Gallipoli

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Hotel ECE

Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Gallipoli tour was excellent. We had a great guide and the tour took over 5 hours, going from site to site on the huge national park that now included Anzac cove.

First stop was the beach where the ANZACs should have landed.......a gently sloping beach with easy access.  Second stop was Anzac Cove, the actual landing site. What a difference. And I defy any Aussie to go to Anzac Cove and not shed a tear. The place is so much a part of who we want to be and what we wish our character was like. It is really quite over whelming.  We visited the two ends of the cove where the dead were buried and saw Simpson's grave. To see the landscape and the distance between the trenches and the beach.......to see the vantage points of the Turks and the exposure of schrapnel valley......made his efforts beyond comprehension. And he only lasted less than a month.

The bravery of the Turkish soldiers was no less than ours. When Ataturk ordered the 57th Battalion to fight they complained that they had no bullets left. He told them to use bayonets if they ran out of bullets. 'I am not commanding to fight, I am commanding you to die'.They were all killed defending their homeland. To this day there is no 57th Battalion in the Turkish army.

We saw the trenches, from both sides, and the distance between them, only 8-10m.   Our guide, Murat, had lots of stories; some from turkish soldiers and some from aussies. There is a huge statue to the turkish soldier who, under protection of a white flag, bravely stood up, entered no man's land and carried a wounded Australian soldier to safety.  Stories of the sharing of supplies and the concerts from each side, entertaining each other. and then on the order they would go back to killing each other. They said it was the last gentlemen's war but there is nothing gentlemenly about shooting 13 year old boys.

We went to Lone Pine.  Impossible to realise that in this one grassed area there are 6000 dead soldiers. We visited The Nek where wave after wave of soldiers were ordered to advance on a machine gun. It took 30s to kill 150 men in the first wave. After 3 waves the Turks were yelling 'Dur! Dur!' ('Stop! Stop!'). What madness leads to situations like this?

At the end of thos 9 months there were 500,000 dead men and boys- about 250,000 from each side. Ataturks words are powerful and inspiring but in the end it's such a bloody waste.
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Comments

Helen Breen on

A beautifully written commentary, Julie, and one of the reasons why history can just grab you. Sounds like you two are having a terrific time - I'm a bit jealous.

Stephen Oliver on

Happy birthday to Julie! We all raised a glass of cheer in your
honour yesterday. Hope it was a good day for you!! Love,
Stephen, Marlene, Stephany and Marjory

Dee Power on

Hi Julie,
Your trip looks fantastic so far. I can understand your emotions at seeing Gallipoli - Ian had to go into Bridge Street on Anzac morning and afterwards we stood and watched the parade and I got teary just watching that. Look forward to your next adventures.

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