ANZAC plaques stolen in October 2014 have now been replaced on the Gallipoli peninsula. Australians Len Thompson and Eric Winn were the prime movers behind the project and quickly gathered together a team of willing volunteers. The eleven replacement plaques were manufactured, packed in wooden crates and flown to Turkey by RAAF aircraft, together with the team of 12 volunteers. Based in Aceabat, the team, despite often freezing conditions, worked diligently and completed the task late on Thursday, 26 March 2015.
The head of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Gallipoli inspected each of the sites on Friday, 27 March 2015, and was both overwhelmed and full of gratitude for the job done by the volunteers. The Australian government contributed $55,000 to the project, most of which was taken up by the replacement cost of the plaques. Tools for the project were donated by Porters Hardware of Mackay, Queensland. The volunteers also donated tools, together with a personal contribution of $500 each to cover other costs, thus ensuring the overall success of the project.
Len Thompson: “We are all so very honoured to have been involved with this important project. Many thousands of Australians and people from all over the World who visit the Gallipoli Peninsula will once again be able to read about events that occurred at the respective sites around the Peninsula. The plaques are in four languages, English, Turkish, French and German.”