August 2012 Despatches: Gallipoli-2015 News

Posted by Marcus Falay on August 27, 2012

Dear friend,

Hello and welcome to another issue of Despatches: the Gallipoli-2015 cruise and tours newsletter.

If you've been following our Blog or Facebook page, you will have glimpsed some of the many special events planned for the 2015 Gallipoli centenary. The Greek island of Lemnos is one community with plans to remember the conflict. A little on Dr John Basarin's meeting with the Lemnos Mayor and his Deputy later in this bulletin.

You may notice something of a Lone Pine flavour this month. That's because the battle itself took place during August. The Lone Pine anniversary is celebrated on 6 August but fighting actually continued until 10 August when the ANZACs claimed that razed landscape.

Selected travel agents are now able to make cruise bookings on behalf of clients. So our passenger list is steadily filling.

Some people who will be travelling with us in 2015 would like to meet others planning to be onboard. Our Facebook page is a great way to keep in touch. You'll also find all the latest Gallipoli-2015 news and interesting snippets

An interesting 'then and now' perspective of the war cemetery at Portianou (via ThruTheseLines on Flickr)

As always we'd love to hear your ideas for future articles, but until then, this edition includes:

Gallipoli cruising - Lemnos ANZAC voyage re-enactment
Hot off the press - Lone Pine at the Shrine of Remembrance
The voice of Anzac - Edward Harrington's Lone Pine
On the radar - cabin availability and Your Anzac Preparation

Gallipoli cruising

The Gallipoli-2015 cruise itinerary has a number of very special inclusions. One unique feature will be the ANZAC voyage re-enactment.

In the early hours of 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand forces landed at Anzac Cove. In fact, their point of origin that fateful day was the Greek island of Lemnos.

During a recent visit, Dr John Basarin met with the Mayor of Lemnos and his Deputy. Plans for the Gallipoli-2015 cruise to retrace the ANZAC voyage were well received. Both men offered their support and assistance in bringing this distinctive itinerary feature to fruition.

Dr John Basarin meets Mr Antonis Hadzidiamantis, Mayor of Lemnos and the Deputy Mayor, Mr Dimitri Boulitis.

Lemnos played an integral role in the Gallipoli campaign. The island was the staging post for Gallipoli operations and its Bay of Moudros was the main British and French naval anchorage.

Hundreds of ANZACs were laid to rest at Lemnos, because sick and wounded soldiers were transferred to hospitals there. The island has two World War I cemeteries: at the village of Portianou and at East Moudros.

The voice of Anzac

The story of Lone Pine touched Australians in 1915, just as it does today. In his late teens, Shepparton lad, Edward Harrington no doubt knew many ANZAC diggers. Perhaps that's what gave him cause to enlist in 1917, when he served with the Australian Light Horse Regiment in Palestine.

One of Australia's last great bush balladists, Harrington forever captured Australian sentiment about Lone Pine in his celebrated verse:

Lone Pine

Lone Pine! Lone Pine! Our hearts are numbly aching
For those who come no more,
Our boys who sleep the sleep that knows no waking,
Besides the Dardan's shore.
Through all the years, with glory sad and sombre,
Their names will deathless shine;
No bugle call can wake them from their slumber:
Lone Pine! Lone Pine!
They did not quail, they did not pause or ponder,
They counted not the odds;
The order came, the foe were waiting yonder,
The rest was with the gods.
Forth from their trenches at the signal leaping,
They charged the Turkish line,
And death charged too, a royal harvest reaping,
Lone Pine! Lone Pine!
Nought could withstand that onrush, backward driven,
The foemen broke and fled.

Edward Harrington

Hot off the press

Since 1933, the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne has counted a Lone Pine descendant amongst its remembrance trees.

Sadly, the Lone Pine became badly diseased with Blue Stain fungus. For public safety and, to limit spread of the disease, the tree was removed following the Lone Pine anniversary on 6 August.

In 2006 another sapling, germinated from the original Lone Pine cone, was planted in the Shrine Reserve. Just metres from the first tree, a new generation Lone Pine is now flourishing for the enjoyment and reflection of a new generation of Australians.

Lone Pine saw some of the most ferocious fighting of the Gallipoli campaign. The battlefield took its name from a single tree, the last of a stand of trees that Turkish troops used to build and cover their trenches.

The pine became iconic amongst the ANZAC forces. It was ultimately decimated, but not before Sgt. Keith McDowell collected a single pine cone. He sent the cone home to his mother, not knowing the symbol of history and remembrance it would become.

Susie Brown tells the evocative story of a single cone in her book Lone Pine.

On the radar

Many cruise passengers have expressed an interest in visiting other Turkey locations before or after the Gallipoli-2015 cruise.

With preparations continuing almost daily, we hope to shortly begin profiling a number of add-on tours. This will give those interested passengers a chance to explore more of the fascinating destination that is Turkey.

As we told you earlier, cruise bookings are continuing at a steady pace. In fact, at this stage, Category 1 cabins have completely sold out. There are still available cabins here.

Strong interest in Categories 7 and 11, suggests these cabins may soon become unavailable too.

And don't forget:

Your Anzac preparation

Our battlefields pilgrimage (on day 5 of the cruise itinerary) will involve lots of walking. So don't forget to pack suitable footwear.

With cruise categories beginning to sell out, it's more important than ever to let friends and family know about Gallipoli-2015. So don't forget to pass Despatches on. Join our Facebook community too, where you'll get Gallipoli-2015 updates as and when they happen.

Kind regards,

Marcus Falay