Dunedin soldier leads the way at Chunuk Bair

Trooper Morgan Formston (left) prepares to march on with the catafalque guard at the Anzac Day...
Trooper Morgan Formston (left) prepares to march on with the catafalque guard at the Anzac Day Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli, Turkey. Photo from NZ Defence Force.
A Dunedin soldier led the catafalque guard at the Anzac Day ceremony at Chunuk Bair, in Turkey, last week.

Trooper Morgan Formston, of the Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles, said he was ''excited, privileged and humbled'' to represent the New Zealand Defence Force at the ceremony.

He was also the flag orderly for New Zealand at the ceremony at Anzac Cove.

The dawn service was marked by its ''eerie silence'', he said.

''All you could hear was the waves hitting the shore.''

The visit to Gallipoli, his first, had a profound impact on him.

''My thoughts on Gallipoli changed drastically after visiting the memorials and seeing the ground first hand,'' he said.

''I couldn't picture how bad it actually was. We were lucky enough to have New Zealand historian Ian McGibbon take our contingent for two days worth of battlefield tours all around the Gallipoli peninsula ... and after seeing the significant areas and hearing the stories it puts into perspective the hardship and the sheer devastation the soldiers would have endured.''

His time in Gallipoli had made him feel connected to those who served there.

''Gallipoli and Anzac are very much a part of all us who serve, whether army, navy or air force, so to get the chance to go to Gallipoli was great,'' Tpr Formston said.

''You stand there wondering 'why did they obey orders knowing there was a good chance of dying?'.

"It makes you wonder why they made the decisions they did and you shake your head at the unnecessary loss of life by everyone, regardless of side, who fought here.''

The visit made him ''reflect on what we have as a nation because of the actions at Gallipoli and it seems right that we always remember what happened here''.


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