As we reflect on yet another year gone by since the Great War and the huge sacrifices made for our freedom we at Linku2 had the great honour on a recent visit to Wellington to spend time wandering and reflecting at two amazing exhibitions.
Gallipoli - The Scale of our War
The Gallipoli Exhibition, The Scale of our War, at Te Papa weaves together the stories of a number of people involved in the campaign including a young nurse, Lottie Le Gallais, who searched in vain for her brother who was no luckier than many others ...
The larger than life size models are intricate in every way, created by true artists, you can almost feel their pain and despair as you listen to their accounts of the events around them.
It's almost unimaginable the scale of the loss and devastation at Gallipoli alone. With the campaign lasting less than a year in total, approximately 17,000 Kiwis landed on the beaches at Gallipoli and with almost 3,000 killed in the one campaign our men fought hard and bravely but in this instance it seems it was all in vain. Few realised the hopelessness of the situation and strove onwards with little regard for their own lives. In total the Gallipoli campaign claimed approximately 141,000 casualties for the Allies of which over 44,000 died and for what we ask?
The Great War Exhibition
On the Western Front more than four times the losses of Gallipoli were felt by those brave Anzac soldiers. The Great War Exhibition at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park pays tribute to both the whole Great War and the Gallipoli Campaign. Created by Sir Peter Jackson this is an exhibition well worth a visit when in Wellington.
It's hard to imagine that such a devastating war really only began because of a number of confusing events resulting in distrust and misunderstandings ... and yet these caused over 17 million deaths and over 20 million wounded being the deadliest conflicts in human history.
100 years ago three main battles raged involving our Kiwi troops. The New Zealand Tunnelling Company quarried away extending the old chalk tunnels prior to the Battle of Arras. These men were the first to serve on the Western Fron from early March 1916. The Germans were also tunnelling but it is said the New Zealanders tunneled at three times the rate of the Germans!
The Battle at Messines the main assault floundered and all that was gained was a few kilometres of land at the cost of many lives.
In October the Battle at Passchendaele was a disaster. In a landscape of mud and debris New Zealanders alongside their Ally forces were shot down standing little chance of success.
New Zealand alone suffered over 18,000 casualties in less than a year on the Western Front.
The cost to New Zealand of the Great War was over 16,000 deaths and over 41,000 wounded.
The carnage, the loss, what was it all for? Perhaps we'll never know how the Great War could have been avoided but what we must never, never forget are those who stood up, held their heads high and bravely gave their lives and those who fought alongside them so that we can enjoy freedom. And so we wear our poppies with pride and attend the dawn Parades, listening to the simple but moving melodic harmony of the bugle ... and we remember
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