ANZAC Day - Gallipoli

Peter Evans

Ridgewood, Australia

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

ANZAC = The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

A Turkish dignatory accompanied by the countries soldiers offers a reef in memory of fallen soldiers at the ANZAC Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey.

During the Gallipoli Campaign in August 1915, the Australians were ordered to conduct a diversionary attack on a small plataeu no larger than a soccer/ gridiron field. This was supposed to allow the British to land more safely at Suvla Bay, North of a very small Cove where the ANZAC’s had been mistakenly delivered and were pinned down. The landing at Suvla was not only a real attack on the peninsula but was also meant to draw Turkish troops away from the cove now called ANZAC Cove and in doing so allow the ANZAC to advance off the very steep cliffs that surrounded the Cove.

After eventually reaching the Turkish trenches through withering multi machine gun defences, the Australians were surprised to find that the trenches were covered with large heavy logs from pine trees and that they had become sitting ducks in a cross fire. Left with no other option other than a dangerous withdrawal, the Australians clawed their way into the maze of trenches. Held over the next five days was some of the most fierest battles of the whole of WW1. The trenches were so small that the only weapons that were able to be bought to bear against the gallant, determined Turkish defenders were, grenades, bayonets, shovels and fists.

Within about an hour of the start of the attack the Australians forced the Turks out of the trenches but then had to face another five days of determined Turkish counter attacks. The Turks only stopping the fight when they realised that a larger attack eleswhere had occurred (at Suvla Bay).

7,000 soldiers were casualties during the initial 5 day battle in an area less the size of a soccer field. Approximately 5000 Turks and 2000 Australians. About 5,000 soldiers out of that 7,000 were fatalities. The British landed at Suvla Bay but failed to reach their objects which would have eased the deadly stalemate situation for the Australians and the New Zealanders at ANZAC Cove.

A total of seven Victoria Crosses, the highest British award for gallentry under fire, were awarded to individual Australians as a result of their outstanding bravery during that one battle alone. Unfortunately two were awarded posthumerously.

Initially a small band of soldiers and families from both sides met to honour their dead and to remember mates. Today the ANZAC Day and Turkish memorial ceremonies have grown enourmously in numbers and importance with thousands of young and old Australians, New Zealanders and Turks (and lately from other countries involved in the campaign) joining together to honour fallen friends and ex foes alike.

The atmosphere in the area and at the memorial ceremonies is unlike any other I have experienced and is very emotional. This was where Australia was formed as a singular nation. There also exists a strange close bond between Australians and Turks that is very hard to explain considering the circumstances.

Artwork Comments

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