Poppies to commemorate WWI Gallipoli campaign
SYDNEY – Agence France-Presse
Visitors pay their respects to Australia's Anzac soldiers as they pin a poppy to the Wall of Remembrance in front of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship in Sydney on March 3, 2015. AFP photo.Thousands of poppies were being added to a memorial "wall" at Sydney's Circular Quay on March 3 in memory of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died in World War I's Gallipoli campaign.
The two-metre structure in the shape of a "100" marks the upcoming century since the April 25, 2015 landing of troops on the peninsula in what is now Turkey.
The 11,500 poppies on the wall will commemorate each of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers who died in the campaign.
"We have an obligation to not just settle for the broad brushstrokes of our history," said Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson.
"But to remember every single one of these men and 25 women nurses in the First World War who gave their lives for us."
More than 60,000 Australian and New Zealand troops joined the allied expedition landing at Gallipoli.
The objective was a quick strike to open the Dardanelles sea passage to the allies and so capture Constantinople -- the metropolis now known as Istanbul -- from the Ottoman allies of Germany.
But they met fierce resistance and the warring sides soon hit a stalemate, with the bitter campaign dragging on for months.
ANZAC and allied troops eventually pulled out at the end of 1915, but not before terrible losses on both sides.
The poppy memorial will be moved onto the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth which leaves Sydney on Wednesday to travel to Gallipoli. The "wall" was started in Auckland on Friday when the cruise liner was in New Zealand.
Onboard the ship which is due to reach the waters off the peninsula on April 24 will be Mark Keys, whose great-grandfather Francis Jensen died in the battle.
"It's a time of great pride and recognition of the struggle that both the soldiers who went over there and the families that were left behind went through," Keys said.