Today is all about processing the 400+ photographs I took out on Flanders Fields, in the village of Mesen, on the occasion of ANZAC Day.
My grandfather was at Gallipoli, Turkey ... and later he was out on the Somme, in France, with his horse. Whether he made it to Flanders Fields with the rest of the Otago Mounted Rifles, I don't know ... he was injured on the Somme and found the experience of war so appalling that he would rarely speak of it.
I went twice to Gallipoli, while living in Turkey. The Turks have forgiven the invaders and actually take good care of the soldiers who fell there. In fact ...
Turkey became a republic in 1923 and Kemal became the first president. During his 15-year rule, many sweeping changes were introduced to the political, legal and socioeconomic fields. He was an immortal hero to his people and an extraordinary leader and peacemaker. Kemal said in 1933, "I look to the world with an open heart full of pure feelings and friendship". In 1934, he accepted the title "Atatürk" (father of the Turks).
In 1934 Atatürk wrote a tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli: Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
This shot was taken in Mesen, as the New Zealand navy greeted Bruce Simpson of Ngati Rana, the London Maori Club.