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Dawn service held to mark sacrifice of Anzac soldiers

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Lest we forget: members of the Antipodean community gathered at Warwick Camp early this morning (Photograph supplied)

The island’s Australian and New Zealand communities gathered at sunrise today to commemorate countrymen who fought and died in battle.

Anzac Day — the Antipodean equivalent of Bermuda’s Remembrance Day — is held each April 25 to mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in 1915.

More than 11,000 Anzac soldiers died during the ill-fated campaign by the Allies to open up a new front in the eastern Mediterranean in the First World War by invading the Turkish peninsular.

At the solemn service about 40 Australians and New Zealanders resident in Bermuda gathered at Warwick Camp to honour those who had served and died.

Dignitaries also attending included US deputy consul general Vanja Vukota; Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security; and Emir Saleem Talbot of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Centre.

Deirdre Mellamphy, chairwoman of the Anzac Day organising committee, gave an opening address before explaining the significance of the day.

She said: “By the time the campaign ended, more than 130,000 men had died — at least 87,000 Ottoman soldiers and 44,000 Allied soldiers, including more than 8,700 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders — approximately a sixth of all those who had landed on the peninsula.

“The Australian and New Zealand forces displayed great courage, discipline, and endurance, such qualities which came to be known as the 'Anzac Spirit'. Their immense sacrifice made such an impression that it influenced the development of a distinctive national identity in both Australia and New Zealand.

“We urge that their labour and sacrifice may not be in vain, but that their spirit may live on in us and in generations to come. That the liberty, truth and justice which they sought to preserve may be seen and known in all the nations upon Earth.”

Last post: Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, delivered prayers while a bugler and piper looked on (Photograph supplied)

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, gave a scripture reading and offered opening prayers.

Anzac Day addresses delivered by the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand were read out.

Tribute: following the service, wreaths were laid near the Cenotaph on Front Street (Photograph supplied)

In his speech, Christopher Luxon, New Zealand’s prime minster said it was a time to “pause from our daily lives, attending services, spending time with family, or taking the chance for some quiet reflection”.

He said the day of commemoration created “a special sense of unity as we share in remembrance”.

As the sun rose, Lieutenant Sheldon Fox, the RBR’s band officer, played The Last Post and Reveille, which were followed by the national anthems of New Zealand, Australia, and Bermuda.

Closing out the ceremony, Ms Mellamphy said: “Every day, the members of our defence forces walk in the footsteps of those who fought and died before us and every day we live in peace, one and free because of that sacrifice.

“We have much to be grateful for, and much to live up to, as we walk into dawn’s new light together.”

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Published April 25, 2024 at 7:58 pm (Updated April 25, 2024 at 10:24 pm)

Dawn service held to mark sacrifice of Anzac soldiers

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