They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
‘The Ode’ or the ‘Ode of Remembrance’
is taken from Laurence Binyonís poem, ‘For
Australia was at war. The Allies (Britain,
France, Russia, Italy, Japan, and the USA) and Australia were
fighting against the Central Powers of Germany, Turkey (then known
as the Ottoman Empire), and Austria-Hungary.
In response to a request for help from Russia, which was being
battered by the Turks in the Caucasus, the Allies decided to begin a
campaign which they hoped would distract Turkey from their attack on
Russia. The plan was for the Allies to attack and take the Gallipoli
Peninsula, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, from which point the Allies
believed they could take control of the Dardanelles, a 67 kilometre
(42 mile) strait which connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of
Marmara, and lay siege to Turkey’s main city, Istanbul (then
The Landing at Gallipoli:
As part of the
larger British Empire contingent, the Australian and New Zealand
Army Corps: the ANZACs, were brought in from training in Egypt to
participate. The ANZAC comprised the 1st Australian Division and the
composite New Zealand and Australian Division. On April 25th, 1915,
the ANZACs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Instead of finding the flat beach, the soldiers found they had
been landed at the incorrect position and faced steep cliffs, with
constant barrages of enemy fire and shelling. About 20,000 soldiers
were to land on that beach over the next two days. They faced a
large well organised, well armed Turkish force, who were determined
to defend their country. They were led by Mustafa Kemal, who later
became Atatürk, the leader of modern Turkey. Thousands of Australian
and New Zealand men died in the hours and days that followed the
landing at that beach. The beach would eventually come to be known
as ANZAC Cove.
What followed the landing at Gallipoli is a story
of courage and endurance, of death, despair, and of poor leadership
from London, and unsuccessful strategies. The ANZACs and the Turks
dug in. Creating kilometres of trenches, and pinned down each
other’s forces with sniper fire and shelling. The ANZACs were pinned
down, with their backs to the water and unable to make much headway
against the home-country force.
Leaders argued about whether the
campaign should be continued, due to their lack of success. While
they argued, the Australian and New Zealand soldiers kept dying in
battle, from sniper fire and shelling. Those that were not dead
suffered from a range of ailments due to the dreadful living
conditions that included typhus, lice, gangrene, lack of fresh
water, poor quality food, and poor sanitary conditions. All took
It is this battle that is the heart of the ANZAC story. A legend
was created, not of sweeping military victories, but about triumphs
against the odds. About courage and ingenuity in adversity. It is a
legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less
from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of
mateship and the demands of necessity.
Culture and Recreation: ANZAC