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What is Anzac Day?

Every year on Anzac Day Australians and New Zealanders take time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by their Anzac ancestors, and how those sacrifices have helped shaped their nations to be what they are today.

Anzac Day on 25th of April marks the anniversary of the day in 1915 during World War One when Australian and New Zealand troops went ashore at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula. This was the Anzacs first major military action as part of the Great War, and the Anzac’s faced fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.

Who were the Anzacs?

For many years it was just the men that had served at Gallipoli that would be called Anzacs, although it is now commonly used to refer to all Australians killed in military operations. The acronym ANZAC stands for ‘Australian & New Zealand Army Corps’. During WW1, clerks in the corps headquarters soon shortened it to ANZAC for convenience when writing telegrams. It’s said that the term was used as early as December 1914.

Significance of the Gallipoli Campaign

For the Australian and New Zealand troops, the Gallipoli campaign was fought from the 25th April 1915 to the 20th December 1915, when the last of the ANZACs evacuated the Gallipoli peninsula for Egypt and then the Western Front in France and Belgium. The Turkish defenders were victorious and after the 8 month campaign, Australia had lost nearly 9,000 dead and New Zealand nearly 3,000. 86,000 Turkish soldiers also died in the campaign. Consequently, Gallipoli is of profound importance to the national identity of both Australia and Turkey.

It was the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps that were first remembered on April 25th 1916 and now Anzac Day is the day on which we remember all Australians that have served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. We remember the spirit of Anzac and the qualities we hold dear, courage, mateship and sacrifice.

What can you find in WW1 Anzac records?

The WWI service dossiers include documents for all the men and women in the Australian Imperial Force, Australian Flying Corps, and Australian Army Nursing Service. In this substantial collection you can find information on your WWI ancestor including their enlistment papers, documents describing illnesses or injuries, promotions and much more. If your ancestor was killed at Gallipoli, you can find burial details and images including portraits, headstones and memorials photographs in the Australian Imperial Force Burials at Gallipoli 1915 collection. You can also browse the WWI War Diaries, which document operations for British and Anzac units involved in the Gallipoli campaign in the Dardanelles.

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