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Team Turkey’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 14 Sep 2008

Location: Cannakale-Gallipoli, Turkey

MapToday we went on an organised tour to Gallipol. At 12 o'clock we met up with a small group of about 15 people and began our tour by crossing the Dardenelles in a small private boat. After a bite to eat in a restaurant on the other side we travelled to Gallipoli by mini bus, about 10 kms away.

Our tour of Gallipoli was all that I'd hoped. We were taken around to all the various sites. The cemeteries were really moving, especially seeing the soldier's young ages; the youngest being only 14yrs, who had lied about his age. It was also moving seeing Simpson's grave (Simpson and his donkey). Our soldiers fought the Turks over such a small area. At one point they were fighting each other with only 8 metres in between our trenches and theirs. This is where they traded food and cigarettes. At one stage they had singing concerts, especially by one Turkish soldier. But one night there was silence because the Turkish singer had been shot and our men were saddened at the thought that one of their bullets could have killed the enemy with the magnificent voice. How sad. As our Turkish Guide said, this campagn just shouldn't have happened and was such an enormous waste of life. The experts agree that as a result of this campagn over half a million people died on the battlefield or later from both sides. Our guide was brilliant. He explained everything to us in detail and told us many wonderful stories.

Going to Gallipoli was a wonderful experience and one I shall never forget. I have always wanted to see this special place. It was made even more significant for me knowing that my grandfather fought here (luckily he was wounded and taken away for medical treatment) and also due to the death 2 months ago of our dear Uncle Jim, a Japanese prisoner of war in WWII.

I had a short walk on the beach at ANZAC Cove where I was able to feel the warm water of the Agean Sea and collect a few small smooth rocks to bring home. The sea was the same beautiful turquoise as it is all over Turkey. I hope other members of my family will also be able to visit Gallipoli sometime in the future. It is a very moving place and I feel honoured to have been able to see and feel it for myself.