Thursday 10 April 2014

One week to go...

... In fact less than one week until the Gallipoli Volunteers set off for Istanbul.

We've been receiving regular email newsletters, updating us with travel arrangements and what to expect when we get to Turkey. Yesterday's newsletter included some messages of support from previous Gallipoli Volunteers. As I said the other day, when people talk about visiting Gallipoli, they often use words like "privilege" or "a huge honour".  I think some of that response comes through in these messages. 

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I've taken the names off, but here are some examples: 

I wish you all the best for your life changing memorable trip to Gallipoli. It is a trip you will remember for ever, Turkey and the Turkish people will always remain close to my heart and part of my life. 

Congratulations to all those successful applicants who will be supporting the Anzac Day 2014 services at Gallipoli. I can only say that I consider the opportunity to get up close and personal with the battle sites and to hear the history of the campaign from the brilliant Team Leaders as a once in a lifetime event. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the interaction with the public.

You are about to embark on the mission of a lifetime. I was a volunteer last year and the trip passed all my expectations. I learned a huge amount about the conflict whilst there and was pleased to be able to pay my respects to the brave men and women who died there.
Hi to all volunteers on the way to Gallipoli. Along with my son, I made the trip with twenty-five volunteers in 2009. What a fantastic experience in tracing my father’s footsteps from the landing to eventually continuing the fight on the Western front. Enjoy every moment on the Peninsula, and along with all soldiers pause a moment to remember my father whose footsteps you are sure to cross.

The only advice I can really impart is that however excited you are, it's still not excited enough! This is going to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. However busy the trip may get, make sure you take the time to step back and appreciate the moment, because the time is going to fly by. Best of luck to all of you, I am incredibly envious and wish I was going again!

I regard my time as a Redcoat at Gallipoli and, indeed, within Turkey, as one of the highlights of my life. In some small measure, by your care of those visiting ANZAC services, the Redcoats are thanking those men who served there for their sacrifice, love of country and courage under very trying circumstances. It is an incredibly moving experience.

I wish you well, I was truly humbled by the Gallipoli experience. No matter how much you read you can't understand the sacrifice these men, of all sides the Anzacs, the Brits, the Irish, the French, the Indians and the Turks as well as  men from many other countries until you are there on the Gallipoli peninsula, gazing out onto Anzac Cove, walking up Artillery Road, standing in the trenches, looking down from Plugges plateau looking out to the Aegean sea.

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