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Granddaughter of last Anzac to take part in Turkish commemorations 19 mars 2008

Posted by Acturca in History / Histoire, Turkey / Turquie.
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Australian Associated Press (AAP), March 13

By Katelyn John, Sydney

The granddaughter of the last Australian survivor of Gallipoli says he would have been thrilled that she will be among the first foreign women invited to join Turkey’s war commemorations.

While Australians mark Anzac Day, their former foes remember the Gallipoli campaign on March 18, the anniversary of Turkey’s 1915 naval victory in the nearby Dardanelles strait.

Alec Campbell, who was just 16 when he joined other Australian troops to make the ill-fated landing at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915, was known as « The Kid » by his comrades in arms.

He went on to outlast all the other survivors of a campaign that killed 130,000 allied troops.

Aged 103, Mr Campbell died of pneumonia in May 2002 at a Hobart nursing home run by his granddaughter Jo Hardy.

Ms Hardy and three other women – all granddaughters and great granddaughters of Gallipoli veterans – have been invited by the wife of the Turkish prime minister to represent Australia as peace ambassadors at next week’s March 18 commemorations in Turkey.

It is the first time foreign women have been invited to these Turkish commemorations.

As well as attending the memorial services, the women will be flown to the Gallipoli peninsula and Anzac Cove to join a battlefield tour.

Ms Hardy, 52, expects the trip to be confronting.

« It’s another thing to experience something as opposed to knowing it intellectually, » she said.

« I will be totally submerged in the landscape of where he was.

« I am expecting that it will be fairly confronting.

« I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it, but I think it’s important, extremely important that we never forget the horrors. »

Ms Hardy said she found it extremely emotional to think of her grandfather living through the bloody Gallipoli campaign at the tender age of 16.

« My own son is nearly two years older and it just beggars belief that a tiny little kid like that – and he was tiny at 5’5″ (165cm) – could go and experience that abattoir, » she said.

Ms Hardy said she would be taking with her photocopies of diary entries from Mr Campbell’s time in Gallipoli, photos of him as a young soldier and of his state funeral.

She said her grandfather, who himself revisited Gallipoli in his 90s, would have been very proud that she was invited to attend.

« I think he would have been thrilled, » she said.

« I think he’d be delighted and very proud that someone in the family is representing him.

« I don’t think he was terribly fond of war, but he always, always, always went in the Anzac march. It was very important for him to remember. »

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