ANZAC DAY- PAUL
Apr 25, 2015
12.30 am Arrived at Mimoza Park staging post for 2nd checkpoint and scanning. There was a big screen showing what was going on at North Beach – show started at 19.30 (7.30pm). Stooged around/rested/ate some of the “GOODIES”.
2.30am ish Bused up to Ari Burnu for next security check and scanning then walked to Nth Beach commemorative area. Stands full and grassed areas were chocker’s, but found patch of grass to stand/sit on. 2 big screens to watch (couldn’t see stage area at all). Good view of sea and a couple of times the Sphinx etc lit up by spotlights. Short movies etc Roll of honors etc , presentations, bands, singing etc on big screen.
5.30am Dawn Service with Chuck, Harry – followed dawn service protocols. Very moving.
7.30am On the move along Anzac Road to Artillery Road up to Lone Pine. Stopped at Shell Green Cemetery – wanted to play cricket as Light Horse had done but no bat or ball and hundreds of people stopping for rest half way up hill. Turkish soldiers every 50 m or so with a variety of weapons – some snipers etc.
8.30am NZ off to Chunck Bair and the rest of us went into Lone Pine via security and scanning. Little did we know we would be there till after 7.30pm
10.30am Chuck, Harry & officials arrive for 11.00am service. Again moving and typical service.
Told we could not leave till New Zealand and Turkish service completed around 3.30pm.
SO BEGAN THE LONG WAIT.
2.pm Jim and I went down off stands (very cold) Will and David found me by my hat (Where’s Wally).
2.30pm urged to get into bus groups and stayed with Eric Bird and young Mountjoy and their mates. Stayed with them to 7.30ish. Some people were offended by sleeping/lying/sitting on the grass by headstones. Bird & Mountjoy did not object. Whole area is a graveyard with bodies everywhere, not just where headstones are including under the stands they were sitting on. So we were not offending only accompanying Bird and Mountjoy and his mates.
Bus call started around 4pm and was slow in coming. Began planning a second evacuation. When food ran out Dave did some dumpster diving and came up with apples wrapped in foil from our lunch packages.
6 busloads of Military History Tours group were in the last 8 buses that came. Department of Veterans Affairs could not find our buses.
8.00pm picked up New Zealanders from Chunuk Bair .
Ekeabat ferry had too many buses waiting to cross-so tour organizer organized for us to cross as passengers to Canakkale to be met by new buses to boat.
We arrived at MSC Opera to a chorus from the choir of singing. It was a great boost & uplifting after such a journey. 3 hours late but glad we weren’t driving to Istanbul as ship was supposed to depart at 7.00pm. Don made the statement obviously 300 people are more important than him. They even kept the restaurant open for a lot of hungry people.