More Gallipoli

Today was the Day of the Child in Turkey and there was huge celebrations in Eceabat.Our tour didn’t start until midday so Leanne, Ella and I had a chance to check out the activies.All the schools in the town had put on different shows from traditional dancing to gymnastics, it was brilliant! One little girl caused a stack in the gymnastics routine which was pretty funny. We got photos with two gorgeous girls that were in Atatürk cheerleading costumes.Our tour was pretty funny. We had some really friendly people and a couple of interesting characters! On the bus the guide asked everyone’s nationalities and we were all Australians and New Zealanders except for one guy who hesitantly raised his hand when the guide asked if there were any other nationalities and meekly answered “German” when asked where he was from. The guide loved it, “Oh yes, you and I very good friends. A team the Germans and Turks!”.Our first stop was Anzac Cove which we saw yesterday (thank god because it was so busy today!) and we walked to beach cemetery from there where we saw the grave of John Kirkpatrick better known as Simpson and his donkey. Al also had picked a poppy for our friend Henry James Burton at Ari Burnu we saw yesterday who was the 18 year old with the inscription from his ‘mum and dad’ so we laid that at his grave which was really lovely.
We then drove to Lone Pine where the Australian Memorial is and where we found C G Greenham’s name on the list of soldiers without a grave. Seeing Lone Pine was pretty intense. In a patch the size of a soccer field 2200 Australians were killed and over 5000 Turks. It was hard to imagine how a place that’s so beautiful and serene now could have been the sight of so much horror and fatality. Because of the battlefield size it was mostly hand to hand combat fought with bayonets and hand grenades that made it all the worse as did the nature of the attack which was simply to create a diversion for the British forces that had landed further north. In the five days of fighting 7 Victoria Crosses were awarded.
From Lone Pine we drove to the Turkish Memorial and on the way stopped to look at some old trenches. It was incredible; Turks on the left and Anzacs on the right just metres from each other. There was a small cemetery that was the famous last scene of the movie Gallipoli. We were told one story of the two sides swapping food chucking them from one trench to the other. The Anzacs would chuck over bully beef and jam biscuits in exchange for cigarettes and anything else the Turks had.
The Turkish memorial was very different to the other cemeteries we’d seen. There were hardly any individual graves just a mass one down a path off the main lawn but a huge stone structure and gates and a beautiful garden. There was a statue there that was lovely of the world’s oldest WWI veteran, a Turkish man, who had become a symbol of peace later in life and even after he died at 110. That was probably the highlight of my day.
Our last stop was Chunuk Bair (Chunuk, Chunuk Bair as our guide liked to say) where the New Zealand memorial is and a gigantic statue of Atatürk. It’s the highest point on the peninsula and a main objective during the campaign but was only held by the Kiwis for a total of 5 days.
It was late by the time returned, we’d had a pretty harrowing day and we had another tour tomorrow so we were in bed by 9.

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1 Comment

Filed under 2012, Ankara to Athens, Gallery

One response to “More Gallipoli

  1. Jen

    Loving the commentary and the photos Mags – well done! xx

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