25 Apr 2011

PM pays tribute to Anzac forces

10:29 pm on 25 April 2011

Prime Minister John Key has paid tribute to the efforts of New Zealanders and Australians in wartime at an Anzac Day service in London.

This year marks the 96th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli during World War I.

About 2000 people gathered for the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner on Monday.

Mr Key gave the Anzac address, saying many miles from home people gathered to remember not only the men who fought at Gallipoli, but those who had fought for both countries.

Mr Key said Anzac Day is also a time to thank the nations' men and women who continue to serve in uniform across the world.

The Prime Minister laid a wreath at the Australian and New Zealand war memorials and would attend a Service of Ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

During the remainder of his trip, Mr Key will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Key will also meet with the Queen and Prince Philip and, separately, the Prince of Wales.

On Friday, he will attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

Key visits battlefields in France

The Prime Minister visited the battlefields of northern France, including the Somme and the town of Le Quesnoy, which was liberated by New Zealand troops at the end of World War I.

John Key also laid wreaths in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery where 241 New Zealanders are buried.

There is a memorial to 1205 people who died in the battle, but whose bodies were never found. Mr Key said they are not just names, they are the sons of New Zealanders who never returned from war.

Mr Key had said he did not think he had a family connection to the battle, but visited a grave for an Ernest Key. His father was George Ernest Key.

Anzac spirit praised

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent Anzac greetings to New Zealand and Australia.

Mrs Clinton says the day of remembrance is a tribute to the character and depth of the Anzac partnership.

She says the United States will continue to stand with the two countries in support of freedom and democracy around the world.

Mrs Clinton says during her trip to New Zealand and Australia last year, she saw firsthand the courage of the two nations which continue to meet adversity with determination and resilience.