On Thursday, The Prince of Wales attended a banquet given by the President of Turkey in Istanbul. Prior to attending the banquet, Prince Charles attended an address by H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and a concert of works by Turkish composer Can Atilla.
Charles has made six official visits to Turkey. His first in 1989 with visits in 1993, 1996, 2004 and 2005 for the 90th-anniversary commemorations of the Gallipoli campaign. In 2007, Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Turkey together.
On Friday Prince, Charles and Prince Harry attended five events whilst in Turkey.
The first scheduled engagement saw Charles and his son attend a reception on HMS Bulwark. There, they met with 15 guests whose ancestors fought in the Gallipoli campaign. Some of those they met had relatives who landed at ‘V’ Beach, where Charles and Harry visited later in the day. There were also descendants of two V.C. awardees, and a descendant of Admiral Sir John de Robeck, Commander of the Allied Fleet during the Dardanelles naval battle.
Other guests attending were part of the HMS Bulwark’s crew.
The next event attended by the Royals was the International Service at the ?anakkale Martyrs’ Memorial Abide.
Built between 1954 and 1960, The ?anakkale Turkish Martyrs’ Memorial is the central Turkish memorial on the Gallipoli peninsula. ?anakkale is the name of the town on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles that was heavily defended and the chief supply port for reinforcements to the peninsula.
Welcoming Charles and Harry were senior Turkish representatives. During the service, Prince Charles laid a wreath and delivered a short speech.
“On this centenary occasion, it seems to me that we must remember the heroism and humanity of those on both sides who had to leave behind their families, from cities, villages and farms around the world, to come here and confront the horrors that they did, and in an appalling number of instances, never to see their loved ones again,” Charles remarked in his address.
The Prince of Wales continued: “The battle at Gallipoli is a striking reminder that the “Great War” was truly a “World War” not only because its combatants were drawn from so many different nations, but also because its effects were truly global. It destroyed old empires and created new fissures, just as it brought some countries together in shared endeavours and strengthened national identities – exemplified by the spirit and ‘mateship’ of the Anzacs who, in fighting here at Gallipoli, contributed so profoundly to the proud sense of nationhood of Australia and New Zealand.”
The service included a performance by “Mehteran” Ottoman Military Band and Symphony Orchestra, a performance by a children’s choir and prayers for the Çanakkale Martyrs.
After attending the International Service, Charles and Harry attended the Commonwealth and Ireland Service at Cape Helles.
Charles and Harry viewed the Helles Memorial, including monuments to Indian Army and Gurkha soldiers. Before entering the memorial, they paused to witness the unveiling of a memorial stone.
As official hosts of the Commonwealth and Ireland Service, The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry greeted the President of the Republic of Ireland, H.E. Michael D. Higgins and the President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
During the service both Charles and Harry delivered readings. Charles then laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Over 500,000 Commonwealth and Irish soldiers fought during the eight-month-long Gallipoli Campaign. Around 400,000 from Britain, 15,000 from Ireland and 140,000 drawn from the modern countries of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sri Lanka and the Indian sub-continent. Also assisting the Allied forces during the battle were 40,000 French troops.
Representatives of Ireland, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, France, as well as from Turkey and Germany were in attendance.
There are close to 36,000 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated on Gallipoli. The Helles Memorial bears the names of nearly 21,000 soldiers with no known grave.
Designed by Sir John Burnet, and completed in 1924, the Helles Memorial is the battle monument for the Gallipoli campaign. It marks the endeavours of the Commonwealth servicemen who served on land, at sea, and in the air, whether at Helles, Anzac or Suvla.
Additionally 1,500 of those listed on the Helles Memorial served with the Indian Army. The 29th Indian Brigade landed at Helles on 1 May 1915 and along with the Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade, fought in various critical operations. The Indian Mule Corps formed the largest body of Indian servicemen. They worked with thousands of animals to render vital logistical support, transporting supplies, equipment, and the wounded throughout the peninsula. Honoured here are those Hindus and Sikhs who were committed to fire or buried at sea in accordance with their faith.
Charles and Harry went on to visit ‘V’ Beach, accompanied by H.E. Michael D. Higgins and Mrs. Sabina Higgins. Joining them was historian Dr. Glyn Prysor
Landing at ‘V’ Beach off the SS River Clyde, steam collier were the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, along with the Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshire Regiment. Sides were cut out of the Clyde so it could be beached, and the 2000 men inside would run down wooden gangways onto the pontoons that had been dragged near the shore adjacent to the ship.
The plan was that pontoons would allow the men to jump onto the beach and advance inland to attack the Turks. Machine gun fire would cover the men arriving ashore. Unfortunately, it went massively awry.
The German commander General Von Sanders who was advising the Turks knew that Cape Helles was a crucial part of the peninsula to defend. So he defended it with massive amounts of barbed wire under the water. Beside the ridge, he added machine-gun placements and barbed wire. The Dubliners, Munsters and Hampshires did not stand a chance for survival.
The last event of the day saw Charles and Harry attend the French Service at Morto Bay. The service included readings from Turkish and French students, followed by one minute’s silence and laying of wreaths by various dignitaries including Prince Charles.
The cemetery at Morto Bay includes 3236 marked graves and numerous ossuaries. Memorial plaques remember the loss at the Dardanelles of French sailors from warships like the Bouvet. On 18 March 1915, the Bouvet sunk in under two minutes after hitting a mine during the initial naval assault. The French segment of the Allied force at Gallipoli known as the Corps Expéditionnaire d’Orient, comprised French and French colonial African troops.
On Saturday Charles and Harry will attend the Anzac Breakfast in Turkey.
Prince Charles will also attend a Reception with widows of Australian soldiers who fought at Gallipoli. He then will be accompanied by Prince Harry to attend the Australian Service at Lone Pine Cemetery.
Both Charles and Harry will attend the 57th Regiment Service at the 57th Regiment Memorial, the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings and the New Zealand Service at the Chunuk Bair Memorial.
Prince Harry will briefly return to the UK this weekend following the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey, to attend the London Marathon as Patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
photo credit: Crown Copyright 2015, Leading(Phot) JJ Massey