SURF BOATS READY FOR TURKEY
AN Anzac Cove landing boat in Canberra looks like Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club’s surf boat that will row ashore at dawn ceremonies marking the 1915 Gallipoli landings in Turkey on April 25.
“It had about 50 bullet holes in it and just standing next to that boat, when I could put my fingers through a .303- sized hole, was quite poignant,” Cottesloe SLSC Gallipoli 100 sweep Rob Turner said.
With an average age of 62, the Gallipoli 100 crew and 24 others from Australian and New Zealand surf clubs will land at Gallipoli Beach, near Anzac Cove, to be greeted by relatives of Turkish veterans of the failed 1915 British-French attempt to take the nearby peninsula.
The names of the 1024 West Australians who died in the ninemonth Gallipoli campaign are carved into the woodwork on Gallipoli 100 kept at Cottesloe SLSC.
The 1909-established club had 46 members serve in WWI, three of whom died at Gallipoli, including Maltese-born Australian Imperial Force interpreter Charles Bonavia.
His possessions, sent to his parents after he died on the first day of the Anzac Cove landings, included his life- saving Bronze Medallion.
Mr Turner said long-time club member and crew Tom Locke (70) had been the driving force behind getting Gallipoli 100 to Turkey as a tribute to all veterans.
Among the crew is former Australian and New Zealand SAS soldier Paul Neville, Mike Franz whose great-great grandfather is on the club’s WWI honour roll and Ian Johnson, whose father was a prisoner of war in WWII.
On April 21 and 22, Gallipoli 100 and a Trigg SLSC surfboat will race the other surf boats 60km along the peninsula.
A fund to replace surf boats donated to Turkey has been set up at www.cottsurf.com.
Ian Earl, Rob Turner, Ian Johnson, Tom Locke and Mike Vranz with the Cottesloe SLSC Gallipoli 100 race surf boat.