26 Apr 2015

Service in Gallipoli 'incredibly poignant'

7:52 pm on 26 April 2015

New Zealanders who travelled to Gallipoli for yesterday's Anzac Day services say the trip was well worth it.

Eyes held high as the dawn service on Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula takes place.

Eyes held high as the dawn service on Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula takes place. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

About 11,000 people - including about 2000 New Zealanders - attended a dawn service to mark 100 years since the ANZAC forces came ashore at Gallipoli.

More than 130,000 people died in the campaign.

Review Radio New Zealand's live coverage of dawn services around the world

Many of the New Zealanders in the crowd told Radio New Zealand that the experience was truly memorable.

"Well worth being here," one young man said. "Fantastic to make the journey all the way to Turkey and Gallipoli to be here for this day."

Another described it as "incredibly poignant, very moving", adding that "for 10,000 people in and out of here, [it was] unbelievably well-organised".

The commemorations concluded last night with a service at the hilltop battle site of Chunuk Bair.

Those attending climbed six kilometres up to the site for the service, which was led by the principal chaplain of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lance Lukin.

It included a reading by Prince Harry and an address by Prime Minister John Key, who said that, for New Zealanders, there was nowhere more special on the peninsula than Chunuk Bair.

"It was not the scene of a great triumph but it was the closest the Allied forces came to making a breakthrough in the whole Gallipoli campaign - and it was led by a few hundred Kiwis 10,000 miles from home."

He paid tribute to those from this country who had died in battle but also acknowledged the Turkish sacrifices.

"They were brave and they were mourned by their grieving family and friends, so today I want to acknowledge them, and I want to thank the Turkish government and people.

"It is their understanding and generosity that enables us to come to Gallipoli each year, and has made possible this 100-year commemoration."

ANZAC DAY

ANZAC DAY Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attends a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli

Prime Minister John Key gave a formal address as part of memorial services in Turkey. Photo: AFP

Crowds gather at Gallipoli

Crowds wait for the dawn to hit the Gallipoli Peninsula. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Prime Minister John Key addresses the crowds at Chunuk Bair.

Prime Minister John Key addresses the crowds at Chunuk Bair. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

An image from the top of the broadcast tower during the services.

An image from the top of the broadcast tower during the services. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

A couple keeps warm during the services at Gallipoli.

A couple keeps warm during the services at Gallipoli. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs