Thousands gather for emotional Gallipoli Anzac Day dawn service

Crowds have gathered on the shores of Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to remember the courage and sacrifice of the Anzacs 103 years on from their bloody landings.

A pair draped with an Australian flag, participate in the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach

A pair draped with an Australian flag, participate in the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach Source: AAP

Thousands of people have gathered on the rugged shores of Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to mark the 103rd anniversary of Australian and New Zealand forces making their first bloody landing there.

It was the first major battle of World War I for Australian and New Zealand troops, who landed in a hail of bullets that generated waves of grief in both nations.

People wait for the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach, the site of World War I landing of the ANZACs
People wait for the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach, the site of World War I landing of the ANZACs Source: AAP


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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has joined a sea of Aussie and Kiwi pilgrims gathered at Anzac Cove to honour those who died in an ill-fated attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

 

Mr Dutton said the diggers who came ashore in Turkey 103 years ago had helped forge Australia's national identity.

"A legacy of resilience, determination, facing decisions and sights we would never wish upon anyone," he said.

"We feel we know them, the Anzacs. Not only because they fought to defend us, and sacrifice for us, but it is also the power of that sacrifice which forged a young nation and values they embody and bequeath to us survive to this very day.



"They are at the core of our people and our purpose. And for this, we will be eternally grateful. Lest we forget."

Earlier, New Zealand's army chief Major General Peter Kelly painted picture of the horrors Aussie and Kiwi troops faced that day, as they prepared to go ashore, machine guns pointed at them from cliffs that were still shrouded in darkness.

   

"For hundreds it would be their last day on earth. In total, during the fierce and confused fighting of the first three days of the campaign, more than 1000 Anzacs were killed," he said.

"Their deaths created waves of grief which swept across our homelands."

Maj Gen Kelly said Australians and New Zealanders would continue to visit Anzac Cove on April 25 each year, to remember the sacrifices of those who gave up their lives or went home with terrible physical and mental scars.

"They are drawn to Gallipoli because the passing of time has not diminished the tragedy of what occurred here, its significance for us or the debt we owe to those who served and sacrificed."

People weight for the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach, the site of World War I landing of the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on April 25, 1915
People weight for the Dawn Service ceremony at the Anzac Cove beach, the site of World War I landing of the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on Ap Source: AAP


Earlier, there was drama for a group of young Australian and New Zealand

The bus was destroyed along with passengers' possessions but it's believed no-one was hurt and the group travelled on to Anzac Cove on another bus.

"We may have lost all our belongings but by some miracle everyone made it out ok. Don't take life for granted," New Zealander Laura Smith wrote on her Facebook page.

The service at Anzac Cove is continuing.


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Published 25 April 2018 at 12:06pm