Lieutenant Colonel Mark Blythen, the Contingent Commander for the New Zealand Defence Force contingent travelling to Gallipoli for the Anzac Day services.
Having a great-great uncle who fought at Gallipoli will make Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Mark Blythen’s role as Contingent Commander in the upcoming Anzac Day ceremonies in Gallipoli even more personal.
"My great-great Uncle, Sergeant Mark Vipond from Matakana, served at Gallipoli with the Auckland Mounted Rifles. He landed at Gallipoli in October 1915 but was later evacuated due to illness. He then went on to fight in Africa and was killed in Egypt in August 1916 and is buried at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. I am honoured to be part of the Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli and have the chance to connect to my family this way," LT COL Blythen said.
LT COL Blythen, currently the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Combat Service Support Battalion of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment, is based at Linton, near Palmerston North.
Originally from Warkworth, LT COL Blythen attended Mahurangi College and joined the Army in 1987, "for the outdoors lifestyle, travel and adventure."
His desire for travel has certainly been met as he has served on overseas operational missions to Bosnia, Timor Leste and Afghanistan, spent time in the United Kingdom as New Zealand Equerry to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in preparation for the Royal visit to New Zealand in 2001, then attended the US Army Logistics College in Virginia studying towards an MSc.
As contingent commander LT COL Blythen is responsible for coordinating the official New Zealand contingent which includes the Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, and 18 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel including an Army chaplain, catafalque guard, and members of the NZ Army Band.
The Anzac Day ceremonies in Gallipoli begin on Saturday 24 April with the Turkish International Service and conclude with the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair on 25 April. The services will be attended by dignitaries from New Zealand, Australia and Turkey.
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group 021 569 130