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Descendants of Gallipoli veterans to join princes for centenary event

By Tom Wilkinson

Published 04/04/2015

Ceremony: Prince Harry
Ceremony: Prince Harry

Fifteen descendants of veterans who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign will join the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry at a centenary commemoration event in Turkey.

The Churchill-backed attack in 1915 attempted to knock one of Germany's main allies, the Ottoman Empire, out of the war.

But it failed, despite more than half a million Allied servicemen pouring in to the area, at a cost of around 58,000 lives either in battle or from disease.

The debacle led to Churchill being sacked from the War Cabinet, and was at the time the most deadly campaign of the First World War. The descendants who will pay tribute at a ceremony at the Helles Memorial on April 24 are members of the Gallipoli Association.

Its chairman, Captain Christopher Fagan, said: "It is a great honour for the Gallipoli Association to have been invited by the UK Government to assist with this opportunity for British descendants to attend the service at Cape Helles." Charles and his youngest son will be at the ceremony, and a dawn service the following morning, Anzac Day.

The Gallipoli Campaign is of great historical importance to Australia and New Zealand, and stories of their soldiers' heroics in the face of horrific conditions including heat, flies and lack of supplies have become part of their national identities.

But the British contribution - not least the 29,500 British and Irish lives lost - must be honoured in the Gallipoli commemorations, the descendants felt.

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