The New Zealand Defence Force contingent in Gallipoli to commemorate Anzac Day have honoured 11 men who died at Gallipoli in 1918.
CAPTION: Lance Corporal Mark Goldsmith leads a Maori Cultural Group into Chanak Consular Cemetery in Canakkale, Turkey.
In December 1918, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment returned to the Gallipoli to tend to the graves of New Zealanders who died in the 1915 campaign – with 11 men of the unit dying on this latter mission – all but one from the influenza pandemic that killed more people around the world than the war itself.
Two of the 11 men who died in 1918, Lieutenant Arthur Pigou and Lance Corporal Joseph Fifield, had served in the 1915 campaign in Gallipoli.
This year’s wreath-laying service honoured those men who died on the then-quiet battlefield but unfortunately and ironically never left.
Sergeant Rory Lorimer, who gave a reading at the service, had an intimate connection with the events – his great-uncle Trooper James Ramsay Lorimer served in the Canterbury Mounted Rifles and was one of those who returned to Gallipoli in 1918.
“I am very honoured and humbled to not only go to Gallipoli but to honour a relative, among the others of the regiment,” Sergeant Lorimer said.
“James was born in 1882, I was born in 1982. James returned to Gallipoli in 1918 to bury dead and administer the armistice and I honour the fallen in 2018.”
History and accounts of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles in Gallipoli were taken from their War Diary, which contains day-to-day accounts of the unit’s time on the peninsula, as well as references from first-hand accounts from diaries and letters published in New Zealand newspapers.
Soldiers had started to get influenza while at sea when the Canterbury Mounted Rifles were en route to Gallipoli, and when they arrived at the peninsula they endured bitter winter conditions without any shelter. So it wasn’t surprising that in such conditions they suffered.
. . .