In 1986 I visited Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. It wasn’t Anzac Day but rather November, close to Remembrance Day. It was a deceptively tranquil piece of coastline where the tunnels, graves and memorial imposed a sense of surreal awe upon a young Australian backpacker.
That was 29 years ago and I wouldn’t have believed that the commemoration of Gallipoli would grow even stronger as the years went by.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the landing of the allied troops onto this forboding peninsula where so many thousands of young men died, and many observations were held across several continents to mark this solemn occasion.
I write about one in particular because it involves a relative of mine, who served at Gallipoli; my great-great uncle, Benjamin Bennett Leane was honoured today when Prince Charles read out part of his diary at the dawn service at Gallipoli. The diary was written in the form of letters, addressed to his wife Phyllis, back in Australia looking after their 2 young children; Benjamin never met his youngest child.
Benjamin Leane (pictured standing on the far left) was one of 6 boys, 4 of whom served at Gallipoli – one of them was my great grandfather (seated front left in the picture). Benjamin and his brothers managed to survive the ordeal at Gallipoli, but he was to die 2 years later at Bullecourt in France.
This is just one of the hundreds of thousands of stories that would have been shared today and in the 100 years since the landing and ensuing battle at Gallipoli, forever to be known as Anzac Cove.
I would love to hear your stories too.