ANZAC Day: 25 April
An overview of ANZAC Day provided for the April 2023 CLWG meeting.
‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. During World War I, on 25th April 1915, ANZAC soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The aim was to open the Dardenelles to allied navies, and ultimately to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul Türkiye). They met fierce resistance and suffered significant casualties. The assault ended after eight months without achieving its military objectives. The most successful part of the campaign was the evacuation of the surviving troops on 19-20 December. ANZAC actions during the campaign led to the creation of the ‘ANZAC Legend’, an important part of the identity of both Australia and New Zealand.
The 25th April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916. On that first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, services were held across Australia, a march through London culminated in a service at Westminster Abbey, and a sports day was held in the Australia camp in Egypt.
Anzac Day remains a public holiday on the 25th April each year. With the coming of the Second World War, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians and New Zealanders who died in that war. The meaning of Anzac Day today includes the remembrance of all Australians and New Zealanders killed in military operations.
Anzac Day remembrance takes two forms.
1. Commemorative services are held at dawn – the time of the original landing – at Gallipoli, across Australia and New Zealand, and around the world including France, Malaysia, and Thailand. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around Australia and New Zealand and at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli.
2. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities and in many smaller centres of Australia and New Zealand.
Played in the trenches and on troopships, the gambling game Two-Up is now illegal on every day in Australia except ANZAC Day.
And ANZAC Biscuits have their own association with ANZAC Day.
To find out more:
Australian Army (2023). ANZAC Day. Available at: https://www.army.gov.au/our-heritage/traditions/anzac-day
Australian Government: Department of Veteran Affairs (2023). ANZAC Day Overseas Services. Available at: https://www.dva.gov.au/recognition/commemorating-all-who-served/commemorative-services/overseas-commemorative-services-0
Australian War Memorial (2023). Gallipoli. Available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/gallipoli
Australian War Memorial (2023). History of ANZAC Day. Available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/traditions#:~:text=In%201916%20the%20first%20Anzac,the%20Australian%20camp%20in%20Egypt.
Hall, N. (2022). How to Play Two-Up: Australia’s Iconic Anzac Day Tradition. Available at: https://manofmany.com/lifestyle/events/how-to-play-two-up-australias-most-iconic-anzac-day-tradition
Imperial War Museum (2023). What you need to know about the Gallipoli Campaign. Available at: https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-gallipoli-campaign
Westminster Abbey (2023). Remembering the ANZACs. Available at: https://www.westminster-abbey.org/about-the-abbey/history/anzac-day
Gelibolu (2005) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450426/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3
Gallipoli (1981 – with a very young Mel Gibson). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082432/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Gallipoli (2015) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3577058/episodes?ref_=tt_eps_sm
Deadline Gallipoli (2015) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3458030/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4
Gallipoli, 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble (2018). GMT Games