With Anzac Day on the horizon, cruise ships across the globe are starting to set sail for the Gallipoli peninsula. MSC Orchestra is the latest vessel to head for Turkish waters, departing Fremantle earlier this week with 3000 Anzac historians and relatives of ex-soldiers on-board.
Retracing the original Anzac voyage
In a mark of respect for the Anzacs that died for their country, the ship will retrace the original voyage undertaken by the Gallipoli bound soldiers. Calling at Albany, Sri Lanka and Egypt, the ship will reach Turkey in mid-April. As the sun rises on April 25, MSC Orchestra will sail close to the shores of Anzac Cove.
An informative and emotional experience
On-board, Associate Professor Harvey Broadbent of Macquarie University will be presenting a series of lectures on the history of the Anzac landing and the ensuing campaign. With the ship full of families of ex-soldiers, Broadbent explains that “people are determined to find out a lot more and experience the element of being there.” While he’s been to Gallipoli over 30 times since 1967, he adds that “most people on the ship will not have been to Gallipoli before, and this is their opportunity.”
Adelaide’s Geoff Nuske is one such passenger who wants to see first-hand where his great grandfather fought. “My great-grandfather fought in Gallipoli, didn’t die there but when Australian troops retreated, they went to France and fought the Germans – there he got a dose of mustard gas and had to come back to Australia [where]he died six months later,” he said.
Wangaratta’s Wendy Morgan is another passenger eagerly awaiting the opportunity to visit Gallipoli on the 100th anniversary of the battle. She’s had her ticket booked since the voyage was first advertised in 2010, explaining “My grandfather fought in Gallipoli and in Flanders and so I wanted, out of respect for him, to go and see what he had to go through so that I can tell other members of my family, particularly grandchildren, about their great-grandfather,” she said.
Of course, it’s going to be an incredibly emotional time, as families remember the sacrifices of the Anzac soldiers and pay their respects on the shores of Gallipoli. “There won’t be a dry eye in the house, we’ll all be very emotional but what a great experience and I’m taking Nana,” says Morgan.
Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: grzegorzmielczarek