ANZAC Day commemorations on Saturday began before sun rise with a poignant service of commemoration and reflection at London's Hyde Park Corner with HRH The Princess Royal. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended a Service of Remembrance led by the Gallipoli Association at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Later thousands gathered on Whitehall for the British nation’s service of commemoration at the Cenotaph to pay homage to all those who fought and died during the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey 100 years ago.
The Whitehall event, which was attended by HM The Queen, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of Cambridge, commemorated the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Uniquely the service included an art installation erected near the Cenotaph: Gallipoli 1915 - a small-scale reproduction of a sculpture which forms part of the ‘Gallipoli 1915’ memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Made from a fallen oak tree, the leafless branches symbolise the hands of soldiers on the beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, reaching out to be evacuated.
Reflective pieces of music drawn from those countries that took part in the Gallipoli campaign, were sung by Choirs of Chelmsford Cathedral and was played by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth, the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, the Band of the Grenadier Guards, the Band of the Scots Guards and The Turkish Air Force Band, under the directorship of Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, Principal Director of Music and the most senior military musician in the British services.
Children from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey gave readings during the service. Direct descendant, Michael Toohey, 22, is exactly the same age as his Great, Great Uncle, Private Thomas Toohey, of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, when he was killed in action at V beach on this day in 1915.
On the last stroke of 11am The Last Post was sounded by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and two minutes’ silence was observed.
HM The Queen laid the first wreath at the cenotaph followed by the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Government representatives, and representatives from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, defense chiefs and representatives of the Commonwealth and service associations.
The March Past of around 3,000 people was led by 1,500 service personnel, Representatives from the Armed Forces of other countries who fought at Gallipoli, members of military associations and, in particular, members of the Gallipoli Association.
The Cenotaph service was followed by a service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey, attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, and organised by the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand to commemorate the 99th anniversary of Anzac Day.
More than 550,000 Allied troops participated in the Gallipoli Campaign, fighting in the harsh terrain of the Turkish peninsula, or in ships off the coast; including those from Britain, the Indian sub-continent, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France and Canada. The campaign, which lasted from April 1915 to 9 January 1916, saw considerable losses for Britain, her allies, and for the Turkish.