April 15, 2019

25 April 1915, marks the beginning of the spirit of the ANZACs – the Australian and New Zealand (NZ) Army Corps. Every year Australia observes a public holiday to commemorate our soldiers’ brave deeds that day – the dawn-landing at Gallipoli, Turkey and the ensuing battle against impossible odds.

Every ANZAC Day we honour veterans who have served selflessly and patriotically to defend Australia's freedoms, national security and interests.

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Further details on the ANZACs

25 April 1915 was the day that Australian and New Zealand soldiers – nine months into the First World War – were deployed in significant numbers.

The Gallipoli campaign served to assist opening up the Dardanelles – the long, narrow sea strait and important shipping lane through Turkish territory through which Allied navies sought to capture Constantinople (the West now calls Istanbul, the capital of the then Ottoman Empire and seat of the caliphate). Controlling the Dardanelles would also allow ally Russian ships to resume their trade access to the Mediterranean Sea.

Around dawn on the 25th of April 1915, the ANZACs landed on Gallipoli peninsula on a beach and place now known as ANZAC Cove. But this was not the planned landing place – it was less open and more defensible for the Turks. The ascent from the beach was steeper, the terrain more rugged, the vegetation thicker and the maps not suited. Within the first day, ANZAC casualties numbered 2,000 men either killed or wounded. But their spirit and courage remained unbroken.

Over the entire eight-month campaign, Australia lost nearly 9,000 men (with nearly 30,000 casualties) and NZ lost nearly 3,000 men (with over 7,000 casualties). The combined Allied losses numbered nearly 57,000 men – a very similar number to the Ottoman Turks (but the Allies suffered over 20,000 more casualties). In the end, the Allies withdrew their forces to Egypt and the Ottoman Turks had a tough win – but this was to be their only win of the First World War. Conversely, the ANZAC fighting spirit – against all odds – had been born and defined our soldiers in future conflicts.

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