In his memoir, Over There with the Australians (1918), R. Hugh Knyvett, an Australian officer, pondered on the preoccupation with the Anzac experience at Gallipoli:
Australia and New Zealand’s part does not, in actual accomplishment or in personal daring and endurance, outclass the doings of these others, the larger half of the army. But there is a romance and a glow about the Anzac exploits that (rail at the injustice of it as you may) makes a human interest story that will elbow out of the mind of the ‘man in the street’ what other troops did. In fact, every second man one meets has the idea that the Australians and New Zealanders were the only men there.
The Anzac troops weren’t the only men who fought during the Gallipoli campaign though the landing has become synonymous with the exploits of the dominion men. Alongside them were troops from India, Ireland, France, Britain and other empire and Allied forces, with whom they interacted both in the battlefield and at camp.
The troops also had contact with their Turkish enemies, sharing moments of touch and intimacy.
This Saturday will be the centennial commemoration of the landing of the Anzac troops at Gallipoli, arriving to play their part in the long campaign that would come to an end in January 1916. As Australia and New Zealand remember Anzac Day at home and at dawn ceremonies at Gallipoli, and across the globe, let it also be remembered that the Anzac men were not the only troops fighting at Gallipoli, and the other fronts across the world. Instead these were spaces for encounter with the troops who served alongside them and those they fought against, moments of interaction – however fleeting – that would shape how these men experienced the war.