The crowd stands at the beginning of the centenary Anzac day dawn service at Gallipoli.
The crowd stands at the beginning of the centenary Anzac day dawn service at Gallipoli. Stuart Cumming

Silence honours Anzac diggers at Gallipoli

MEMORIAL crowds at the site where men fought to the death with their bare hands were silent as they paid tribute to the Lone Pine soldiers.

Underneath the manicured lawns, carefully maintained headstones and single pine tree, the bodies of Australian soldiers lay as they had for the past century.

Many Australians, like Tannum Sands resident Daryll Richardson and his brother Adrian, chose to walk from the Anzac Cove dawn service up Artillery Rd to the Lone Pine site.

They took their time, visiting cemeteries on the way.

He thought the Lone Pine service was good, but there were a few things that marred the event.

Exhausted travellers who slept on top of graves, some with their heads resting on headstones, had to be told more than once to move after complaints from the crowd.

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Mr Richardson enjoyed the speeches, which included moving tributes from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and a prepared reading by Prince Harry, but said there was a choreographed feel to the event.

Prince Harry delivers a prepared reading during the Australian service at Lone Pine.
Prince Harry delivers a prepared reading during the Australian service at Lone Pine. Stuart Cumming

However, overall he said it was a good service.

"I was moved at one point, when they did the national anthem," Mr Richardson said.

"To see most of the people singing, that was probably the most moving part of the ceremony for me."

He thought choir performances were excellent and that Mr Abbott spoke well at Anzac Cove and Lone Pine.

Mr Richardson and his brother, both former members of the RAAF, walked onwards after the ceremony to other cemeteries.

They found the names of a friend's two uncles, who died at The Nek, on the memorial at Lone Pine.

"I took a photo and sent it back," Mr Richardson said.

Defence Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin explained the site's significance in his speech.

"The land we stand on was once a battlefield, the scene of ones of the bloodiest battles in Australia's history," he said.

"On August 6, 1915, 104 days after the Gallipoli landing, the Anzacs squared their shoulders and prepared to confront the enemy again - this time here at Lone Pine.

"Those who survived those first hundred days had already endured the terrible reality of war. Tormented by fear and surrounded by death they suffered through illness, persevered through exposure and continued on - exhausted.
 


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