Britain remembers the ANZACs - 100 years on   25 Apr 2015

Charlotte Everett

100 years after allied forces landed in Gallipoli, 25 April – ANZAC Day – has been commemorated in the UK officially for the first time as a national day of remembrance.  Services and other commemorative events took place around the country, with more to follow tomorrow. NZNewsUK’s Charlotte Everett was in London for the dawn service, ceremony at the Cenotaph, and service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

The annual ANZAC dawn service at Hyde Park Corner attracted twice as many people as usual, with an estimated 5,000 in attendance. In an expression of unity and of ANZAC “mateship”, the service was centralised at Wellington Arch, rather than alternating between the Australian or New Zealand War Memorials as it has done in previous years. The wreath-laying was also centralised at Wellington Arch this year, with all official wreaths being laid at the plinth of an unknown fallen ANZAC, which had been set up in front of the arch. The wreaths were later moved to the memorials once the service had concluded.

The 2015 dawn service was attended by the Princess Royal, who was the first to lay a wreath. Emotional addresses were given by both George Brandis, the Attorney-General for Australia, and Sir Lockwood Smith, the High Commissioner for New Zealand. Senator Brandis remarked on how ANZAC “bonds Australians and New Zealanders – any sporting rivalry aside – and more than anything else on earth”. Sir Lockwood choked back tears as he shared his personal ANZAC story, “No family was left untouched. My own grandmother’s first fiancée, the first real love of her life, Iies buried at Lone Pine - a Kiwi alongside his Australian mates.”

Brigadier Antony Hayward, Head of New Zealand Defence Staff in London, gave a reading of a letter from one Kiwi Corporal to his mother in 1915: “One Australian I saw had his arm shattered at the wrist and his hand was hanging by just a piece of flesh and skin. When he saw us going up the hill to the firing line he said, waving the stump, ‘Wiggle waggle boys, the Turks can’t shoot, you’ll be alright New Zealand.’ There were hundreds of instances like that.”

At the conclusion of the dawn service, the crowds moved to the New Zealand War Memorial for an emotionally stirring performance and powerful haka by London Maori Club, Ngati Ranana. 200 ordinary members of the London Kiwi community joined Ngati Ranana in performing the waiata “E Pari Ra”.

ANZAC commemorations continued with the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, attended by Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge and other important guests including the Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Labour leader Ed Milliband – all who laid wreaths. Her Majesty the Queen was the first to lay a wreath, and did so with much contemplation, care and dignity – a gesture not only as Queen of the United Kingdom, but also as Queen of Australia and of course of New Zealand. Her Majesty was dressed in black and white – unusual colours for her – many commented that she was in “New Zealand’s colours” and drew speculation that her choice of attire may well have been an intentional nod to New Zealand. Likewise, it's interesting to note that the Princess Royal was dressed in green and gold (colours associated with Australia) at the dawn service. 

Shortly after the military bands, regiments and descendents marched off, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh joined with senior political figures, military, guests and members of the public at Westminster Abbey. The service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark the ANZAC landings has taken place annually at the Abbey on April 25th since 1916, with the 1916 service often being described as one of the most moving services to be held in the building in its 1,000 year history.

This year the organ was played by Organ Scholar Jeremy Woodside, a young New Zealander who was formerly Chorister and Organist at Christchurch Cathedral, but is now living in London. Ngati Ranana once again represented the New Zealand community with a stirring performance of “Whakaaria Mai”.

As always, this year’s service at Westminster Abbey was one not only of remembrance but also of reconciliation and friendship, with the Turkish also being represented by their flag-bearer, national anthem, readings and remarks. And for the very first time, this year’s service included a Muslim prayer, led by Mahmut Ozdemir, Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. The very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster remarked on the importance of peace and unity among Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was an inclusive and progressive service, looking towards a peaceful future.

100 years on, the ANZAC spirit continues to resonate throughout Australia, New Zealand and Turkey – and today was an opportunity to share that eternal spirit of mateship and reconciliation with old enemies with a wider British audience. Let us also not forget the British troops who joined ours at Gallipoli. Lest We Forget. 

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


Hilary Timmins' Award-Winning UK Documentary Series To Inspire NZ Students

29 Jun 2020 Education
Dream Catchers, produced and directed by Hilary Timmins, celebrates the success stories of more than thirty inspirational New... more

New Zealand reaffirms support for Flight MH17 judicial process

7 Mar 2020 News By Rt HON WINSTON PETERS
Ahead of the start of the criminal trial in the Netherlands on 9 March, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has reaffirmed the need to... more


NZ Government's Economic package to fight COVID-19

17 Mar 2020 Business News By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government has launched the most significant peace-time economic plan in modern New Zealand history to cushion the... more

NZ Government announces aviation relief package

19 Mar 2020 Business News By Hon Phil Twyford
Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier... more


Northbound and Down: the London-based NZer who journeyed from Alaska to Mexico by bicycle

18 Aug 2020 Lifestyle
An exiled Kiwi has been hailed as inspirational for completing a remarkable American cycling adventure.   Auckland-born Otto... more

The Serious Road Trip: how one Kiwi woman’s Big OE took her into a war zone

18 Jun 2020 Review By Charlotte Everett
I was delighted to receive in the post a new book to review. Simone van Kan’s The Serious Road Trip was a decent-sized... more


Fairer rules for tenants and landlords

17 Nov 2019 Property By Minister Kris Faafoi
17 NOVEMBER 2019 The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer... more

New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more


Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued

19 Nov 2019 Migration By Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
19 NOVEMBER 2019 We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to... more

Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more


Gallipoli Anzac Day services cancelled

19 Mar 2020 Travel & Tourism By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The New Zealand and Australian Governments have announced this year’s joint Anzac Day services at Gallipoli will be cancelled... more

New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas

19 Mar 2020 Travel & Tourism
New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas more


The Skipper's Diary: Sir Richard Hadlee honouring his father and NZ's Forty-Niners

27 Oct 2019 Cricket By Charlotte Everett
NZNewsUK London Editor Charlotte Everett spoke to Sir Richard Hadlee about why he’s chosen to publish his father’s... more

PREVIEW: All Blacks v England semi-final

26 Oct 2019 Rugby
The two most convincing quarterfinals winners are set to square off in a semifinal showdown for the ages when the All Blacks meet old... more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more


Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more