26 Apr 2018

New Zealanders pay their respects in Gallipoli

7:20 am on 26 April 2018

Almost 1500 people have gathered in Gallipoli to pay their respects to the Anzacs who landed on the shores of the peninsula 103 years ago.

Dawn service at the ANZAC Commemorative Site in Gallipoli. 2018 marks the centenerary of New Zealanders returning to Gallipoli to pay their respects to their fallen for the first time.

Photo: NZDF

The dawn service, at the Anzac Commemorative Site in Gallipoli, was attended by members of the public, defence personnel and government representatives.

Members of both the New Zealand Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force read the words of Charles Bean, a war correspondent of the time, who described the scene before the Anzacs came ashore.

"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," NZDF Reservist of the Year 2017, Signaller Caleb Butcher, read to the crowds.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy lays a wreath at the Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site in Gallipoli today.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy lays a wreath at the Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site in Gallipoli today. Photo: NZDF

"Simply to survive at the Anzac beachhead a solider needed an indomitable spirit, as well as a good measure of luck," Governor-General Dame Patsy said during her commemorative address.

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

During the crisp but calm morning, Chief of the New Zealand Army, Major General Peter Kelly spoke of the everlasting connection both nations now have with Gallipoli.

Dawn service at the ANZAC Commemorative Site in Gallipoli. 2018 marks the centenerary of New Zealanders returning to Gallipoli to pay their respects to their fallen for the first time.

Photo: NZDF

"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.

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

Meanwhile, New Zealanders in a tour group enroute to the Anzac Day Commemorations in Gallipoli were forced to flee their bus before it was engulfed in flames.

The bus was completely gutted by the fire and all luggage was destroyed.

Consular officials in Gallipoli were providing emergency assistance.