Gallipoli Campaign commemorated at Bledisloe Cup

This article has photo gallery Published on POIS Phil Cullinan (author)

Location(s): Homebush, New South Wales

Musician Fiona Wilkins, Australian Army Band sings the New Zealand National Anthem prior to the commencement of the first Bledisloe Cup as the commemorate one hundred years since the August Offensive at Gallipoli. (photo: POIS Phil Cullinan)
Musician Fiona Wilkins, Australian Army Band sings the New Zealand National Anthem prior to the commencement of the first Bledisloe Cup as the commemorate one hundred years since the August Offensive at Gallipoli.

Rugby fans on both sides of the Tasman paused to reflect on a century of sacrifice on 8 August, marking the anniversary of significant First World War battles before teams took to the pitch for the Bledisloe Cup.

Members of the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces were supported by the Army Band in a pre-game commemoration, as part of the Rugby Union match between Australian and New Zealand, played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney

Defence Adviser to the New Zealand High Commission, Air Commodore Shaun Clarke, and Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, jointly read the Ode.

One hundred years since the August Offensive at Gallipoli, the ensuing battles were the largest and most costly in the eight-month Gallipoli campaign. Many of the sites of the bloody struggle became sadly familiar names in Australia and New Zealand as thousands of our soldiers lost their lives at places such as Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair.

The sell-out crowd were treated to the music of the Army Band before members of the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces proudly marched on the field to form an honour guard for both National Anthems. The 'Last Post' was sounded and a minute silence was observed by the crowd, reflecting that the memory of the fallen has never been forgotten. 

"It was an honour to read the Ode prior to the start of the game with Air Commodore Clarke," Vice Admiral Griggs said.

"Australian and New Zealand Defence personnel have served side-by-side on operations for over a century and will continue to do so.

"Our shared history, rivalry and love of Rugby made this occasion a fitting tribute to those who have served both nations in peacetime and during conflict," he said.

On completion of the commemoration service, Defence Force members from both countries were less collaborative and more competitive, cheering on the All Blacks and Wallabies. The Wallabies won 27-19.