Voices of Gallipoli 2023

For Anzac Day 2023 we did something pretty special, partnering with Voices of Gallipoli to take part in a three-day international act of remembrance. Voices of Gallipoli is a project based on the verbatim spoken words of 12 Anzac veterans who describe their personal experiences at Gallipoli. 
As well as our own staff, we had a couple of people from the local community ‘lend their voice’ and read some of the testimonies. It was an experience as much for the reader as it was for the listener.

An excerpt from Vic Nicholson, joined from Gisborne and fought in the Wellington Infantry Battalion and read in full by Marlene.
Sometimes you were too scared to be scared.
I would laugh at any individual who says he wasn’t afraid.
Those who say they are devoid of fear talk absolute phooey.
I was paralysed with fear.”

An excerpt from Joe Gasparich. Joined from Whangarei and fought in the Auckland Infantry Battalion and read in full by Becs.
“The ground was jumping and the bushes were swaying this way and that, and it sounded as if I were running through a giant swarm of bees on the move.
They weren’t bees.
They were bullets buzzing around my ears, everywhere.
The landscape was alive with bullets.”

An excerpt from Charlie Clark, joined from Gisborne and fought in the Wellington Infantry Battalion and read in full by Adrienne.
“Suddenly there was a terrific volume of rifle fire and yelling.
The two men we had on watch came charging back to us and said the Turks were coming through.
We was going to be pretty well in the middle of the Turks unless we moved fast.
My mates said to me, ‘Well, you led us down here. Now you lead us back.’
So I took off, back towards the top of Chunuk Bair, with bullets hopping around me, and the others following behind.”

An excerpt from Dan Curham, joined from Whanganui and fought in the Wellington Infantry Battalion and read in full by Liz.
“The intention was to cut the Gallipoli peninsula in two, right across to the Narrows.
But we knew perfectly well that Chunuk Bair was the key – the key, that is, to victory or defeat on the peninsula.
That hill was vital.
It dominated the middle of the peninsula and commanded ground right down to the Narrows.
And in the August offensive Chunuk Bair was the objective of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade.
Victory or defeat was in our hands.”

An excerpt from Henry Lewis, joined from Wellington and fought for the Otago Regiment and read in full by Pip.
“They just kept coming at us.
If any got up to our trench, we had to hop out and bayonet them back.
Otherwise we just fired point blank into the mass.
Our rifles got red hot, and some of them jammed.
The bottom of our trench was ankle deep in spent shells.
I don’t know how long it lasted.
It seemed many hours, but perhaps it was only two.
I was black with bruises from the recoil of my rifle.”

 Voices of Gallipoli, 2023 Anzac Day Commemorations