The Gallipoli 2015 ballot means, in simple terms, that not everyone who may like to will be standing on the beach at Gallipoli on 25th April 2015. Most Epic Cruise passengers will mark the 100th anniversary aboard Azamara Journey. But that experience is at least equal in authenticity. After all, such is how most ANZACs saw the sun rise on 25th April 1915 too.
Around midnight on 24th April 1915, the landing fleet sailed from Lemnos to Gallipoli. Originally destined for Gaba Tepe, the ships instead arrived some distance north. Why is not clear. What is known is the first shots were heard to ring out sometime between 4:10am and 4:53am. An initial party of 1,500 had made land.
The bulk of the force, a remaining 2,500 men, watched and waited in the stillness of pre-dawn. The seven destroyers they remained aboard had approached as close as possible to the shore. Without the element of surprise, the second wave came under constant fire. Amid a withering Ottoman barrage, transports continued to land men over the course of the morning. Many of whom never made it to the beach.
That is the tragic story of many an ANZAC. To stand in the dawn light aboard a destroyer, waiting for the call to a transport and the chance to make land. Only to never tread the hallowed sand of Anzac Beach.
Together with their first wave counterparts, these men are also to be remembered at daybreak on Anzac Day 2015. What better way to honour them than aboard a vessel moored off Anzac Cove? Spending the dawn just as they did on that cool, still morning 100 years ago.