Hundreds gather in Gallipoli for Chunuk Bair commemorations

  • 09/08/2015
Commemoration to mark the centenary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair (Photo: Supplied)
Commemoration to mark the centenary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair (Photo: Supplied)

More than 400 have attended a commemorative service on the Gallipoli Peninsula to mark 100 years since the Battle of Chunuk Bair.

The violent and bloody clash that left hundreds of Kiwi, Australian and Turkish soldiers dead took place over the possession of a hill.

Yesterday gathered under the blazing Turkish sun, international dignitaries, descendants and past and present soldiers paid their respects to their fallen comrades.

Dignitaries who attended the ceremony included the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine, the Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove, His Excellency Sir Peter Cosgrove, His Excellency Jonathan Curr, New Zealand Ambassador to Turkey, Minister of Veterans Affairs the Honourable Craig Foss, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Timothy Gall, and Corporal (Rtd) Willie Apiata VC.

A colour party which carried the regimental colour of the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion Group displaying the battle honours for Sari Bair, was included in the service.

It was the first time these colours had been back on the peninsula since the battle during WWI.

The battle for Chunuk Bair was the first battle in which Maori fought under the New Zealand flag.

The Maori contingent lost 17 men, and a further 89 were injured.

Yesterday the New Zealand Defence Force Maori cultural group sang a waiata and performed a moving haka for the fallen soldiers.

Commemoration Director John McLeod says the commemoration was a brilliant success.

"This was a unique commemoration that focused specifically on one battle where New Zealand suffered horrendous losses. It was also an honour to be able to include our Australian Defence Force mates in true Anzac spirit.

"They have honoured their dead and those who returned from the August Offensive with pride, dignity and fervour."

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