RELATIVES of those killed during the First World War had a chance to reflect on the heroism of their loved ones during a special commemoration service in Southsea.
To mark the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli, members of the Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens planted an Aleppo pine in the Garden of Hope behind the D-Day Museum.
Twenty people attended the service yesterday morning, with many of them reflecting on family members killed during the campaign.
Pauline Powell, co-ordinator of the tree wardens, said it was an emotional morning for those in attendance.
She said the account of Lieutenant Martin Heighway, a Royal Naval Reserve officer based at HMS Sultan, was particularly touching.
‘Martin spoke about his grandfather who fought in that campaign,’ she said.
‘The worst thing was the heat and the thirst.
‘The poor soldiers were dying of thirst. To get to the water-hole they had to run out of their defences while Turkish soldiers were picking them off.’
Pauline hoped the tree would become a lasting legacy outside the D-Day Museum.
The Aleppo pine was a significant choice, she added. It was a tree on the battlefield of Gallipoli which saw almost 131,000 soldiers being killed, including 21,255 British troops.