You have DAYS LEFT to get September's box! Subscribe now

16 Anzac Day Facts You May Not Know (HISTORIC PHOTOS)

11 Anzac Day Facts You May Not Know (NZ)

ANZAC day is a national day of remembrance on the 25th of April each year in both New Zealand and Australia to commemorate all New Zealanders and Australians who have served and died in all wars.

1. ANZAC Day History - The Gallipoli Campaign

Although ANZAC now represents all wars both New Zealanders and Australians have died in, initially it started with the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.

The Gallipoli campaign of 1915-1916 is also known as the Dardanelles campaign or Battle of Gallipoli which was an unsuccessful Allied invasion against the Turkish Ottoman Empire to try and control the sea from Europe to Russia during World War I.


Battle of Gallipoli Countries Involved

Share this Image On Your Site


On April 25, 1915, the Allies launched their invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula in what we call modern-day Turkey.

It lasted over 10 months from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916 and despite suffering heavy casualties, the Allies managed to establish two beachheads: one at Helles and one at Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast.

This cove was later dubbed Anzac Cove, in honour of New Zealand and Australian troops who fought so courageously against the determined Ottoman Empire.

The Allied plan behind the attack was to break through the straights, secure and seize the Ottoman capital, Constantinople (now known as Istanbul), and essentially eliminate the Ottoman Empire from the war.

It didn't quite go as planned.

After multiple unsuccessful attacks in April, May, and August 1915 with very little ground won from the initial landing sites the Allies decided to cut their losses in November 1915 with a planned evacuation around December - January 1916.

Battle of Gallipoli Casualties WW1

Share this Image On Your Site

2. Our Day of Remembrance

Observed on the 25th of April it was initially created to honour the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who died during the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

Maori Anzac at Gallipoli

Smiling New Zealand Maori Solider in the Apex trenches on 30th November 1915.

Becoming a public holiday

During the early 1920s, the legal status of ANZAC Day was still unclear.

Peacetime was celebrated between the 19th-21st of July 1919 but there was still no official day of commemoration set in stone.

The government pondered and questioned shifting St George's Day (23rd of April) but didn't get much public support.

After initial attempts by the government for ANZAC day to just have banks and hotels close with no race meetings it did not, however, meet the RSA demands to make the day 'Sundayised'.

In 1922 the New Zealand government gave-way and allowed the 25th of April to become a full public holiday as if it was a Sunday.


3. Landing at Anzac Cove

Anzac Cove Original Picture

A crowd of Allied soldiers in ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli.

The Allies landing at ANZAC Cove WW1.

Anzac Cove (TurkishAnzak Koyu) is a small cove in Turkey on the Gallipoli Peninsula where the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed on the 25th of April 1915 during World War 1.

After the landing, the cove became the main headquarters and base for the ANZAC troops for the 10 months during the Battle of Gallipoli.

In 1985 on ANZAC Day Turkish officials announced they recognise the name 'ANZAC Cove'.


Soldiers Sitting in Bunker Gallipoli

ANZAC soldiers in the trenches.

4. Myth, that ANZAC's made up the majority of the Allied force.

It's a common misconception that New Zealanders and Australians were the majority or only Allied force involved in Gallipoli.

In fact, New Zealand and Australia only made up 12.5% of the Allied forces involved.

There was a total of around 480,000 total Allied troops that fought in Gallipoli.

This was made up of 345,000 British ( including Indian's and Newfoundlanders ), 79,000 French, 50,000 Australians, and 15,000 New Zealanders. 

5. Enemies Burying Comrades Alongside Each Other

Burying parties on no-mans land during Gallipoli Armistice

Indian Doctor searching for the wounded on Gallipoli Armistice

Indian doctors searching for the wounded on Armistice Day.

On the 24th of May, a burial armistice or truce was arranged by both sides to allow fellow soldiers to bury their comrades.

The suspension of arms was to be from 7:30 am - 4:30 pm on the 24th of May.

A boundary line was pegged down the centre of no man's land allowing the burying parties of both sides to have a clear area to work within.

If a dead enemy soldier was to be found on the opposite side of the line it was agreed to be carried to the centre line allowing each side to bury its own dead and identify them.

Any rifles found in no man's land was to be immediately placed on stretchers to be carried out as it was agreed no man was allowed to carry a rifle in his hand. Any enemy rifles recovered had their bolts removed placed on stretchers and given back.


6. Why the Red Poppy?

Flanders Fields Gallipoli

Illustration of Soldier walking through Flanders Field.

The red ANZAC poppy is the most iconic symbol used to commemorate the New Zealand soldiers who died in Gallipoli and all wars.

Internationally the red poppy is a symbol of war remembrance.

It is usually worn on the day prior and on ANZAC day the 25th of April.

Flanders Fields

Amid a devastating landscape, a sea of red rose from the mud.

With a torn-up battlefield and many soldiers dug graves, it provided the perfect environment for these dormant seeds to flourish.

The flourishing red poppies throughout the battlefield was famously observed and written about in a poem by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae named 'In Flanders Fields'.

On his passing in 1918, the poppy became a symbol internationally for regeneration and growth.

In 1921 the RSA (New Zealand Returned Soldiers' Association) decided to follow the French and to wear poppies as a remembrance symbol.

The first round of fundraising was planned for Armistice Day in November 1921 however the ship bringing the poppies over from France was late.

So the RSA decided to wait until the 25th of April 1922.

It was a massive success with the RSA raising a lot of donations allowing them to send some of the profits back to help war-torn Northern France.

The remainder of the profit was used to help returned unemployed New Zealand soldiers and their families.

The Poem by John McCrae Used for Conscription

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae

May 3rd, 1915

7. What does 'Lest we forget' mean?

What Lest We Forget Means Anzac Day History

Some people believe that “lest” means “in case”.

“Lest” means “so that . . . not”. The phrase “Lest we forget” could be rephrased as “So that we don’t forget”.


8. Anzac Biscuits History


Anzac Biscuits in Gallipoli

Many believe the ANZAC biscuit was sent in bulk to the men in the front lines as an Army biscuit was this true?

While some may have been sent by wives to their men it wasn't an army staple.

However, the Army did have a super hard army biscuit also called a ship's biscuit in their rations. 

These oat-based biscuits (latter dubbed ANZAC biscuits) were sold locally at markets, events, parades and other public events to raise money for the New Zealand war effort.

New Zealand raised 6.5 million pounds to put towards the war effort selling the biscuits at home.

It was then dubbed the ANZAC biscuit from the association created back home with the fundraising efforts.

Countries Involved in WW1

Share this Image On Your Site

ANZAC Biscuits Recipe


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g plain flour
  • 80g porridge oats
  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat, then stir in the golden syrup. In a small bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda with 3 tablespoons of boiling water, then stir it into the butter mixture.
  3. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle, then add the butter mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest. Give the wet ingredients a good mix, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients to combine.
  4. Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving a rough 3cm gap between each one. Place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

8 More ANZAC Day Facts you may not know about

9. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The ANZACs fought in the Gallipoli Battle in 1915 during World War 1. They become well known throughout the Allied camps for their bravery and spirit.

10. The ANZACs were all-volunteer soldiers, there was no conscription. Many men didn't think about or know war but saw it as courageous and brave to fight for your country.

11. Two-up is a traditional gambling game only allowed to be played on ANZAC day through pubs and clubs in Australia. It was played extensively by the Australian soldiers during World War 1.

12. There is no actual town called Gallipoli. It is the name of the Peninsula where the ANZACs ( New Zealand & Australian soldiers) and Allied soldiers fought.

13. The 25th April was officially named 'ANZAC Day' in 1916 but the first dawn service was not held until 1923.

14. The last surviving Anzac was an Australian man named Alec Campbell who died at the age of 103 on the 16th May 2002.

15. The Gallipoli campaign ended in a stalemate when the ANZACs slipped away quietly over two nights.

16. 10% of ANZAC soldiers died at Gallipoli Peninsula, with most ( 87%) dying in Belgium and France against the German Empire in 1916-1918 during WW1.


NZ History Interactive Graph on the Casualties of the Gallipoli Campaign: Click here 

NZ History About the Day: Click here

15 Amazing Quality Photos of the ANZACs at Gallipoli: Click here 

Featured Articles


Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published