The 100th Anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops (the first ANZACs) at Gallipoli in Turkey is coming up on 25th April 2015 and the Australian Government and Qantas have announced their collaboration to support ANZAC Centenary activities.
The joint announcement was made at the Qantas Jetbase in Sydney by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce on the 27th January 2015.
Senator Ronaldson said “The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians as the First World War played such an important role in defining us as a nation and as a people”. He added that the Government appreciates the generous contribution of Qantas in supporting this significant period of commemoration to ensure that more Australians can travel to Turkey for the services.
In view of overwhelming public support and enthusiasm to be part of the commemoration service at dawn on Anzac Day which made it necessary to ballot places, Qantas has added a special flight for Australians travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day. The special Boeing 747 flight seating 364 people will depart Sydney for Istanbul on 21st April, via Perth.
“This additional flight is a great initiative by Qantas, and will provide the opportunity for many Australians who received a ticket in the ballot to travel to this historic Anzac Day commemoration,” Senator Ronaldson said.
Qantas was founded in Queensland as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service, and two of the founders, Sir William Hudson Fysh KBE DFC (1894 – 1974) and Paul McGinness DFC DCM (1896-1952) served at Gallipoli.
Qantas has agreed to provide return flights for the widows of Australian First World War veterans travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli. The widows, aged in their seventies to early nineties, will attend the commemorations as official guests of the Australian Government and will travel as part of an official mission party.
The widows will each be accompanied by a carer and support staff from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), including nurses and an Australian Defence Force doctor. Department staff have been working with the widows and their carers to ensure their fitness for international travel in April.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “Qantas is proud to be working with the Australian Government and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the Centenary of ANZAC events, we are honoured to be carrying war widows and their carers to Turkey so they can attend commemorative services at Gallipoli. In echoing Senator Ronaldson’s comments, he reiterated, “Two of Qantas’ founders, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh both served with distinction in the First World War and today, their legacies remain strong as do our ties with the services of the Australian Defence Forces.”
Although Anzac Day 2015 in Gallipoli will be a major commemorative event in the Anzac Centenary Programme, the programme will extend until November 2018 when the 100th anniversary of the armistice will be observed. Senator Ronaldson suggested that those unable to attend the Anzac Day service in Gallipoli as they do not have an attendance pass “may consider visiting Gallipoli on 6th August 2015 for the Battle of Lone Pine commemoration service. Australians can also attend a Dawn Service in Australia or watch the television broadcast of the Gallipoli and Villers- Bretonneux services on the ABC”.
For those who had placed their names in the ballot, the ballot for attendance at Anzac Centenary commemorations at Gallipoli is now complete. However, a waiting list for those who were unsuccessful in previous allocations, is open until 31 March 2015 to reallocate places that become available. Only those with a ballot attendance pass can attend the official Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015.
Image Source: Qantas