Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

As the sun rises over Anzac Cove in Gallipoli on the 25th April this year, Australia and New Zealand will remember this day, one hundred years ago, when the Anzacs, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, landed at Gallipoli.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Lest we forget


Remembering Anzac Day

Many Australians visit Turkey and many make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli to Remember Anzac Day. Is this because of our sense of duty or is it because as we get older, we realise that the history of our country is important? For me it was a mix of both.

As schoolchildren, Anzac Day was important to us for one reason…a day we didn’t have to go to school! We knew the history but we could not relate to it.

As we got older we may have attended an Anzac Day service in our home town. In the last few years there’s definitely been an increase in the number of people attending Anzac Day services, especially amongst the younger generation.

As we travelled……
In 2013, we attended the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Brettoneux. With the sun slowly rising over the war memorial, the sound of the lone piper and the speeches citing excerpts of letters from those in the trenches, a scene was set that we had never imagined.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The sun rises at Villers-Bretonneux


A day spent driving around the beautiful Somme area, the hills dotted with thousands of white crosses and war memorials recording the many names of those who lost their lives, very quickly made us realise exactly the price that was paid by so many young men.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Cemeteries dot the Somme landscape in France



Centenary celebrations for Anzac Day actually started last year. On Nov 1st 1914, troop ships carrying Australia’s soldiers left Albany in Western Australia for Europe. Visiting this memorial and reading comments from those who were on the boats added to the realism of the situation.

With all of this, we felt that the time had come to finally visit Gallipoli.
Our ferry from Greece took us to Kusadasi and from there we drove via Ephesus and Alaçati to Canakkale and finally by ferry to Eceabat.


Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Signs point the way to Gallipoli in Eceabat


We had not arranged a guide to tour the battlefields of Gallipoli but by coincidence there was a tour group meeting at our first stop. I chatted to the tour leader, asking which company he was from. In my years as a travel agent we had used a specific Turkish/Australian tour guide for clients who wanted to visit Gallipoli. He was from the same company we used but you can imagine my surprise when he told me his name. He was the owner of the company that we had always dealt with. What a coincidence….it was like meeting a long lost friend! We then joined his tour of the area which gave us a far greater insight to the history that we would otherwise have had.


Highlights of Gallipoli

Beach Cemetery

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

A red flower marks Simpson’s Grave at Beach CemeteryExploring Gallipoli in Remembrance of the ANZACs


This cemetery marks the southern end of Anzac Cove and a point known as Hell Spit. The most famous grave here is that of John Simpson Kilpatrick of ‘Simpson and his donkey‘ fame

Private John Simpson Kilpatrick was killed by shrapnel on May 19 aged 22 years. He had been in Gallipoli for only 25 days but in that time he and his donkey had carried 202 wounded men back to the medical stations.

Not far from here, a path leads you to Shrapnel Valley and onto Monash Valley. Shrapnel Valley was the main route that the troops took to get to from the beach to the frontline. Once the Turks realised this it became a dangerous path to take. It was along these paths that Simpson and his donkey carried many wounded. It was also here that he met his death.


Anzac Cove

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Anzac Cove


The site of the first landing of the Anzac troops on 25th April 1915 is marked by a solitary wall bearing the words Anzac Koyu/ Anzac Cove. Here twelve hundred soldiers from the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions of the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade were first ashore. Unfortunately they were supposed to have been a kilometre and a half further south but the boats lost their way in the dark. They were met with heavy gunfire from the Turkish.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Anzac Cove now and in 1915


Our guide had a photo of how the beach looked at this time which we compared to now. 100 years ago the beach was 600 metres long and 20 metres wide but erosion has now reduced it by 30-40 metres.


Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Anzac Cove Beach


Kabatepe Ari Burnu Beach Memorial

Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.

These poignant words, written by Mehet Kemel Ataturk in 1934, were sent to the first officials of the Allied Forces to visit Gallipoli after the First World War. The memorial on which they are written is close to the sight of the first Gallipoli landing on April 25th 1915…

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Ataturk’s memorial at Ari Burnu



Ari Burnu Cemetery

At the northern end of Anzac Cove is Ari Burnu (Bee Point) Cemetery. On that fateful day, troops landed all along this stretch of water and faced the task of trying to head to Chunuk Bair, the highest point near here.

Many met their death here and are buried in the cemetery where two large oak trees, symbols of long life, stand majestically over the graves.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Ari Burnu cemetery


I went down and stood on the beach, thinking of those who were on of the first boats to come ashore. According to Charles Bean, Australia’s war correspondent at the time, they quickly realised they were in the wrong place but had to proceed up the beach. A call to retreat was requested a few days after the landing but was denied. The rest is history.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The beach at Ari Burnu


Anzac Commemorative Site

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The Anzac Commemorative Site


The commemorative site was moved to this position on North Beach in 2001 so more people could be accommodated for the dawn service. This year it will see the most people it has ever seen with 10,500 people attending the dawn service.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The wall in front of the white car in the picture has display panels telling the Anzac Day story.


If you stand with your back to the sea, you can see one of three high ridges that faced the soldiers. Having come from training camps in Egypt, they quickly nicknamed this ridge the Sphinx…a perfect named as you can see!

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs



Turkish Soldier

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The statue of a Turkish soldier carrying an ANZAC soldier


On the road to Lone Pine, you will pass a statue that depicts a turkish soldier carrying and Anzac soldier.

The scene is supposedly inspired by a story told by Lord Casey, who was once Australia’s Governor General. The story tells the tale of the Turkish soldier raising a white flag and then getting out of the trench and carrying the injured Anzac soldier to the Allied trenches. This has not been confirmed and there are many variations of the story told but the gesture is memorable.


Lone Pine Memorial

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Lone Pine Memorial


Lone Pine is the site of the Australian War Memorial. Australian Anzac Day memorial services take place here each year. It is one of the memorials that Australians visiting Gallipoli ensure they visit.

Over three days in August, in a very small area and with opposing trenches only metres away from each other, 2000 Allied soldiers and 7000 Turkish soldiers lost their lives. Seven Victoria Crosses were award to our soldiers at this, one of the hardest battles of the war.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The trenches at Lone Pine


The lone pine tree that stands here today was grown from seed after the original was destroyed early on in the battle and its replacement was burnt in a fire. The story tells of a soldier who found a pine cone on his dead brother and sent the cone back to his mother as a memento. Seeds were taken for this cone for a pine tree in Canberra and Albany and for the replacement tree in Turkey.

It was here that I found the headstone for 16 year old Private O’Donnell who had runaway to join the army. So young.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The grave of a sixteen year old soldier


Alay Turkish Cemetery.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Alay Turkish Cemetery


We also stopped at this Turkish cemetery that remembers the Turkish 57th regiment, led by Mustafa Kemel (Ataturk)

The 57th regiment were fighting at Chunuk Bair when Ataturk gave his famous order:

“I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die. In the time if takes us to die, other troops and commanders will arrive to take our places”.


Chunuk Bair Memorial

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The hills of Sari Bair that the troops had to overcome to reach Chunuk Bair


One of the first objectives for the ANZAC troops when they landed at Gallipoli was to take control of Chunuk Bair, a high point overlooking Gallipoli.

New Zealand lost many troops in one of the most ferocious battles of the war.  Approximately 30,000 troops died here over a period of 4 days in August 1915 and it is here that the New Zealand war memorial remembers those who died.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The New Zealand Memorial


Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The trenches at Chunuk Bair


Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs


It is also the site of a statue of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk.

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

The statue of Atatuk


Ataturk gave his famous order here as the first wave of the Anzac troops made their way to the point on April 25th.  Turkish leaders did not believe that the allies would traverse the steep slopes surrounding this point but Ataturk did and organised for his troops to be waiting.


Brighton Beach

Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

Brighton Beach where the troops should have landed


From here we headed back to Brighton Beach, our starting point of the tour and the beach where the ANZACs were supposed to have landed.

I wonder how history would read if they had been on course and landed here instead of Anzac Cove.


TJ Tours
Contact TJ at [email protected]
Anzac Gallipoli Tours

 TJ Tours in gallipoli


Where to stay:
Eceabat is the closest town to the Gallipoli sites
We chose to stay at Hotel Casa Villa, a very clean B&B close to the town.
Book Hotel Casa Villa here

Though it was fully booked when we wanted to visit, my first choice would be The Gallipoli Houses which is in a small village between Eceabat and Gallipoli.


Where to Eat:
Liman Restaurant
Istiklal Caddesi 67, Eceabat
Excellent seafood


Other articles you may enjoy:
An Introduction to Istanbul for the First Time Visitor
Your Guide to Istanbul: What to do
Istanbul’s Aya Sofia Museum

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38 Responses to Exploring Gallipoli and Remembering the ANZACs

  1. Denise D Hammond April 22, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    This is a beautiful post. All I rally know about Gallipoli is what I saw in the movie, unfortunately. Turkey is pretty high on my bucket-list and your photos make me want to mive it even higher.

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

      Thank you Denise for your kind words. I must admit that my knowledge was a lot less before we visited there. Being able to meet up with our guide TJ was fantastic…we learnt so much about this time.

  2. Anabel April 23, 2015 at 12:46 am #

    Very moving and beautiful pictures. I get the same feeling visiting Civil War sites in the US.

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks Anabel. I was surprised at how moved I was when we visited Villers-Brettoneux for Anzac Day a couple of years ago. Since then we have been to a few sites and are enjoying learning all about this time in our history.

  3. Krista April 23, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I’d never heard of the ANZACS until I moved to Australia. How good it is to hear your experiences and feelings about this day. XO Your photos are very moving. XO

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks Krista. It’s such a big part of our history. Now you’re an Aussie, you will have to go to an Anzac Day service!

  4. Jenny April 23, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Beautifully written Jenny!

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Thanks Jenny. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Cindy April 23, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Lovely post on a tragic place. We stopped briefly when I was in Turkey, but we only visited one part of the site — I loved seeing and learning about more of this place.

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      Thanks Cindy. I think visiting Gallipoli and seeing the landscape that faced the troops makes everyone realise how futile the war was always going to be. To lose so many young people over this time did create a national spirit and pride that only gets stronger every year.

  6. Johanna April 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    What a beautiful and very moving post Jenny. Coupled with your trademark in depth information and story telling photos this is a post to bookmark for anyone visiting Gallipoli.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

      Thanks Jo. The best thing that happened for us was running into TJ and joining his tour. Whilst we could have toured the sites ourselves, the depth of knowledge he had added so much to the experience.

  7. Rhonda Albom April 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    What a wonderful tribute, filling in many of the details I never knew as an expat in New Zealand. I attended the local ANZAC Day parade.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

      I also learnt a lot about the part New Zealand played in Gallipoli too Rhonda. Before going there I didn’t realise that we had our own memorials where each of our countries lost many of their young soldiers. I’m pleased we finally got to visit the sites.

  8. Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) April 28, 2015 at 12:46 am #

    What a beautiful tribute to the fallen, the heroic and brave spirit of the many people lost to war. Your photos of the Lone Pine and of the trenches remind me of Vimy Ridge memorial in France. Also a very moving site.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

      Thanks Michele. Being able to these sites certainly adds another perspective to what we’ve read in the history books. I also remember the trenches at the Australian Memorial at Le Hamel in France left as they were in some of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen. I imagine Vimy Ridge is similar.

  9. Donna Janke April 28, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    Growing up in Canada, I had not heard about Anzac Day and the battle it commemorated until I was in my thirties and working with Australians on a project. Your post gives me further insight into this piece of history. I imagine it is quite a sobering experience to actually visit the site and see the beach cemetery and the crosses.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

      Yes Donna, It was very sobering to be there. It was sad to read the headstones in the cemeteries and see how young most of the dead were.

  10. Paula McInerney April 28, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Anzac day is such a big deal for us as Australians, as it really did give us an identity and an awareness of our strength, camaraderie and our ability to help one another through the toughest of times. May this never change

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

      Such true words Paula. It is important to us and interesting that more of the younger generation are attending Anzac Day parades. We had a couple of young guys with us on the tour who found it hard reading the ages of the soldiers that had died and realising they were the same age as them. Sobering thoughts indeed!

  11. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru April 29, 2015 at 4:41 am #

    Beautifully written, particularly for those of us who need to brush up on this part of history. The site of so much horror and sadness now evokes peaceful rest, as it should be.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

      Thanks Betsy. Even though we had studied Anzac day from those early school years, I learnt so much going there and seeing the different memorials and areas that had only previously been names in a history book.

  12. santafetraveler April 29, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    Wonderful photos- what a sad place. So many lost their lives there.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

      Thanks Billie. Yes, it is a sad place and harder to accept the deaths when you see how the odds were stacked against the Anzacs. It was a battle with many mistakes made.

  13. Irene S. Levine April 29, 2015 at 6:06 am #

    I never heard of Anzac Day. Thanks for such an informative and compelling post!

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

      That’s interesting Irene that you had never heard of Anzac Day but I’m sure that There’s a lot of American History I dodn’t know either. I’m glad I was able to enlighten you with some of our Australian history.

  14. Life Images by Jill April 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    Thank you Jenny for this post and images from Gallipoli. My great-uncle was killed on 2 May 2015. He was only 19. His name is one of the thousands on the wall at Lone Pine.
    Thank you Jenny.
    Happy travels.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

      I wish I had known Jill…I could have taken a photo for you. They were all so young…I cannot imagine our children going to war at that age and thankfully they didn’t have to. The Lone Pine Memorial is beautiful. Our guide had one of us read a from a letter that a soldier had sent back home…a very moving moment.

  15. Carole Terwilliger Meyers April 30, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Visiting a military memorial is always sobering. And they are almost always beautiful. So I always have mixed feelings when I visit. Your pictures were very enlightening.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

      It is sobering Carole…a good word! The Australian memorials both here and at Villers-Bretonneux certainly made us proud but so sad to see how many young died

  16. Suzanne Stavert May 1, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    Beautiful post. We should always remember the brave souls who have died for our freedom.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

      Thanks Suzanne. Anzac Day certainly does that for Australians. Visiting the battlefields both in France and Turkey moved me more that I thought it would

  17. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) May 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    It’s never easy to visit sites where horrible things have happened, you did a great job in taking us there.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

      Thanks Nat. So true…so many sad stories but so many heroic ones at the same time. It is such an important part of our history that we felt we should visit as we were nearby. I’m glad we did.

  18. budget jan May 4, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    Hi Jenny, This is a great post about a wonderful land and lots of wonderful lives. It is difficult to see such a beautiful place have such a loss of life. We really felt a connection to the peninsula and it is great that the nations involved have memorials there. Lest we forget.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

      Thanks Jan. It was moving being there and seeing where all these soldiers lost their lives. The view from the top of the ridge was beautiful…until you see the trenches and how close the Turks and the Anzacs were to each other.

  19. Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields May 4, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    What a lovely, moving post.

    • Jenny Freedman May 7, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

      Thanks Lyn. For many years I did not feel the need to go to Gallipoli but I am so glad that I have now been.

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