Last month senior military officers from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey hosted a dawn service and subsequent ‘gun-fire breakfast’ to commemorate Anzac Day in Bahrain.
Almost 100 people attended, comprising a broad mix of personnel including two national Ambassadors (United Kingdom and Turkey), two Royal Navy Flag Officers and serving military personnel from 15 of the 31 member countries of the Combined Maritime Forces. Also in attendance was a large group of Australian, New Zealand, British, South African and American expatriates.
Captain Tony Aldred, Royal Australian Navy, said: “it was truly a memorable event, which the Australian contingent was proud to co-host as representatives of the country we love, that remembered the sacrifices made by military personnel throughout the past century in the quest for peace, particularly the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) 101 years ago.”
Planning for the event began several months before the ceremony with officers from the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) taking the lead and working closely with the Australians and Turks. It proved to be a unique opportunity to commemorate Anzac Day with representatives from all three nations. Although far from home, the Anzac Day dawn service, which was held at the British Club in Bahrain, is part of a worldwide tradition that ensures the ‘Anzac spirit’ lives on.
RNZAF Wing Commander (WGCDR) Rodger Pringle said: “25 April has become a crucial part of the fabric of national life for New Zealand, Australia and Turkey. Although Anzac Day does not mark a military triumph for Australia and New Zealand, it does remind us of a very important episode in history. Great suffering was caused to many nations with the loss of so many young men on both sides of the war.”
Commander Ibrahim Girgin of the Turkish Navy added: “every year tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders, as well as millions of Turks visit Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula to pay their respects to their ancestors. However, out of the catastrophe an unexpected outcome has emerged, with Australians, New Zealanders and Turks bound forever by their honourable history, mutual admiration and shared values.”