ANZAC Day Origins

ANZAC Day Origins

The ANZAC tradition began in World War I with a landing on 25 April, 1915 near Gallipoli on the Turkish Aegean coast. Because of a navigational error, the Anzac's came ashore about a mile north of the intended landing point. Instead of facing the expected beach and gentle slope they found themselves at the bottom of steep cliffs, offering the few Turkish defenders an ideal defensive position. Establishing a foothold, the Anzacs found an advance to be impossible. After eight months of stalemate the Allies withdrew, leaving 10,000 dead amongst the Anzac's and over 33,000 British dead.
Although the Anzac's were a minority of the half-million Allied men who served at Gallipoli, the troops from the two young nations were often at the vanguard and became renowned for their doggedness despite what the British regarded as a lack of discipline. A full 10% of the New Zealand population (then just under 1 million) served overseas during World War I.
The last known Gallipoli veteran of any nationality, Alec Campbell of Tasmania, Australia, died in May 2002.