New Zealand Post continues to remember and honour those who served the First World War with its second addition to the their stamp and coin programme, titled 1915 The Spirit of Anzac.
In 1915 New Zealand’s role in the First World War reached a new level. In near-impossible conditions, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force took part in the Gallipoli campaign alongside our Australian neighbours. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was formed and the spirit of Anzac lives on today.
First observed in 1916 and commemorated as an official day of remembrance in 1921, Anzac Day commemorates the landing of the troops at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. A century on, a new generation reflects on the events that occurred at Gallipoli, and remembers all New Zealanders who have served their country during times of conflict and peace.
The intention of the Gallipoli campaign was to open the Dardanelles strait to the Allied fleets, giving them access to the Ottoman capital of Constantinople to possibly force a Turkish surrender. After nine months of conflict, the ultimately unsuccessful campaign came to an end and the peninsula remained in its defenders’ hands.
The effects the Gallipoli campaign had on New Zealand and Australia were devastating. More than 8,700 Australians and more than 2,700 New Zealanders lost their lives fighting for King and Empire in this ambitious campaign. It was through this hardship that the Anzac spirit was born, a comradeship felt and remembered to this day with the annual observance of Anzac Day - 25 April.
The second issue in this special five-year stamp and coin programme, 1915 The Spirit of Anzac told the story of New Zealand’s role in the First World War. Through the Anzac theme, we look at the tale of Evelyn Brooke, a nursing matron from New Plymouth. Evelyn was one of more than 500 nurses from New Zealand who served overseas during the war, and the only New Zealand nurse to be awarded the Royal Red Cross and Bar for her services.
When the Gallipoli campaign was being planned, few foresaw the need to provide hospital ships for the treatment and evacuation of the wounded. In July 1915, as casualties mounted, the Maheno left Wellington for Egypt, with a matron, 13 nursing sisters, five medical officers and 61 orderlies among the personnel on board.
The stamps in this special issue were complemented by the sheetlet, two miniature sheets, first day cover and two miniature sheet first day covers.