Any fears that the Anzac spirit was fading with the deaths of older veterans were surely quashed in Perth as thousands of people attended the Anzac Day dawn service and march.
In an address to people gathered at Supreme Court Gardens on Friday after the march, West Australian Governor Malcolm McCusker said that when troops landed at Gallipoli, many were killed before they reached the shore.
“The water ran red with the blood of the dead and wounded,” he said.
Mr McCusker said the air was also filled with screams and bullets, with one soldier making the observation: “We’ve just landed in hell.”
“It was a scene of indescribable carnage and confusion, and with the fierce fighting that followed, thousands of soldiers from both sides died from bullets, disease or sickness.”
Two young men died together as one tried to comfort his friend, and it was just one of many harrowing stories, he said.
In her dawn service address, HMAS Stirling Commander Angela Bond said the Gallipoli troops had to face their fears and quell their sickness.
“Those of us who have not worn the shoes of those men will never understand or know the fear, anticipation or sickness felt in the pit of the stomach of sailors, soldiers, airmen and women about to put themselves into danger for their country,” she said.
Marking 100 years of Australian submarines, she also recounted the story of the AE2, an E-class submarine involved in the Dardanelles campaign.
In a first, ceremonies were held at Kings Park’s State War Memorial all week in a bid to cap numbers on the public holiday, but about 45,000 people still gathered for the dawn service.
Both the Australian and New Zealand national anthems were played.
Defence Minister David Johnston said that since the first convoy left Albany in 1914, almost two million people had worn the Australian navy, army and air force uniforms.
“We remember around 100,000 men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have lost their lives while serving their country,” he said in a statement.
Senator Johnston also urged Australians to remember the 2000 people currently serving in Afghanistan, the Middle East, South Sudan, Egypt, Israel/Lebanon, on border protection duties, and in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
At the march, Peggy Boehm, 88, watched her 91-year-old husband pass by.
He served in World War II at age 17 and was in Borneo when the war ended.
Returned and Services League WA president Graham Edwards said young people were embracing the Anzac spirit in increasing numbers.
Nada Brock brought her young sons to the march for the first time and said although there were no veterans in her family, she wanted to teach them the importance of Anzac Day.