30 July 2015
Ruapehu College student Helena Bethell is one of two New Zealand Cadet Forces cadets travelling to Gallipoli next week to attend commemorations to mark the centenary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair.
Seventeen-year-old Helena is a Cadet Warrant Officer Class Two in the Rangitikei Ruapehu Cadet Unit. She has been involved with cadet forces since joining the Napier City Cadet Unit in 2010.
“I want to join the military when I have finished school, and I thought that joining Cadets would give me a taste of what military life is like,” Helena said.
Helena feels “proud, honoured, excited, and extremely lucky” to be part of the official delegation, and to represent New Zealand Cadet Forces and the youth of New Zealand.
“It will be a great experience to travel to Gallipoli and understand more about Chunuk Bair.
“To stand in the place where New Zealand’s fallen heroes once stood, and where many now lie at rest, will be an extremely moving and eye opening experience,” Helena said.
During her time as a Cadet, Helena has made the most of many opportunities, and has attended many leadership courses and exercises, as well as the New Zealand Cadet Forces Parade of National Significance.
A keen interest in the military runs in Helena’s family – both her grandfathers served in New Zealand forces, and four of her great-uncles served during war time. Her father also served in the Royal New Zealand Navy for twenty years.
In her spare time Helena enjoys kapa haka and playing rugby.
The Battle for Chunuk Bair was the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces (NZEF) most significant action in the Gallipoli Campaign. The battle, which took place from 6-10 August 1915, was part of the August Offensive, in which the Allies attempted to seize the Sari Bair heights from Ottoman Forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The Wellington Battalion initially seized Chunuk Bair on 8 August, but it and other New Zealand units suffered extremely heavy losses. Chunuk Bair was eventually lost on 10 August, after sustained Ottoman counterattacks.
During the fighting in August, New Zealand forces suffered more than 2000 casualties, with more than 870 New Zealanders killed during the August Offensive (6-10 August) alone.
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