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Lest we forget: Commemorating overseas

There are many ways you can commemorate Anzac Day or Remembrance Day overseas – here we reveal some of the best tour options and advice.

The Dawn Service at ANZAC Cove in Turkey has become an increasingly popular pilgrimage for Australians, so much so that places for 2015’s centenary service were filled through a ballot in 2014, with 52,000 people applying for one of the 8000 spots reserved for Australians and 2000 spots for New Zealanders.

There are, however, still plenty of ways to be a part of the commemoration ceremonies and visit the sites that form such an important part of Australia’s military history:

  • Trafalgar Tours is taking bookings for nine- and 15-day tours of Turkey which will take in the Lone Pine Cemetery and ANZAC Cove;
  • Portuscale Cruises’ mammoth 57-day Battlefields & Gallipoli cruise sails through history from Sandakan back to Canakkale, where some of the fiercest fighting at Gallipoli took place;
  • Viator has small group tours to the French and Belgium WWI battlefields – places such as Flanders, Somme, Pozieres, Passchendaele, Fromelles and Ypres where 46,000 of the 295,000 Australians serving lost their lives;
  • ecruising.travel’s 15-night cruise will be accompanied by former Air Marshal Raymond George Funnell, who will provide in-depth insight into the experience of ANZAC soldiers during the war, while on the morning of 25 April guests will watch the Dawn Service while moored off the beaches of Gallipoli.

And while 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, it is also the 50th anniversary of the deployment of the first Australian battle group to Vietnam; 60,000 soldiers served in the 10 years Australia was involved in the war, with 521 fatalities.

  • Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours has launched a Sons of ANZAC Vietnam Tour from 1–9 October in the lead-up to Vietnam Veterans Day next year, conducted by Vietnam platoon commander Lt Col Gary McKay (ret).

 

Things to remember

Some prudent advice from The Department of Veterans’ Affairs

 

Gallipoli, Turkey

  • Dress appropriately. There’s no shelter at the commemorative sites and after you leave your tour bus you will be exposed to the elements for up to 24 hours.
  • Wear sensible shoes. You will need to walk distances of up to eight kms, up steep and uneven dirt roads.
  • There will be large crowds and you may experience long delays due to traffic and security arrangements.
  • Gallipoli is a sacred place for Australians, New Zealanders and Turks – please respect it when you are onsite.

Villers-Bretonneux, France

  • From 2pm on 24 April until 2pm on 25 April, the road leading to the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux will be closed to all private vehicles.
  • To attend the Dawn Service you can either book a seat on a shuttle provided by Somme Tourism, park in the villages of Villers-Bretonneux or Corby Fouilloy and walk to the site, or attend as part of a formal coach tour.
    Details on shuttle bookings can be found at dva.gov.au/france
  • Dress appropriately. It can be very cold at dawn and warm later in the day (layers are encouraged).
  • After the Dawn Service, services will be held in the nearby towns of Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt, followed by a second Australian service at the Digger Memorial near Bullecourt – all are welcome.

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This article appeared in issue 13

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