Five powerful letters engraved forever into the soul of this nation. Those five letters represent the ANZAC spirit, something each Australian holds in common, no matter what ethnicity or creed that we belong to. The ANZAC spirit means strength, courage and resourcefulness. Above all, the ANZAC spirit means loyalty to your comrades and friends.
On April 25 1915, tens of thousands of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers, along with allies from Britain and France, stormed the beaches of Gallipoli. The aim was to capture the peninsula to clear the way for Allied navy ships to advance toward the Black Sea and take Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital city of the Ottoman Empire which was then a German ally. Unfortunately, the entire operation was doomed to a horrible defeat. What had been devised as a method to swiftly knock Turkey out of the war turned out to be a long and lethal campaign that lasted for eight awful months. .
At the end of 1915 the Allied forces were evacuated from Gallipoli because both sides had suffered heavy losses and it had become a blood-soaked stalemate that neither the Allies nor the Turks seemed to be winning. The Turkish forces were not knocked out of the war and the campaign was a terrible failure. More than 8000 Australian soldiers had died during that time and thousands of others had endured horrible wounds or diseases such as dysentery and influenza. The surviving soldiers had been dragged through Hell and back. However, every single one of them - from Private Jim Martin, the youngest known ANZAC (he was just 14), to Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who selflessly exposed himself to mortal danger to carry wounded soldiers to safety on the back of his donkey - were brave and heroic men.
The First World War continued until 1918 and by the end of it over 60,000 Australian soldiers had been killed and 156,000 more were injured, gassed or taken as prisoners of war.