"As a country ANZAC Day is
possibly the most important National day we commemorate. In
Sydney city the Dawn Service of Commemoration begins at 4.30am
(The time the first members of The 9th Battalion landed on ANZAC
Cove at Gallipoli, them being the first of the Australian and
New Zealand troops to land on Gallipoli in Turkey that morning
so long ago in 1915) in the darkness of a Sydney morning, and is
held at the Cenotaph in Martin Place.
The Service takes about an hour, four out of the last five years
it has pelted down heavy cold rain and yet there have been in
attendance between 10,000 - 13,000 people at these ceremonies,
many watching the Official Ceremony on large outdoor TV screens
further up Martin Place.
Among the Official Guests is The U.S. Consul General to NSW. If
there is a U.S. Navy warship in port usually one of the senior
Officers also attends.
This is a very moving Service, and finally as the flags are
raised to the last haunting notes of Reveille echoing through
the canyons between the buildings, and the Catafalque party
marches off to Waltzing Matilda, the first rays of dawn are seen
in the east.
All across Australia and New Zealand, from large cities to small
country towns and hamlets ANZAC Day is commemorated. Following
the Dawn Service around 9 a.m. there is the March in Sydney
followed by reunions, many going on well into the night.
ANZAC Day 2015
"This is a very important day in New Zealand,
Australia and Turkey. Being The 100th Anniversary of the
Landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula, there were many
Commemoration Services starting in New Zealand, then across
Australia, then on to Turkey, then France and in England.
Very early on Saturday morning 25 April 2015, we saw a
Commemoration Memorial Dawn Service in the New Zealand Capital,
Wellington on T.V. In Sydney the Dawn Service is held at the
Sydney Cenotaph in Martin Place in central Sydney and we arrived
there at 1.30am, as large crowds were expected. By 4.30am when
the Dawn Service commenced there were between 20,000 to 30,000
people in the darkness. Martin Place was wall to wall people.
The haunting tones of the bagpipes and the call of a single
bugler during the Last Post and Reveille shattering the silence
and darkness in the massive canyons created by the many high
rise buildings, make this a very moving service.
During most of the Service, there is a very good laser light
show of pictures and posters from 1914-1915, projected onto a
building wall next to the Cenotaph.
The Dawn Service is commenced at 4.30am local time, as it is
generally accepted that the first Australian soldier of the
Allied invasion force (from The 9th Battalion of The 3rd Brigade
set foot on Turkish soil on the beach at Ari Burnu (ANZAC Cove)
at 04.30hrs, Sunday 25 April 1915.
All across Australia on Saturday morning there were Dawn
Services. We passed many finishing off in the Sydney suburbs on
our way home. A 100,000 people attended the Dawn Service in
Melbourne, and I believe the TV commentary was that 1/3rd of the
population of Canberra, attended the National Service at The
Australian War Memorial.
Many of the small towns across the country have populations of
3,000 to 4,000 if that at most, yet they hold their Dawn
Services. Later in the day we saw on TV the Dawn Service at
King's Park in Perth, Western Australia (Western Australia has a
two hour time delay to Sydney and Melbourne).
However, in the darkness and cold of the Gallipoli Peninsula,
Australians, New Zealanders and Turkish people who had been
nominated or obtained tickets to attend waited in the darkness
for the Official Dawn Service at North Beach (one beach north of
ANZAC Cove). There watched over by 4,000 Turkish Police and
Security Forces with the people, were the Turkish President, the
Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers, plus Prince Charles
and Prince Harry from England. Off the beaches were 10 warships
from Turkey, France, England, New Zealand and Australia.
In Sydney we have an ANZAC Day march which commences at 9am, and
we from the Army of the Vietnam era began our march through the
city at 11.10am. Thousands and thousands of people had come into
the city and we received a tremendous reception. Many high fives
with the crowds as we marched by. This was very good. Then we
went to our reunion, for a few beers and a meal.
While at the reunion, we saw on TV the ANZAC Dawn Service at
Gallipoli, then the later Memorial Service, up the hills there
at a place called Lone Pine. This commemorates a battle fought
there between 6 - 10 August 1915.
Later in the day we saw on TV a Commemoration Service in France
attended by 6,000 people in the darkness and rain at a place
called Villers-Bretonneux where on 25 April 1918, exactly three
years from the day of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, the
Australian Army stopped the World War 1 great German Army 1918
Michael Offensive. This is a duel Commemoration Service for both
the ANZAC Day landings at Gallipoli in 1915 and the successful
Australian night attack 24 - 25 April 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux.
There is an Official National Australian War Memorial at
Villers-Bretonneux. Later last Saturday we saw on TV, the Queen
and other members of the Royal Family attend an ANZAC Day
Memorial Service in London.
It is a long, memorable and thought provoking day. There are
some sad and many good memories of our Mates. Sydney's weather
was kind, until the evening when we had a hail and thunder storm
with very heavy rain.
I have attached some photos of the dawn service and a TV still
of the march.
That was my ANZAC Day in Sydney.
former 5 R.A.R."