Gallipoli: A Personal Tribute


Few things about any war are simple. There is always conjecture about the politics and military machinations, even with the benefit of a century’s hindsight.

One thing, however, is certain. The youthful men who, on April 25, 1915, surged onto the beach at ANZAC Cove, on the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey, did so with immense courage, driven by a keen sense of national duty and loyalty to their comrades.

Like all those who fought in WW1, these were not superhuman beings. They had no special nobility gene, which might have enabled them to stoically accept whatever destiny awaited them.

My grandfather, Robert Henry Fletcher, fought in the war. A Methodist by background, he made notes in his journal reflecting a sense of unease about Christians going to war. I am immensely proud of his honest wrestling with those questions – and hugely proud of his service.

His brother, Captain John Harry Fletcher died, a decorated soldier, at the age of just 25 years. He was fighting on the Hindenburg line in northern France. He lies buried in Europe today. His future as a teacher died with him.

These, like their millions of fellow Allied combatants, were flesh-and-blood human beings, subject to all the frailties, fears and flaws we share as Adam’s progeny.

We owe them so much more than a fleeting few moments of silence on ANZAC Day. Yet, in the silence we affirm again their sacrificial courage and refuse to lose sight of the values they fought to preserve.

Also on 2020Plus: The Anzacs, Churchill and a Lesson for our Politicians

© Copyright with Mal Fletcher

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