9 Aug 2015

Chunuk Bair fallen remembered at Gallipoli

12:58 pm on 9 August 2015

The nearly 900 New Zealanders who lost their lives in the Battle of Chunuk Bair have been remembered in a centennial service at the Gallipoli site.

About 400 people joined the governors-general of New Zealand and Australia, soldiers from both countries, diplomats and politicians in an Anzac Day-style ceremony overnight.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent at Gallipoli said New Zealand's most recent Victoria Cross winner, Willie Apiata, was the star of the day, being the subject of numerous selfies before the service.

During the service the now-retired corporal read to the crowd the life history of signaller Cyril Bassett, New Zealand's only VC winner at Gallipoli, who was cited for outstanding bravery at Chunuk Bair.

Many of those spoken to by Radio New Zealand said they loved the Anzac Day-style ceremony, but felt like the battle flew under the radar of many New Zealanders.

However, the great-granddaughter of Colonel William Malone who commanded the Wellington Battalion at Chunuk Bair, said she was surprised how many people knew who her ancestor and what the soldiers achieved.

Louise Malone said as New Zealanders find out more about what happened at Galipoli they will also realise the effort soldiers made at Chunuk Bair, and it will eventually get the attention it deserves.

New Zealand soldiers led a successful assault on the summit of the strategic hill on 8 August 1915.

Current commander of the Wellington Batallion Lieutenant Colonel Ian McDonald attended today's ceremony in Chunuk Bair and said it was incredibly moving.

He said it was an incredible honour for the batallion to pay its respects to those who died 100 years ago.