Thousands honour the fallen

Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy look on during dawn service at the Wellington Cenotaph....
Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy look on during dawn service at the Wellington Cenotaph. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Thousands of New Zealanders and Australians have gathered in Gallipoli to pay tribute to the men who went through 'suffering and horrors' to do their duty as soldiers.

New Zealand Defence Force Major General Arthur David Gawn began the dawn service at Anzac Cove with a call to remembrance.

"Those who landed knew they were on a momentous undertaking ... they had no idea that their name would become legend," he said.

"The legends of those soldiers from another age, on these beaches and ridges that stand witness around us have shaped our nations," Major General Gawn said.

"Those who landed knew that they were on a momentous undertaking, but they had no inkling that their name would become legend.

"As we stand here in the peace and quiet of the early morning, we can cast our minds back to the morning 99 years ago, when the soft sounds of waves on the shore, and the gentle rhythmic splashing of oars of the landing boats were soon drowned out by the cacophony of gun fire, the shouts of orders and the screams of wounded men.

"Now, almost a century later, we come together to acknowledge the deeds of those who served in the Gallipoli campaign and to honour their memory and to reflect on all that they endured. There are great feats conducted here and there are those who straggled. Those who stood by their mates, and a few who let them down.

"We should not judge from the distance of history, just as we cannot imagine the suffering and horrors endured by those who served here."

Major General Gawn, New Zealand's Chief of Army, read from diaries of soldiers who served in Gallipoli.

"After the landing, Lieutenant Colonel Percival Fenwick from Christchurch wrote: '5000 casualties, about three men per yard of ground gained. An order has come out naming this bay Anzac Bay, after the New Zealand and Australian divisions, it does not matter what it's called, perhaps it will some day be known as Bloody Beach Bay, God knows, we have paid heavily for it'.

"This then, is a place of solemn remembrance, of sadness, and of loss. As dawn rises above the ridges, we think back to how it was that morning and to those who have their lives to change our world forever more."

Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs Senator Michael Ronaldson then spoke, welcoming the crowd gathered and noting that the eerie silence of the new day was an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on those who had lost their lives on the peninsula.

"I can only imagine what these men, the finest of their generation thought and felt as their boats carried them from the safety of their homes and families, to the heart of a global conflict."

Turkish Army 2nd Lieutenant Mehmet Akbas read a quotation by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and was followed by 1st Lieutenant Gokhan Sabancilar.

Those who lost their lives of the shores of Gallipoli became Turkey's sons as well, he said.

The speeches then stopped while a choir and the crowd sang Amazing Grace.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae took to the podium.

"One hundred years ago Europe was headed into what has long been remembered as a golden summer, no one could have foreseen that summer's end would herald one of the darkest periods of our history," he said.

"The First World War cast a long, dark shadow, and ripped our world apart."

Australia's Secretary of Veterans' Affairs Simon Lewis said many Australian and New Zealanders grew up with the stories of heroism displayed by Anzac forces and the stoicism with which they bore hardships.

"Like all history, these stories are multi-faceted, and the full was much more complex and layered, nonetheless, the words of those who served here, written at the time do tell of the most extraordinary acts being undertaken but those who simply did their jobs and did their duty as soldiers."

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Chaplain Lance Lukin then recounted a prayer of remembrance to those gathered.

"God of liberty and love help us this day and in this place to remember the first Anzacs, both Australian and New Zealander and the generations of people who have died in the time of war. In this place help us remember those who bear the pain of war, help us also to remember the widows, girlfriends and parents, orphans, and all those who waited in vain for the return of a loved one."

Royal Australian Airforce Chaplain Kevin Russell then read the Lord's Prayer before wreaths were laid on behalf of all the nations which took part in the Gallipoli campaign as bagpipes played in the background.

Australian Chief of Defence Force General David Hurley then recited the Ode of Remembrance before The Last Post played.

One minute's silence was then observed and Reveille played before the National Anthems of Turkey, NEw Zealand and Australia

Thousands attend Auckland service 

Thousands of people assembled outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum this morning to commemorate New Zealand's "contribution to freedom".

The ANZAC Day dawn service opened with the sounds of the Maori trumpet and the hymn "Abide with me".

War veterans marched onto the Court of Honour, and a prayer reminded Kiwis to honour those who died.

"We will remember them as friends, as comrades ... They will grow not old."

Auckland's mayor Len Brown placed a wreath on the cenotaph to remember "all who have fallen, and all who have served".

The sounds of 'The Last Post' echoed around the domain, followed by a minute of silence.

The ode "For the Fallen" was then recited by two veterans, first in Te Reo and then in English.

The New Zealand flag, alongside Australia's, was hoisted on the roof of the museum, followed by singing of "Poppies and Pohutakawa".

In recognition of fellow ANZACs, the crowd sang the Australian national anthem, followed by ours - in Maori and English.

The band played as the veterans marched off the court to a round of applause.

Three horses were part of the part of this morning's service, to honour the thousands that lost their lives in war.

More than 8000 horses served in World War One. Only four returned.

Christchurch dawn service

More than 2000 people gathered in Christchurch's Cranmer Square for a dawn parade.

Veterans marched in to the hushed park at 6.15am, led by the New Zealand Army Band.

The crowd clapped as the veterans marched in.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel gave a welcome before association wreaths were laid at a makeshift cenotaph topped with wooden cross, in front of two rows of white crosses to represent the 18,200 New Zealanders killed in World War One.

Wreaths were laid by flight lieutenant Steve Heriban of the Royal Australian Air Force, Major General Tim Gall of the NZDF, politicians Nicky Wager MP and Clayton Cosgrove MP, and representatives of the Consular Corps, police, Fire Service, St John and the Merchant Navy.

Peter Dawson, president of the Christchurch RSA dedicated the wreaths "to the memory of those who did not return", not just from WWI, but all wars and conflicts since, including most recently, Afghanistan.

Some of the crowd, and veterans, joined in with singing the national anthem.

Bryan Shankland VRD (Volunteer Reserve Decoration) of the Canterbury Malaya Veterans Association, gave the Anzac remembrance where he paid tribute to the relationship between Kiwi and Australian soldiers.

Today, he said, is about remembering "the sacrifices others have made so we can enjoy the principles and freedoms we have inherited."

After a hymn and reading by the Very Rev. Lynda Patterson, Flight Lieutenant Steve Heriban of the Royal Australian Air Force read the Anzac dedication, composed by Digger L. E. Vernazoni, DCM.

Since the Anzac troops received their baptism of fire at Gallipoli 99 years ago, Anzac has become "one of the immortal names of history", he wrote.

"And now, at this hour, and on this day, it is fitting that we should gather here to honour the memory of those who went to the battlefields of that war, but did not return.

"We pray that their fight, and their sacrifice, may not have been in vain, and that in due season their everlasting memorial may be 'Peace on earth and good will among men'."

The Last Post was played in a rising red dawn.

Binyon's Lines were read by Herbie Timu of the Malayan Veterans Association and Mr Dawson, followed by a volley of gunfire and reveille.

After a full rendition of the national anthem, the parade was dismissed and the general public and community groups were invited to lay their wreaths.

The citizens Anzac Day commemoration service will be held at transitional 'cardboard' cathedral at 10am.

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