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Abbey marks Anzac Day

Wednesday, 25th April 2012

Abbey marks Anzac Day

The annual Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark ANZAC Day was held at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 25th April 2012.

In his bidding the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

The landing of allied forces at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 led to one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. New Zealand and Australian forces joined forces joined together for the first time and a new word entered the language: ANZAC.
Remembering that so many died, we honour the bravery and determination of the men at Gallipoli
The memory of what became known as The Great War is with us as a warning and an encouragement. We are warned that war involves suffering and death; we are encouraged by the spirit of national pride shown by the soldiers we remember this ANZAC Day.

The Address was given by the Right Reverend Richard Ellena, Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand.

HE Derek Leask, High Commissioner for New Zealand, read Isaiah 43: 1-7 and HE John Dauth AO LVO, High Commissioner for Australia, read St John 12: 20-28.

HE Ahmet Unal Cevikoz, the Turkish Ambassador, read the words of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, inscribed on the memorial at ANZAC Cove in the Dardanelles.

Prayers were led by The Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon and Precentor of Westminster.

During the service the flags of Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and the United Kingdom were carried through the church and placed in the Sacrarium.

The High Commissioners for Australia and New Zealand laid wreaths at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist. Andrej Kouznetsov, Organ Scholar, played before the service.

The Last Post was sounded by Musician Ben Beavis of the Band of the Grenadier Guards. The Fanfare Trumpeters from the Band of the Irish Guards played a Brass Fanfare.

* It is now 96 years since the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. In the heroic campaign that followed, the casualties on both sides were heavy. Of the Allied forces – from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Newfoundland and India – some 50,000 lost their lives. The total number of casualties, including those wounded or evacuated for sickness, was some 250,000. The Turkish forces lost over 86,000 and also sustained a higher number of wounded.

The memorial at ANZAC Cove reads:

‘Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives,
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us here; they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers
Who sent their sons to faraway countries,
Wipe away your tears;
Your sons are now lying in our bosom, and are in peace,
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.’

See also:

The Order of Service (PDF, 615 KB)

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