x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Australians and New Zealanders in UAE mark Anzac Day

The event was attended by Australian Armed Forces members, diplomats and military representative, as well as a large number of Australian and New Zealand residents in the capital.

ABU DHABI // Australians and New Zealanders in the UAE yesterday marked the 98th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in World War One at the Hiltonia beach club on the Corniche.

The event was attended by Australian Armed Forces members, diplomats and military representative, as well as a large number of Australian and New Zealand residents in the capital.

According to Australian Air Force Flying Officer Jessica Sutherland, the Gallipoli Campaign is of great significance to her as an Australian servicewoman because of her family's military history.

"My parents were both in the navy, my sister is in the air force and my father served in Vietnam," she said.

"It is a day to remember those before us and this year it is of special significance, especially because this my first overseas deployment," the Al Minhad Airbase-stationed officer said.

Australian ambassador to the UAE Pablo Kang held the commemorative service marking fallen soldiers at 5am yesterday.

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) was a First World War corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force that was formed in Egypt in 1915 and operated during the Battle of Gallipoli against the Germans, Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

During the campaign 43,000 British, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders and 1,370 Indian soldiers were killed.

Retired Major Terry O'Farrell, a Vietnam War veteran, has been to the battle site three times, he said.

"Three O'Farrells served and died in Gallipoli," he said. "On my last trip there I found their tombstones and commemorated them."

Major O'Farrell added that, on Anzac Day, he remembers his comrades who have fallen in service to their country during his time in service in Vietnam, Timor, Afghanistan, Sinai, New Guinea and Malaysia.

According to ambassador Kang, the Anzac legend was born on the Gallipoli peninsula.

"It was a defining moment in shaping our national identity," he said.

"Each year we gather on April 25 to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served our nation in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations.

"As Australians gather across Australia and around the world to mark Anzac Day, we remember the brave individuals who have served, and continue to serve, our nation during times of war and peace."

Nursing and psychology trainer Linda Henderson flew in from Saudi Arabia to mark the occasion.

"My father served in World War Two and I agree with what the ambassador said about Anzac Day being more important to us than Australia Day," she said.

"It brings out our sense as Australians in doing what's right and being fair."

amustafa@thenational.ae