Today saw its start with another extravagant breakfast at the Kum. This morning’s travels were to include visiting the French, British, and Turkish memorials. The days journey began at Cape Helles where the group admired the amazing the view from the high ground of the British Memorial overlooking the entrance to theDardanelles. Here the monument lists all the names of Allied forces in the campaign as well as the British soldiers and sailors, whom have died throughout the campaign. Following the pathway down we were able to also visit a small beachside cemetery on V Beach. The cemetery was in a similar style to others that we had previously witnessed, yet its location right along the beach, its tranquility in comparison to the stark nature of the cliffs made it eerily different. Following this we travelled a short journey to the see grave of a single soldier Doughty Wiley. His grave struck us as quiet peculiar. It was the only grave there, and of a very extravagant nature. The story was told to us by our ever trustworthy guide Fred (Ozgur), of how when the solider was killed, his wife – or possibly his lover- travelled to the peninsula to see him buried. She was the only woman to ever visit the peninsula during the campaign.
A visit to the French cemetery surprised everyone. The French ceremony was very different to any other allied cemetery we had previously visited, in a sophisticated French style, the graves marked by crosses, and large mass graves overlooking the cemetery from its highest point at the monument.
Today was particularly interesting as it is a Turkish commemorative day. It marks the day Ataturk established parliament in central Turkeyafter the occupation that occurred as an aftermath of World War One. The Parliament disregarded any decisions of the occupying forces, and marked the opposition, signifying the beginning of Turkey’s war for independence. Ataturk also announced the day International Children’s Day. Due to these factors today all areas were abundant with Turkish people taking part in the day’s events. After pushing through crowds of people like salmon swimming up a stream we were able to view the grand memorial. The main structure was a large monument which one was able to walk under featuring the Turkish flag. Here we were swarmed by groups of Turkish children and tennagers who were more than willing to try their English skills on us, while we tried with little elegance to try our limited Turkish, which admittedly extends as far as a poorly pronounced, hello, goodbye, and thank you. The older Turkish school girls took quiet a fancy to our boys, while the girls were inundated with photo opportunities with the Turkish boys who tried to explain to us in broken English that our grandfathers fought here together. The second part of the Turkish memorial featured a listing of all the Turkish soldiers who fought and died in the Gallipoli campaign on glass panels. This is quiet remarkable considering the lack of records that were kept at the time, much research and investigation must have had to go into forming the memorial panels.
After another filling lunch we headed back up to the familiar Lone Pine where preparations for the Anzac Day ceremony were well underway. We partook in a rehearsal of the ceremony, as so that the logistics could be established and perfected. We were taught how to walk and present wreaths and the general processes of the ceremony. Tanvi was able to run through the reading of her poem. It was interesting to see how the event was pulled together behind the scenes, and to see the involvement of so many people from so many backgrounds. From the band to volunteers, to the Defence Forces, to dignitaries and schoolchildren, the involvement and passion was overwhelming. However I do suspect that the relaxed attitude of the rehearsal will be in stark contrast to the day itself. The ceremony will be broadcast live toAustraliaon ABC 1, at 6pm on Monday the 25 April.
We rushed to the port to embark upon a boat cruise after the rehearsal. The cruise took us up the coast of the peninsula, which enabled us a fantastic view of the coastline, dotted with memorials. Upon the boat cruise Gene made friends with the captain which saw him leave the boat with the captain’s cap and wall plaque. One of the shipmen shared his iPod with us, and brought us some cucumbers to share. If there is one thing you can say about the Turkish people it is that they are friendly and generous. There was a slight incident upon the boat today at which the pompom was ripped from the top of Connor’s beanie and he was left devastated. Lauren came to the rescue later in the evening stitching the pompom back into place and cleverly stitching the number thirteen into the inside, a number that we are sure Connor never wants to see in honeycomb balls again.
This evening was spent in a trivia trial organized by Geraldine. The two teams’ competed fiercely in the competition run by Andrew with the assistance of his lovely showgirl Stuart. After much arguing across teams, and within the teams, the ‘Aguileras’ came out triumphant winning the glorious troy horse key rings. So the evening ended with multiple games of backgammon and knowledge that this time tomorrow we will be preparing for the dawn service, an event that for shadows the day with anticipation.