Sound: 'Today in New Zealand history', Anzac Day

Listen to Today in New Zealand history, April the 25th: the spirit of Anzac, which was recorded in 1950.


Though Anzac Day is not usually observed in the spirit in which it was instituted, there is probably no date in our history that has a greater significance for us than April the 25th, 1915.

On the afternoon of April the 24th, 1915, high hopes steamed out in a great armada from Mudros Harbour toward the Turkish mainland of Gallipoli. Strategy dictated that aid should be brought to our hard-pressed ally Russia, by crossing the straits and opening the Black Sea. Before daylight, the 3rd Australian Division had landed, stormed gallantly up the steep hillsides and drawn upon themselves a rapidly concentrated enemy strength.

The New Zealanders, landing in the middle of the day, dashed eagerly across the beach and struggled under intense fire to scale the hillsides and reinforce their Australian comrades. They were now a single force in every sense. From the moment of landing, corps, colour and unit didn't matter. All struggled to gain an eminence and dig themselves in against inevitable attacks.

From that hour, both armies fought incessantly, day and night, week after week. The odds were desperate - the terrain, a strongly entrenched enemy, thirst, heat, often hunger and cold, and through it all disease creeping apace, and the persistent voice of disillusionment. The golden hopes of the landing dispersed like thistledown.

Supreme suffering, stubborn courage, unflinching devotion to duty, all seemed in vain. Yet something precious had been born. By their common suffering and heroism, the men of the ANZAC Corps in those early days forged a spirit of comradeship which was to carry them through years of trial and motivate great deeds in the future.

In common they admired the fine heroism of the British troops, the untiring efficiency of the navy, the comradely suffering of the Royal Naval Divsion.

Something special and enduring was born when Australians and New Zealanders fought together on Gallipoli. That Anzac spirit of trust, mutual respect and comradeship was extended to the whole people of Australia and New Zealand, imparting a new temper of tolerance to our intercourse.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Sound: 'Today in New Zealand history', Anzac Day

What do you know?