Retracing their father's footsteps

Janice Henderson (66) is delighted after being allocated a ticket to attend the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, allowing her to retrace the steps of her father, pictured in the photo she is holding, who fought in the campaign. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Janice Henderson (66) is delighted after being allocated a ticket to attend the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, allowing her to retrace the steps of her father, pictured in the photo she is holding, who fought in the campaign. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Retracing her father's steps back to Gallipoli for the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings will be something of a family reunion for Dunedin woman Janice Henderson.

Mrs Henderson and her siblings were lucky enough to pick up three double passes as part of the Gallipoli 2015 ballot.

A total of 9851 applicants entered the ballot to attend the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings in Gallipoli next year, with 950 double passes and 100 special passes allocated.

The family's success in the ballot meant she and four of her 12 brothers and sisters, all raised in Dunedin, would be able to retrace the steps of their father, Hugh Dickinson, who was a gunner in the disastrous campaign.

One of Mr Dickinson's grandchildren was also likely to go to the commemorations.

''I think it's incredible that five or six of us can represent the family at [what will be] such an amazing ceremony,'' Mrs Henderson said.

She felt it was important to remember and acknowledge the sacrifice he made.

''I think it's really important that my family and grandchildren realise what conditions they went in and what they did.''

The horror of what unfolded in Gallipoli and the Battle of Passchendaele, where her father was posted after fighting in Gallipoli, meant he did not share too much about his experiences.

''We were so proud of our father ... but we never got too many stories about what happened. He must have lost an awful lot of people, because they were two of the biggest battles for New Zealand in World War 1,'' she said.

It was difficult to comprehend how traumatic it must have been for her father - who also served during World War 2 by helping man the coastal fortifications on Otago Peninsula.

Travelling to Gallipoli meant she could develop a greater understanding of what he went through.

 

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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