Army officer Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Rose King was the Master of Ceremonies at this year's Gallipoli Anzac Service .
26 April 2014
Linton-based Army officer Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Rose King was the Master of Ceremonies at this year's Gallipoli Anzac Service . It is the first time a women has performed this role and the first time a married couple have both had the honour of being the Master of Ceremonies; her husband Lieutenant Colonel Glen King was MC in 2010.
"It was a great honour to represent my country, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and my family in what I believe is the most important military commemorative event for New Zealand," she said.
"Anzac Day is what we associate as the birth of our nation and what we have built our foundations on.
"As I walked to the stage I focused my efforts on wanting to honour the memory of every solider who had fought and fallen at Gallipoli. It allowed me to keep my emotions in check."
The military is in LTCOL King's blood.
Her grandfather served in WW1 and was wounded at the Battle of Messines in 1917.
Her great uncle,Private James Daniel Dillion who served with the Otago Infantry Battalion died at Gallipoli on 6 August 1915. His name is etched on the Chunuk Bair Memorial.
"In 2000 I was serving with UN in Croatia and a number of us went to Gallipoli to watch the Anzac commemorative services. At Chunuk Bair I saw Private James Dillion and I wondered if he could be a relative," she said.
"When I got back to New Zealand I started researching who James Dillion was. I found out he was my Great Uncle. With that knowledge, returning here has changed my experience in Gallipoli. It has been emotional and I have shed a few tears."
Just before Anzac Day the NZDF visited many of the cemeteries and sites where New Zealand soldiers had died. To get a small appreciation of the terrain the Anzacs had to fight through the team walked from Outpost 2 close to where they landed on the beaches to the top of Chunuk Bair.
"It wasn't an easy climb and was up and down and took us about an hour and a half. What the wall did though was make real for me the sheer loss and waste of life by everyone here - Kiwis, Aussies and Turks,"she said
"This time coming back as a Mum I could only think of the hurt and pain the families of the fallen had to live with and it made me incredibly sad."
One observation that LTCOL King made was that the birds were singing at the cemeteries the Kiwis visited.
"It felt as though there was peace here and that those who had fallen know they are remembered and have not been forgotten."
LTCOL King wore both her own medals and her Great Uncle Private James Dillion's replica medals while she performed her duties at the Dawn Service,
"Having the privilege to be here at Gallipoli and be involved in the ceremony is something I will always remember and that is why we were there to remember."