We live so much under the shadow of sudden death, that one sees things very differently to ordinary times. Life is normally complicated, here it is savagely simple. Eat while you can, help all you can, sleep when and where you can, and above all, grin and keep a stiff upper lip. Even a mechanical smile is better than an anxious look. Worrying is not good for the men.
Percival Fenwick, medical officer on Gallipoli, 1915
Each year on 25 April – Anzac Day – New Zealanders (and Australians) mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 1915. On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now modern Turkey. For nine long months New Zealanders, Australians and allies from France and the British Isles battled harsh conditions and Turkish opponents who were desperately fighting to protect their homeland.
By the time the campaign ended, over 120,000 men had died: more than 80,000 Turkish soldiers and 44,000 British and French soldiers, including over 8500 Australians. Among the dead were 2721 young New Zealanders, about a fifth of those who had landed on the peninsula.
In the history of the Great War, the Gallipoli campaign made no large mark. The number of dead, although horrific, pales in comparison with the number that died in France and Belgium during the war. But for New Zealand, along with Australia and Turkey, the Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering a sense of national identity.