In a departure from previous years, the Centenary of Gallipoli in London was, for the first time, British-organised and run. Normally the domain of the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, this year the event was taken over by the British Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) — but for this Centenary year only.
The usual Australian and New Zealand participation was added to by British regiments and bands, an entirely apt and long-overdue acknowledgment of the heavy commitment and costs borne by British and Empire troops (420,000) at Gallipoli.
HM The Queen, HRH Prince Phillip and the HRH Duke of Cambridge were present at the commemoration, held at the Cenotaph at Whitehall. A big crowd watched the event from packed pavements, and as silence fell on Whitehall at 11.00am, Big Ben struck the hour then boomed out eleven peals which resonated across the streets of London. This was followed by the playing of The Last Post and Reveille.
Following the Service and Parade at Whitehall, a special ANZAC Centenary Service was held in nearby Westminster Abbey, filled to capacity with many who had travelled from Australia and New Zealand especially for this auspicious and unforgettable occasion.
Earlier, a special ANZAC Dawn Service was held at Hyde Park Corner to thousands of early-rising onlookers. For more details see our earlier post “ANZAC Dawn Service, London”, on this page under 25 April 2015.