On the Monday before ANZAC day I went to see a very good choir performance at St Matthews Church, which had some pretty thought provoking poems and songs about the boys packing up and shipping off to war. They really thought- were led to believe- it was going to be a jaunt.

Well thank you lads, for the sacrifices you made, and continue to make.

Myself and a friend went to Gallipoli on ANZAC day. It felt like a pilgrimage.

The night before the dawn service hundreds of mostly Australian and New Zealand people gathered in surprisingly  freezing conditions  to await a dawn service and a walk to Chunuk Bair and other sites on Gallipoli.

We were all on a big lawn near the inhospitable coast line.

Hugo and I didn’t expect such cold conditions and we were very pleased to accept a spare sleeping bag from an Australian at about 2am. It was so cold not many people could catch a sleep so there was a bit of chatter, but I guess a small patch of the people -probably from a Contiki Tour- were having a few beers and being a touch rowdy.

At about 3 or 4am a highly decorated army man walked up on stage and bellowed:

“This is NOT Coolangatta stadium people! This is a sacred place and you WILL show respect. Now sit down and SHUT UP.”

The crowd-us included- all nodded their heads like wee school children up in front of the Headmaster for the first time. Never have I seen such a scolding meted out with such success.  I will never forget it nor the silence that followed.

Silence almost, I should say. We were somewhat ironically surrounded by Turks. Turks selling blankets and/or kebabs. In our silence, during the service, and come to think of it at all times in fact they screeched in ascending volume at 30 second intervals:

ke bab kebab KEBAB.

and

Blannnn kets blankets very cheap very cheap.

I was highly amused at all this and wanted both to  laugh and see what the General would do to these fearless hawkers making a din, but at the same time I was so shit scared of the General that myself and everyone around  had to laugh with our eyes, in absolute silence.

That’s my little story from Gallipoli.

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