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On the Spot Anzacs Were Sent to Gallipoli

On the Spot Anzacs Were Sent to Gallipoli

New Zealand and Australian troops were deployed to attack the Turkish mainland at Gallipoli because they were on the spot.

The National President of the Royal New Zealand RSA, Don McIver, says forces from both countries were training in Egypt on their way to the western front when Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, saw the need to secure the Dardanelles, the narrow strait between Europe and the mainland of Asia.

When allied ships were turned back by Turkish mining and bombardment in the Straits, Allied forces were then sent to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915.

“Churchill needed troops and we were on the spot in Egypt,” Don McIver says.

The Anzac spirit was born at Gallipoli and the gallantry and sacrifices by New Zealand and Australian troops are commemorated every year on Anzac Day, April 25.

This year is the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign and Don McIver notes that despite the importance of the major events of 2015, it is a significant year in its own right.

“This year we commemorate the centenary of the declaration of the First World War, a dramatic series of events which had long lasting influence on that and later generations of New Zealanders. It’s important to attend Anzac Day ceremonies around New Zealand to remember all those who have served their country with pride and valour in all conflict throughout our country’s short history.”

RSAs and local authorities around New Zealand will lead Anzac Day commemorations and, this year, up to 40 of them will include a field of remembrance. This involves planting a field of white crosses in the community to represent the individual servicemen and women who served in World War One.

“The white cross is a symbol of sacrifice and serves as a poignant visual representation of the sacrifices New Zealand made,” Don McIver says.

The Royal NZ RSA sits alongside the Auckland RSA and the Passchendaele Society as a trustee of the Fields of Remembrance Trust, the organisation formed to promote the planting of white crosses to local communities over the World War One centenary period.

The Trust foresees that 18,000 white crosses will be planted on Armistice Day 2018 to symbolise all New Zealanders who died in World War One.

In another major commemoration, the RSA will be the official Charity of Choice for the ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercars event in Pukekohe over Anzac weekend and will establish a strong presence at the event.

All RSA members and current servicemen and women across all armed forces will receive free trackside entry to the event on Anzac Day, a Meet the Drivers fundraising event will be held at Pukekohe and Districts RSA on April 23, and attendees can donate directly to the RSA through on site poppy collectors.

Anzac commemorations will be a focus of the ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercar event. A bugler will play the Last Post and Reveille before the start of Friday’s race and the Ode of Remembrance will be delivered by the RSA.

The RSA will also deliver the Ode of Remembrance in the evening as part of the Anzac Day AFL clash between St Kilda and the Brisbane Lions at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.

Up until the end of April people can text POPPY to 4462 to donate $3 to the RSA Poppy Appeal.


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