Hundreds attend Anzac service in Dublin to remember Gallipoli dead

Tánaiste says at Glasnevin Cemetery event that such an event should never happen again

Some 600 people turned up for the annual Anzac Day service at Grangegorman military cemetery to mark 100 years to the day since the landings at Gallipoli.

The crowd was three times that which usually attends the service and reflects the increased interest in the Gallipoli campaign on this the centenary of the military debacle.

The Australian ambassador Dr Ruth Adler and British ambassador Dominick Chilcott were both at the ceremony along with diplomatic representatives from both New Zealand and Turkey.

Poems and prayers were recited and 10 schoolchildren read out the names of Anzac troops who drowned when the RMS Leinster was torpoed off the Irish coast in October 1918.

The Government was represented by Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister for Communications Alex White and Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Ms Burton said so many people from all the nations involved in the Gallipoli campaign lost relatives there and it was important that such an event should never happen again.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said his own great-uncle James Sheridan was killed at Gallipoli five days after the landings and now lies for eternity in V Beach cemetery.

Mr Ó Ríordáin said the decade of centenaries has sought to “reawaken the dormant memories, the forgotten, the unspoken and maybe even dispel some of the shame there that might have existed.

“Like so many other Irish families I too have discovered in recent years to those who fought in World War 1 as well as those who fought for Irish freedom here”.

A wreath was laid at Grangegorman cemetery on behalf of the people of Ireland by Mr White.

Later Mr White and the British ambassador unveiled eight paving stones commemorating Irish-born soldiers who won the Victoria Cross during the war.

Four of the soldiers involved: Pte William Kenealy from the Lancashire Fusiliers, Pte William Cosgrove from the Royal Munster Fusiliers, Capt Gerald O'Sullivan from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and Sgt James Somers also from the Royal Inniskilling won theirs at Gallipoli.

Among those present at Glasnevin was Joe Day, a relation of Corporal William Cosgrove.

At the unveiling ceremony in Glasnevin cemetery, Mr White revealed that he had two great-uncles who were killed at the Somme.

He said a “great silence” had descended on Ireland after the first World War but he hoped that silence had now ended.

Mr Chilcott said nine million soldier served in the British Imperial Forces during the first World War and only 628 got VCs, the equivalent of less than one in 10,000 of those who fought.

“Those who earn it are certainly the bravest of the brave. These men are very special. That is why we honour them,” he said.

The other Irish VC winners who were honoured with paving stones were Lieuteant George Roupell from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, CSM Frederick Hall from the Canadian (Winnipeg Rifles), Major Daid Nelson from the Royal Artillery and William Kenny from the Gordon Highlanders.

The paving stones are being paid for by the British Government and all 34 awarded to those who were from what is now the Republic of Ireland will be placed around the Cross of Sacrifice in Glasnevin cemetery.