Dawn Service at Gallipoli Reflects on Landings 103 Years Ago

25 April 2018

On a cool but calm morning in Gallipoli, almost 1,500 people gathered at the Anzac Commemorative Site at dawn today for a service to remember those Anzacs who landed on the peninsula 103 years ago.

During the early hours of the morning members of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Australian Defence Force read from the writings of war correspondent Charles Bean, who described what was happening “at this time”.

NZDF Reservist of the Year 2017, Signaller Caleb Butcher, described what happened as the Anzacs sailed closer to the cove.

“For those aboard, the moon was still high and the mainland was sometimes visible away to the east. Lines of rowing boats, towed by steamboats, were brought alongside the ships. Into these boats the troops quietly clambered,” he read. 

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy attended the Dawn Service and delivered the commemorative address.

“Simply to survive at the Anzac beachhead a solider needed an indomitable spirit, as well as a good measure of luck,” Dame Patsy said.

“Those that fought here on both sides displayed courage and a commitment to serving their country that is truly awe-inspiring.” 

During the service the Call to Remembrance was delivered by Chief of the New Zealand Army, Major General Peter Kelly, who spoke of the everlasting connection New Zealand and Australia have to Gallipoli.

“Those who survived this day 103 years ago never forgot their experiences here and the friends they lost on their first day of action. The 25th of April 1915 was seared into the memory of these men, Major General Kelly said.

“Over the last century what happened here has entered the national psyche of Australians and New Zealanders.” 

Lieutenant Colonel Olly Te Ua wore the Ngā Tapuwae kahu huruhuru, or cloak, which is reserved only for those who have excelled at their duty.

“It is a privilege to be selected to wear Ngā Tapuwae at the Dawn Service. One of my teammates from Afghanistan wore it to Gallipoli a couple of years ago and it is great to have that shared connection with him,” Lieutenant Colonel Te Ua said.

The annual New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair will be begin at 11.30am local time and will be live-streamed on the New Zealand Defence Force Facebook Page from 8.20pm New Zealand time.

This page was last reviewed on 7 February 2019.