At Dawn on the 25th of April 1915 Allied troops, primarily attempted to take Gallipoli from the Ottoman Empire. Straight into heavy gunfire, the campaign for the Dardanelles and control of Constantinople ground almost immediately to a halt. Dragging on for 8 months in mud and blood, the Allies finally withdrew. Both the fatalities and casualties on both sides of the conflict were enormous.
Australia and New Zealand contributed disproportionally to the troops in that invasion (along with British India). The day has evolved from a recognition of those troops facing extreme odds to a day of national recognition of military service members. For those who persist in thinking everything in US terms, think of it as Memorial Day.
Last year on the Mariner, a service followed by a luncheon was organized by the Aussie contingent. This year I inquired ahead of time and found there were few on board. Thinking about it and talking to a couple of the Aussies I know (neither ex-service personnel) I decided to go ahead and tackle the Cruise Directors Staff about it.
Spent a few days spinning wheels, but somehow everything fell together. The executive chef, given the recipe from Sascha (DL Concierge, Germany/South Africa) made ANZAC biscuits. Father David (retired US Navy Chaplain) provided the prayers. Roxy (the only Australian on the crew) both took on the responsibility of the program, got one of his fellow musicians to play the Last Post and finished with an amazing piece of Australian music relating to the Viet Nam war (voice/piano).
For an event scheduled on short notice, it wasn’t just veterans and Aussies present but a significant number of passengers came to show their respect.
*ANZAC = Australian New Zealand Army Corps