- Parliamentary Business
- Senators and Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Families call for reburial of Anzacs in unmarked mass graves -
Go To First Hit
View in ParlViewView other Segments
Go To First Hit
View in ParlViewView other Segments
SARAH FERGUSON, PRESENTER: Tomorrow Australians both at home and around the world will commemorate the 99th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.
But almost a century on, thousands of Australian soldiers on the famous peninsula remain in unmarked mass graves, unidentified and deprived of a proper burial.
Now the families of fallen soldiers are renewing a campaign to have their relatives exhumed and reburied.
It's an expensive and painstaking task, but after similar operations on the Western Front, some are asking: why isn't the same being done in Turkey?
Middle East correspondent Hayden Cooper reports from Gallipoli.
HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: This year, like any other, the lure of Gallipoli is strong for thousands of Australians.
ANNE CHEETHAM: My grandfather was in World War I. He was one of the original ANZACs and our family's always been involved in military history. My father was in World War II. And it's just something I've always wanted to do, so I decided the year I turned 60 that we'd come to Gallipoli and that's this year.
HAYDEN COOPER: For one group of students from Brisbane, last-minute rehearsals are combined with a tour of the Gallipoli Peninsula. They'll sing at tomorrow's Dawn Service.
JOSEPH CABONZE, ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, GREGORY TERRACE: It's overwhelming. You know, you hear about it at home, but you never truly, really feel anything until you come here and experience it for yourself.
SOPHIE ABOUD, ALL HALLOW'S SCHOOL: We have been learning about it in school, but, yeah, it has been interesting; lots of us in the choir actually do have great grandparents that were in the War. I have a great grandfather, I think, or - who was here.
HAYDEN COOPER: Names like Lone Pine and the Nek are well-known to these students, less so the battle of Krithia, fought further south in early May near the village now known as Alcitepe.
What happened here in the second battle of Krithia was a classic tactical blunder by the Allied commanders; in fact, it was a slaughter. Ordered to advance from the south in broad daylight, thousands of Australian, New Zealand, British and French soldiers were cut down by the Ottoman forces here on higher ground. 1,000 Australians were killed in just 25 minutes and so complete was the defeat that many of the dead were never properly identified or buried.
This is historian Bill Fogarty's 18th trip to Gallipoli. He knows the ground well.
And this is where they fell?
BILL FOGARTY, HISTORIAN: This is the main area there behind you in what's now an olive grove, right across the side of the Peninsula. There's photographs taken the next day and you just see bodies stacked along the line actually as they're advancing.
HAYDEN COOPER: A few kilometres away at Cape Helles, a monument to the fallen rises high above the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The names inscribed here have no known graves. Many fell at Krithia, including 19-year-old William Vernon Boase. From Melbourne, the young lance corporal landed at Gallipoli on ANZAC Day before being sent to Cape Helles two weeks later.
ALLAN GRANT: They were moving forward with their shovels in front of their faces because of the hail of bullets. So, it was fairly - I know that. I know that he fell at Cape Helles and my promise to my grandmother was I would try and find out where he fell.
HAYDEN COOPER: Born in Turkey, John Basarin» is another Gallipoli addict. He believes it's time to unearth the missing of Krithia by exhuming mass graves full of Australians buried together in the chaos of battle 99 years ago. Using the diaries of soldiers, he says he's pinpointed the location in the fields of Krithia.
JOHN «BASARIN , FRIENDS OF GALLIPOLI: We thing close to 200 are buried. Those people have paid the ultimate sacrifice and they deserve to be treated with a headstone and a proper burial place and so the relatives, descendants, could go and pay their respects on location.
ALLAN GRANT: It'd be nice to at least say, "Here they are. We'll bury them with full military honours and they get what they've deserved in the sense of that recognition."
HAYDEN COOPER: But here, where tens of thousands were never properly buried, it's an enormous task. It's why Bill Fogarty believes they should be left alone.
BILL FOGARTY: When you think about it, this is Turkey's land and they might have 80,000 soldiers who've got no known grave and it's a bit in-for-dig, I think, if we got to come in and say, "Look, we want to start digging up your olive trees and etc.," and, "on the off chance that we think it might be a mass grave." Even if they are there, I think Ataturk had it right when he said that, "Now they've died in our country, they're our sons as well." They're not running round trying to dig up their people, so perhaps we shouldn't be doing that either.
SARAH FERGUSON: Hayden Cooper reporting.