A DAWN service was held at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle yesterday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings during the First World War.
The campaign, launched by Allied forces on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula, was designed to be a decisive blow aimed at knocking the Turks out of the war.
But eight months later, and at a cost of an estimated 145,000 lives, the Allies pulled out, having failed in their objective. The campaign involved men from New Zealand and Australia and is regarded as a defining moment in the countries’ history, with Anzac Day – the day the campaign began – commemorated annually. The ceremony in Edinburgh began with a performance of And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, written by Peebles-born songwriter Eric Bogle, and the Legion Scotland National Standards being marched across the castle drawbridge.
The service, attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael, was broadcast to the public.
Lt Col Roger Binks, from the Scottish National War Memorial, said: “There were many Scots regiments who were there and the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, so it was very much a combined effort.” Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland have been taking part in commemorations in Gallipoli.
The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry were also in Gallipoli, where they joined more than 10,000 people gathering for a dawn pilgrimage.
‘Many Scots regiments were there. It was very much a combined effort’
The Australians and New Zealanders had huddled together overnight to be close to the site where troops launched an amphibious attack at first light. Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand premier John Key were at the ceremony near Anzac Cove.
James Griffith, a 59-year-old farmer from Sydney, said he was there to honour his great-uncle, Sutton Ferrier, who was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Griffith said: “I have known about Gallipoli since being a child. The whole country is really excited about it.”
The Queen laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall at a service attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Cambridge, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and descendants of the troops.
During the service, the famous verse from Laurence Binyon’s poem For The Fallen, which begins with the line “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old’’, was read by 22-year-old Michael Toohey. Toohey’s great-great uncle, Private Thomas Toohey of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was killed in action during a Gallipoli landing at V Beach, Cape Helles, on 25 April 1915 aged 22.