24 April 2017

ANZAC Day ceremonies to be held at CWGC sites

ANZAC Day - 25 April - marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.


In April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition which set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The ANZAC forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance. British, Canadian, Indian and French troops also landed on the peninsula.

During the following nine months, casualties on all sides mounted until the decision was made to evacuate. The last Allied troops left Gallipoli in January 1916, leaving behind the remains of more than 36,000 of their comrades who are buried or commemorated in the 31 cemeteries and memorials cared for by the CWGC on the Gallipoli Peninsula

Over 100 years on, ANZAC Day is marked with ceremonies and events all over the world, as Australians and New Zealanders remember their fallen from the two world wars and other conflicts. A large number of commemorative events take place at CWGC cemeteries and memorials.

This evening, the famous Menin Gate stone lions will be unveiled at the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. The lions are being loaned to the Belgian city by the Australian War Memorial for seven months, as part of commemorations marking the centenary of major battles in the Ypres Salient.

Tomorrow, services will be held at CWGC cemeteries and memorials, including Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Buttes New British CemeteryTyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial, and Toronto Avenue Cemetery. Meanwhile, on Thursday there will be a ceremony on the island of Madagascar for the first time in living memory.

For further details on the events taking place, visit http://www.cwgc.org/news-events/news. And keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest photos from the events.

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The CWGC cemetery containing the graves of First World War poets Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge and Private Ellis Humphrey Evans – better known as Hedd Wyn – is being restored a century after their deaths.

Today, 21 February, marks 101 years since the sinking of the SS Mendi and is also South Africa’s Armed Forces Day. The sinking was one of the worst maritime disasters in British waters, and among the darkest moments of South Africa’s war. The number of lives lost was second only to the casualties suffered by the South African Brigade at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The Commission has begun a project to document, restore and preserve its unique memorials in Africa.