Attaturk.  It does seem a shame to me that the secular and very generous Attaturk should be having his influence challenged like this.  But I suppose history is constantly rewritten.  Trevor Richards lives in France and the French do seem very concerned with Islamisation generally, so maybe Richards has picked up that feeling, and perhaps things are not as bad as he says.
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