Marking the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign where Australian and New Zealand troops surrendered their lives , Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is visiting Sydney en route to the Turkish peninsula. The ship will provide the background for tomorrow’s (3 March 2015) commemoration before Anzac Day on 25 April.
Cunard have invited all members of the cruise industry and Australian public to attend the event and pay their respects to all the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the campaign 100 years ago. The cruise line will leave a red poppy amongst the 11,500 on a commemorative wall in the shape of the number 100. The 11,500 poppies have been selected to represent the number of Australians and New Zealanders who lost their lives in the campaign.
Visitors to the commemorative event will give a gold coin for each poppy and be invited to leave a personalised message in a dedicated book. All collected donations will go to the Legacy charity – a foundation set up to help families suffering financially and socially following the death of a parent or spouse.
Both the poppy wall and the commemoration book will be moved onto the Queen Elizabeth after the event as the ship departs Sydney on the evening of 4 March. The two pieces will serve as the centrepiece for the memorial service the ship will hold when she arrives in the Gallipoli Peninsula on the eve of Anzac Day.
The two services will be joined by guests of honour, including the great grandson of one of the soldiers killed at Gallipoli and his wife. Mark Keys is a direct descendant of 2nd Lieutenant Francis Jensen, and will travel as custodians of the poppies with wife Germaine. He will become the first member of his family to visit the site of his great grandfather’s memorial.
The Queen Elizabeth is currently partway through a world voyage, taking in all corners of the globe. The 117-night roundtrip cruise from Hamburg returns to the German capital in early May.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Aussie-mobs, Mosman Council.