ANZAC Day celebrated on board Ottawa

Corporal Blaine Sewell, MARPAC Imaging Services

Corporal Blaine Sewell, MARPAC Imaging Services

SLt Melissa Cserhazi, MARPAC PAO ~

As the sun rose over HMCS Ottawa’s flight deck, members of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy paraded to commemorate ANZAC Day, which is celebrated annually on April 25.

Known collectively as ANZACs, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, along with the Royal Newfoundland and Irish Regiments, landed at Gallipoli, Turkey, during the First World War as part of the Allied expedition. The broad military goal of the campaign was to open up access to the Black Sea and to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

ANZAC Day took on a special meaning for MARPAC this year with 12 New Zealand sailors training on board Pacific Fleet ships since January.

“ANZAC Day is important for us New Zealanders as many of our mates back home have family members that fought at ANZAC Cove,” said Able Marine Technician (AMT) Jared Bryant, one of four New Zealand sailors training on board HMCS Ottawa.

“It is an honour to mark this special day of remembrance with them,” said CPO1 Alden Darragh, Coxswain of Ottawa. “It has been a pleasure to sail with these young New Zealanders and to see them join together with the crew of HMCS Ottawa. Our ceremony showcased the importance of serving with our allies and being able to mark the passage of their day of remembrance.”

The ANZACs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula early on the morning of April 25, 1915. The landings were a disaster, with thousands of allied troops gunned down by enemy fire at the base of a steep cliff. By the end of the battle 10 months later, it’s estimated Australia had lost 8,159 service members and New Zealand had lost 2,721.

Though the campaign failed to achieve its military objectives, the actions of the Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Newfoundland regiments built a lasting legacy and national identity.

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