New Zealand: Dawn Service at Auckland War Memorial Museum Anzac Day 2014, courtesy of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Anzac Day: Prince William and Catherine take part in Australia's commemorations of Gallipoli campaign

Posted on on 25 April 2014
Share |

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have taken part in Australia's National Anzac Day ceremony marking the 99th anniversary of the Allied landings at Gallipoli during the First World War.

The event at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra was the royal couple's last major engagement at the end of an 18-day tour of both Australia and New Zealand. With them as they laid wreaths was Australia's Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. A record crowd of 25,500 visitors was watching.

Several hours earlier, the couple also made an unexpected appearance at the dawn service, as the Australian War Memorial's Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, explained: "Although their attendance was not on the official itinerary, they wanted to join with Australians in commemorating today."

Prince William, second in line to the throne, has announced that Prince Harry, a serving officer in the British Army,will join him in taking part in the 2015 Gallipoli Centenary commemorations. The news came in a speech at an Australian parliamentary reception on the eve of Anzac Day.

Events have been taking place today (25th April) across Australia and New Zealand -- as well as in the UK, Ireland, France and Turkey -- to remember those who fought and died in the 1915 campaign.

Traditional dawn ceremonies, marking the hour the first troops came ashore, have been held on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, and cities including London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.


Australian War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, London

The Allied attack, aimed at knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the Great War, cost British-led forces 33,000 lives, among them 8,709 Australians, 2,721 New Zealanders and almost 1,400 soldiers from the colonial Indian Army. French forces lost 10,000 dead, Turkey 87,000.

New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War in proportion to its population than any other nation. Of those killed, almost a third were buried half a world away in unmarked graves.

In his Anzac day message, New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, said: "The First World War remains one of the most significant events in our shared history.

"World War One changed how New Zealanders and Australians viewed themselves, and how other countries viewed us.  The spirit of the Anzacs was forged on those foreign battlefields many years ago, yet it lives on today."

For both countries, Anzac Day is a time to remember not only the sacrifice of the Great War, but also those who served in the Second World War and subsequent conflicts.,

Gallipoli services

Commemorative services at Gallipoli are conducted by Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand and Turkey.

The Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Michael Ronaldson -- in his speech at the dawn service overlooking the Dardanelles Strait -- reflected on the sacrifice of those who served:

“The men who came ashore along this coastline 99 years ago were, by their own admission, ordinary men. They did not seek glory. Nor did they want their actions to be glorified – for it was they who quickly came to know the true horror of war. That these ordinary men, however, did extraordinary things is beyond doubt."

The New Zealand Veterans' Affairs Minister, Michael Woodhouse -- who's also at Gallipoli -- said he would be meeting his Australian and Turkish counterparts to discuss next year's Centenary events. 

Australia and New Zealand have both recently announced the results of ballots for tickets, held to cope with expected record demand. The Turkish authoriities limit attendance at the commemorative site to 10,000 people.

Representing the UK Government at Gallipoli today is Dr Andrew Murrison, who is Prime Minister David Cameron's special representative for the Great War Centenary.

Dr Murrison tweeted that the Australian and New Zealand services had been "very very moving."

In London, two minutes silence is observed at the Cenotaph in Whitehall at 11am, where a wreath is laid on behalf of the Gallipoli Association.


At noon, a service of commemoration and thanksgiving for Anzac Day takes place at Westminster Abbey. 

Sources: Australian War Memorial, Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Gallipoli Association; Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the UK

Images of Anzac Day 2014 © Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. Australian War Memorial and Westminster Abbey: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News