The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have remembered the “gallant comradeship” of Australian and New Zealand troops in the First World War.
Speaking ahead of Anzac Day on Monday – which commemorates thousands of these troops who died in the ill-fated 1915 Gallipoli campaign – Charles and Camilla said their thoughts are also with other communities currently enduring conflict.
The heir to the throne said in a statement: “On this Anzac Day, my wife and I are thinking of all the courageous troops who endured so much in 1915 on the beaches and in the rugged hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
“As we pause to reflect on the sacrifice of the Armed Services personnel of Australia and New Zealand in two World Wars, and in other conflicts and peacekeeping operations, our thoughts will also be with those communities around the world who are being torn apart by violence and conflict, and those who are fighting for freedom in the face of oppression.
“In 1916, one year after the Gallipoli landings, my great-grandfather, King George V, wrote of the first Anzacs: ‘They gave their lives for a supreme cause in gallant comradeship’.
“One hundred and six years later, gallant comradeship remains a defining mark of the uniformed men and women of New Zealand and Australia.”
April 25 is a national day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand marking the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings campaign.
In this campaign, waves of Allied forces launched an amphibious attack on the strategically important Turkish peninsula, which was key to controlling the Dardanelles straits, the crucial route to the Black Sea and Russia.
The plan, which was backed by then-first lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, was flawed and the troops faced a heroic defence by the Turks, withdrawing eight months later. Around 100,000 military personnel on both sides are estimated to have been killed in the Gallipoli campaign, including more than 10,000 from Australia and New Zealand.
Its legacy is the celebration of the “Anzac spirit” – courage, endurance, initiative, discipline and mateship – shown by the Antipodean troops.
On Monday, a dawn Anzac Day service at Wellington Arch at London’s Hyde Park Corner will be attended by the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke of Cambridge will then lay a wreath on behalf of the Queen at the Cenotaph, and attend a service of thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey.