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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Australia, NZ recall Gallipoli
War veteran greets onlookers in Sydney
Thousands watched a march by war veterans in Sydney

Hundreds of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders have turned out to commemorate Anzac Day, with services and marches to honour their war dead.

Record crowds attended pre-dawn services in major Australian cities and towns, to mark the day 88 years ago when thousands of troops were killed as they stormed ashore on Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula.

The troops - Australian and New Zealand volunteer soldiers, known as Anzacs - were taking part in a World War I campaign to gain a foothold in Turkey.

But the landing was the start of a disastrous eight-month battle in which more than 100,000 men died.

The numbers attending the annual Anzac Day ceremony in Turkey were well down on previous years, as fears of terrorist attacks kept people away.

But the anniversary was also marked in many other areas of the world.

Australian servicemen in Iraq attended a special service, while Australian peacekeepers in East Timor held a ceremony in the capital, Dili.

And in Thailand, 400 veterans and their families remembered allied prisoners of war who died building the notorious "death railway" for the Japanese army during World War II.

'Celebration of values'

At dawn across Australia, hundreds of thousands of people attended candle-lit services, opened by bugles sounding the last post.

Thousands more lined the streets of Sydney and other major cities to honour war veterans from the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf campaigns.

This year's anniversary was the first without any veterans of the actual Gallipoli campaign, after the last Australian survivor, Alec Campbell, died last May.

Prime Minister John Howard told a memorial service in Canberra that the day was "about the celebration of some wonderful values - of courage, of valour, of mateship, of decency, of a willingness as a nation to do the right thing, whatever the cost."

He said the same spirit was being shown today by Australian troops in Iraq and elsewhere.

"They are today's Anzacs, they deserve our salutes and our gratitude and they have our enduring respect," he said.

Despite heavy opposition to Australian involvement in the Iraq campaign, peace activists made no attempt to disrupt Friday's ceremonies.

Security fears

Normally up to 20,000 Australians and New Zealanders attend special memorial services at Turkey's Anzac Cove.

But this year only an estimated 8,000 went to the event, amid fears of attack by militants.

Ahead of the event, Australian officials voiced concern about security at the event.

Although the Turkish ambassador in Canberra said the risk had been greatly exaggerated, the warning obviously had a clear impact, says the BBC's Jonny Dymond in Istanbul.

Among those who decided to make the journey to Turkey for the anniversary were New Zealand Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright and Australian Treasurer Peter Costello.

They took part in hymns, prayers and remembrance services on the Anzac peninsula, which is home to dozens of war cemeteries and monuments honouring those who fell.




SEE ALSO:
Australians march in honour of Gallipoli
25 Apr 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Silence reigns for Anzac hero
29 Jun 01  |  Asia-Pacific
Gallipoli: Heat and thirst
03 Nov 98  |  World War I


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