COVENTRY Cathedral, built next to the bombed-out ruins of the
former cathedral, is more familiar than many with Isaiah 2: "They
shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning
It was read again at a service to commemorate the centenary of
the landing at Gallipoli, and Anzac Day, on Saturday afternoon. The
service had been conceived and planned by the Revd Andrew Coleman,
an Australian priest serving in the diocese as Priest-in-Charge of
Ansty and Shilton, and Vicar of Longford.
The preacher was the Bishop of Bendigo, near Melbourne, the Rt
Revd Andrew Curnow, who spoke of the ambiguous feelings in his
country and New Zealand about the Gallipoli campaign. It was when
the two nations "came of age", discovering the virtues of
resourcefulness, comradeship, endeavour, and "reckless valour in a
"But," he said, "we also need to acknowledge that it was a
dreadful battle." Australia lost 8700 in the nine-month campaign,
New Zealand 2700 - a large proportion of their small expeditionary
"Good things came out of Gallipoli, but at huge cost to human
life," he said.
His sermon was light on references to the equally severe losses
experienced by Turkey; but this was made up for by the sight of the
Turkish flag flying beside those of the allied forces of the UK,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Canada. And the Deputy
Head of Mission at the Turkish Embassy, Fatih Ulusoy, read the
words of the Turkish leader, Kemal Atatürk, from 1934: "You
mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away the
tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom, and are in peace."
In London, the New Zealand-born Archbishop David Moxon, the
Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Vatican, led a
dawn service in Hyde Park. The New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir
Lockwood Smith, told the thousands who had gathered at Wellington
Arch that the Anzac soldiers were "the flower of the youth of our
There was also a service at Westminster Abbey, attended by the
Queen and the Prime Minister. In a show of reconciliation, the
flags of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Turkey were placed
together on the altar.
At the Cenotaph on Saturday, the Archbishop of Canterbury and
the Bishop to the Forces, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, joined
Australian and New Zealand representatives to commemorate Anzac
Day. Archbishop Welby recalled the "heroism and tragedies" of the
Gallipoli campaign, and said: "May we honour their sufferings
through our unwavering pursuit of a just peace, in a region where
fear and conflict often feel insurmountable."
A parish ten miles away, in Eltham, south London, also held a
service on Saturday. Holy Trinity, Eltham, is home to the Gallipoli
Memorial Chapel, dedicated by its wartime Vicar, Henry Hall, who
was also chaplain to the British Army's 29th Division.
Mr Hall landed with troops from the 29th Divison on the West
Beach at Gallipoli; on his return to London, he dedicated the
chapel in memory of the thousands of soldiers who failed to return
On the other side of the world, Australia and New Zealand held
their own commemorations of the anniversary.
In the build-up to Anzac Day last week, the dioceses of
Melbourne and Sydney published details, including extracts from
letters home, of chaplains who had accompanied the troops into
battle in Gallipoli 100 years ago, and clergy who had signed up to
the medical corps.
The Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington, the capital
of New Zealand, Canon Simon Winn, said that Anzac Day had grown in
significance in his nation in recent years. "While fewer and fewer
Kiwis attend religious worship, and most prefer not to affiliate
with 'organised' religion, they turn out in many thousands for
Anzac events, which have become imbued with a 'spiritual' symbolism
that seems to unite the country."
His cathedral exhibited watercolour paintings and drawings by
Kiwi troops who had served in the First World War, as well as
hosting a vigil on Friday evening before the commemorations began.
More than 40,000 people were reported to have attended the Anzac
Day dawn service in Wellington, and 34,000 (three times the normal
number) attended a similar service in Auckland.