In our An­zacs foot­steps Vet­er­ans fall in for pa­rades

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

TWO de­scen­dants of Gal­lipoli vet­er­ans are trad­ing places this year and learn­ing what life was like on the other side of the bat­tle­field.

Year 13 Mt Al­bert Gram­mar stu­dent Spencer McGarry and Turk­ish stu­dent Gizem Gen­cel are step­ping into each other’s shoes for six weeks af­ter winning an es­say com­pe­ti­tion.

The in­au­gu­ral Amer­i­can Field Ser­vice Gal­lipoli Youth Award in­vited New Zealand and Turk­ish stu­dents to write about a blood rel­a­tive who fought at the bat­tle.

Spencer’s es­say and film doc­u­men­tary on his great­grand­fa­ther William Titley Palmer won him a re­turn air­fare to Turkey, where he is stay­ing with Gizem’s fam­ily in Can­nakkale and at­tend­ing her high school for six weeks.

To­mor­row he will take the 20-minute ferry ride to the nearby Gal­lipoli Penin­sula to speak at the An­zac cer­e­mony, where he’ll read his es­say and The Ode to the Fallen.

Speak­ing on the phone from Can­nakkale, Spencer says he is en­joy­ing his time in Turkey and has been vis­it­ing the lo­cal his­toric sites.

“It’s quite dif­fer­ent over here,” he says.

“But be­cause so many peo­ple speak English I haven’t had too much trou­ble.”

He hopes to visit Hill 60 to­mor­row where his great­grand­fa­ther fought so he can try to find a piece of shrap­nel or other bit of mem­o­ra­bilia.

He says re­search­ing the es­say was made eas­ier by his fam­ily’s good record-keep­ing and his great-grand­fa­ther’s war di­ary.

Here on the other side of the world, Gizem, 16, has been en­joy­ing Mt Al­bert life and says her time here has been a great cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

Her great-grand­fa­ther Ali Sabir died at the bat­tle in 1915.

Al­though she says she had less in­for­ma­tion about her an­ces­tor to work with, she was de­ter­mined to win the com­pe­ti­tion be­cause she wanted to come to New Zealand.

“I knew ev­ery­thing from the Turk­ish side and it’s so good to see ev­ery­thing from the other side too,” Gizem says.

To­mor­row she will at­tend three An­zac ser­vices where she’ll read her es­say.

She will be es­corted by Spencer’s older brother Thomas, who won the Prime Min­is­ter’s Es­say Com­pe­ti­tion in 2006 for his ac­count of his great-grand­fa­ther’s life.

Thomas has been granted time off from his po­si­tion in the New Zealand Army to at­tend the event and will carry his great-grand­fa­ther’s sword by his side.

The boys’ mother Kay McGarry says the fam­ily has a won­der­ful his­tory of keep­ing records of their war an­ces­tors and has an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bilia and pho­tos from William Titley Palmer him­self.

“The boys have al­ways grown up with a shelf full of that kind of thing,” Mrs McGarry says.

“It’s been a big part in their lives.” A host of An­zac Day ser­vices will be held to­mor­row to hon­our those who served the coun­try.

Two com­mem­o­ra­tive ser­vices will be held at the court of hon­our in front of the Auck­land War Memo­rial Mu­seum.

A pa­rade of vet­er­ans will as­sem­ble at 5.30am in the mu­seum carpark be­fore march­ing along Ceno­taph Rd for a 6am dawn ser­vice.

There will be a civic ser­vice at 11am, with a pa­rade assem­bling on the east­ern side of the mu­seum carpark at 10.15am.

Vet­er­ans who show their badges or medals on An­zac Day and Su­per Gold Card hold­ers will be able to travel for free on NZ Bus Link buses which run from 5am. Other An­zac Day ser­vices:

Grey Lynn – pa­rade starts at 9.45am from the cor­ner of Cas­tle St, trav­el­ling along Rich­mond Rd and Fran­cis St for a 10am ser­vice out­side the RSC clu­b­rooms

Mt Al­bert – pa­rade starts at 9.25am at the carpark near Al­ber­ton Ave shops, with a 9.30am ser­vice at the Mt Al­bert War Memo­rial Park

Mt Eden – ser­vice at 11am at the Mt Eden War Memo­rial Hall, with a pa­rade at 10.50am from Dex­ter Ave, along Do­min­ion Rd

Mt Roskill – start­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of Cullen Ave and May Rd, a pa­rade will start at 9.25am and a ser­vice will be held at 9.30am at Mt Roskill War Memo­rial Hall

One­hunga – de­part­ing from the cor­ner of Trafal­gar St and One­hunga Mall at 9.45am, the pa­rade will travel to Church St and Pearce St and re­turn to One­hunga Mall for a 10am ser­vice at the RSA

Pt Che­va­lier – pa­rade start­ing at 10.30am from Al­berta St, trav­el­ling along Pt Che­va­lier Rd and Great North Rd, fin­ish­ing at the RSA for a 10.50am ser­vice.

Visit www.maxx.co.nz for travel in­for­ma­tion.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Other side: Turk­ish ex­change stu­dent Gizem Gen­cel will at­tend three An­zac ser­vices.

Life­time ex­pe­ri­ence: Spencer McGarry will read his es­say at the ser­vice at Gal­lipoli.

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