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97th Anniversary of Chunuk Bair marked

Hon Nathan Guy

Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

8 August 2012

Media Statement


97th Anniversary of Chunuk Bair marked

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Nathan Guy has today acknowledged the 97th anniversary of the battle for Chunuk Bair, which marked the turning point in the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.

“The hilltop of Chunuk Bair was bravely taken by the Wellington Battalion on the morning of 8th August 1915. This heroic effort came after other New Zealand Mounted Rifles units and the Maori Contingent cleared a path through Turkish defences.

“Chunuk Bair was crucial because of its height and location, and for the first time New Zealand soldiers saw the waters of the Dardanelles.

“Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone’s troops fought desperately to hold the position, but were driven off it the following night by Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

“This was a turning point in the battle for Gallipoli, and just 70 out of 760 of the Wellington Battalion survived the battle. Despite their failure, the battle of Chunuk Bair has become central to our identity as New Zealanders for the heroism shown that day.

“I was honoured to speak at the Chunuk Bair service as part of this year’s Gallipoli commemorations, and to see first-hand the incredibly difficult terrain that New Zealand soldiers had to deal with.

“The newly announced National War Memorial park in Wellington will be a very fitting place to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in 2015,” said Mr Guy.


ends


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