Every year on April 25th, Australians and New Zealanders celebrate ANZAC Day. This date commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives in the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I. To help you understand more about this day of remembrance, here are 10 interesting facts about Anzac Day.
1. Although the ANZAC acronym stands for ‘Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’, those who fought were volunteers not conscripts.
3. The first dawn service for Anzac Day was held in 1923. Services are held at this time because this is when the original Gallipoli landing took place.
4. The term ANZAC is protected under Australian law. If it’s misused a penalty of up to 12-months’ imprisonment or a large fine may apply.
5. Located in Turkey, the Gallipoli Peninsula is found close to the famous city of Troy. This archaeological site found world fame thanks to Homer and his great work ‘The lliad’, inspiring the movie ‘Troy’ and countless people to visit this place of legend.
6. Most of the ANZACs were sent to Egypt rather than Europe for their initial training. This decision was made by the British as they wanted to increase the number of forces protecting the Suez Canal.
7. The ANZACs were supposed to land at Gaba Tepe. However due to navigational errors they landed a few kilometres further north, at an area that has since been renamed ANZAC cove.
8. ANZAC biscuits were made at home to sell at fetes and other events to raise money for the war effort. They were also sometimes sent by wives and women’s groups to the soldiers serving abroad. As they didn’t have ingredients such as milk and eggs, they had a long shelf-life and could last the two-month voyage across the seas.
9. The men who served in Gallipoli created the idea of the ‘ANZAC spirit‘, which refers to the great bravery, courage, endurance and mateship they showed during the war. Following their return home, these qualities became a key part of Australia’s identity and remain so today.
10. Many veterans and their families time their visit to Gallipoli with the ANZAC Day services. But in actual fact, it’s possible to visit the numerous memorials and graveyards there year-round.