Portsmouth due to host Anzac commemoration event

Bells ring out in tribute

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PORTSMOUTH is due to host an event commemorating Australian and New Zealand troops who have fought alongside British allies over the past 100 years.

It comes as plans have been announced for the commemorations next year.

An event at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth on August 6 will feature the last surviving ship from the campaign, HMS M33, which is being refurbished with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The ceremonies, including a national service of commemoration at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on April 25 - Anzac Day - will be timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the bloody First World War battle of Gallipoli.

The series of events was announced as David Cameron paid tribute to the long-standing alliance between Britain and Australia, from the First World War to the recent war in Afghanistan, in an address to Parliament in Canberra.

Britain would ‘never forget the thousands of Australian troops who stood and fought and fell, from Lone Pine to the Somme’, said the prime minister, adding: ‘Ours is an alliance that has been forged in adversity and tested over time.

‘Rugged. Resilient. Reliable. Adjectives that sum up this great nation and its people. There is no more dependable ally when the chips are down.’

The Gallipoli campaign in Turkey was one of the major engagements of the First World War, involving more than 400,000 British and around 140,000 Commonwealth and Irish servicemen.

As well as the Cenotaph service, a UK-led Commonwealth and Ireland ceremony will be held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Helles Memorial in Turkey on April 24, the eve of the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

Mr Cameron said: ‘The First World War saw devastating loss of life and destruction. It also saw incredible acts of heroism and bravery in nearly every corner of the world.

‘When we mark the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, we will recognise the sacrifice made by so many and reaffirm our gratitude for the contribution of our Irish and Commonwealth allies, in particular the role of the Anzac forces whose gallantry there did so much to define Australia and New Zealand as strong independent nations.’