On the eve of the centenary of the Gallipoli landings, the crew of HMAS Anzac was joined for breakfast by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Tony Abbott, and the Chief of the Australian Defence Force Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin, while near Gallipoli, Turkey.
Commanding Officer Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Air Chief Marshall Binskin to the ship.
“It is a special occasion any time our Prime Minister and our Chief of the Defence Force visit a Royal Australian Navy ship at sea.
“The eve of the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, marks an especially unique opportunity for us to welcome you aboard.
“In the early hours of 25 April 1915, HMAS AE2 broke through the Dardanelles - the very waters we are now in - paving the way for the landings at Gallipoli and the Anzac story.
“It is fitting that prior to the dawn service the Prime Minister is on board an Australian warship, viewing the shores of Gallipoli just as many of the soldiers were prior to the landings 100 years ago,” Commander Wood said.
The Prime Minister echoed these sentiments, emphasising that the commemorations for Anzac Day recognised the contributions of the members of the Defence Force of the past and the present.
“While we rightly honour those who fell here, while we rightly honour those who served here, this is not about the past. It is about the present and the future.
"We know that you stand ready to serve our country in good times and bad, in all sorts of different circumstances, in a way that the rest of us are never called upon to serve,” Prime Minister Abbott said.
Seaman Courtney Frankl, a Combat Systems Operator in Anzac related that the crew enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy a BBQ breakfast with the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force.
“The Prime Minister is someone you see on the news all the time, but to have him out here on our ship the day before Anzac Day was special.
“He really seemed to enjoy spending some time and talking to the crew, and related well to everyone.
“His visit reinforced for me how important it is for us as HMAS Anzac to be here to represent Australia at Anzac Cove on Anzac Day,” Seaman Frankl said.
HMAS Anzac represented Australia in the sail past at Gallipoli on Anzac Day. She will continue on her five month NORTHERN TRIDENT 2015 deployment and participate in further commemorative events for the Centenary of Anzac, along with a series of international engagements in Europe and Africa.
Additional imagery is available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20151091