THE singing of Australia’s national anthem at Lone Pine on Saturday sent chills up the spine of the daughter of a Wagga soldier who clung to the cliffs at Gallipoli 100 years ago.
Ruth Apps, 89, attended the Centenary of Anzac dawn service at Anzac Cove with her daughter Julie and an estimated 12,000 other Australians and then made the short but difficult trek to Lone Pine for a second ceremony that focused purely on Australians.
Mrs Apps is the daughter of Sergeant Tom Fleming, a member of a well-known Wagga family last century who survived eight treacherous months at Gallipoli and then went to the Western Front where he was badly injured at Messines in France.
“It was greatly moving event occurring among the graves of the men who died here in May, 1915,” Mrs Apps said of the Lone Pine service in an email sent to The Daily Advertiser.
“There is nothing more stirring than a group of Aussies singing Advance Australia Fair like they really mean it.
“The soldiers who did not make it on to the beach 100 years ago rest peacefully in their graves nearby, and my father would be glad to know that his daughter and granddaughter came to see where it all began.”
Mrs Apps and her daughter sat in tiered stands waiting for dawn to break before the first service.
“It was freezing cold and I shivered despite wearing layers of clothes, all scientifically manufactured to keep me warm,” Mrs Apps said.
“I thought of the uniforms worn by the soldiers of 100 years ago and how cold they must have been as they jumped into the water to try to get ashore while under fire from the Turkish guns.
“The service was deeply moving and full of symbolism from the emotive sound of the didgeridoo to the list of soldiers who died there as well as the traditional aspects of the commemoration - the Ode, Last Post, Reveille and Silence.”
Ruth and Julie did not get back to their hotel in Istanbul until 1am the next day.
“The experience has been very taxing on an 89-year-old like my mother,” Julie said.
Light rain fell during the Lone Pine service, but Ruth and Julie wore ponchos supplied by the government.