Anzac Day 2021: what is the Australasian day of remembrance for - and when does it take place?

Marking the anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli landings, Anzac Day is a day for remembrance in Australia and New Zealand

The Scots College Pipe band performs during an ANZAC Day ceremony ahead of the round seven NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on April 25, 2021, in Sydney, Australia.

April 25 marks Anzac Day for 2021 - a day of remembrance for New Zealand and Australia.

Across both countries, commemorative services and acts of remembrance will be taking place throughout the day.

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What is Anzac Day?

Anzac day is a broad day of remembrance commemorating all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations, recognising their sacrifices and suffering.

Observed on April 25 annually, the date was originally chosen to honour those Australians and New Zealanders who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War.

‘Anzac’ stands for the ‘Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’ who served in the Gallipoli Campaign.

What was the Gallipoli Campaign?

The Gallipoli Campaign was an attempt by the Allies to allow their ships to pass through the Turkish Dardanelles Strait, capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) and knock Ottomon Turkey out of the First World War.

Separate landings were made by the Anzacs, British and French troops on April 25 1915, though they were quickly contained by Ottomon troops, rendering the Allies unable to advance further.

Mirroring trench warfare on the western front, trench fighting quickly broke out, with heavy losses suffered on both sides.

The hot summer weather also made conditions particularly unbearable, causing mass sickness and rendering food inedible fast.

In spite of fresh attempts at attack by the Allies, the campaign ultimately failed and troops were forced to evacuate.

How is the day being marked in New Zealand and Australia?

Usually at dawn each year, people in Australia and New Zealand honour their fallen servicemen and women with a service.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of commemorative services in New Zealand.

This year, however, people have been permitted to gather once again to remember the fallen, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attending and speaking at New Zealand’s largest service at the Auckland War Museum Memorial in Auckland Domain.

Similarly, Australians were once again permitted to gather for Anzac Day, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison reflecting on “another chapter coming to a close” as Australia prepares to withdraw its final troops from Afghanistan.

“This Anzac Day another chapter in our history is coming to a close, with the announcement last week of our departure and that of our great friend and ally the United States from Afghanistan,” Morrison said.

Will the day be marked in the UK?

In the UK, Anzac commemorative services usually mirror those in New Zealand and Australia.

This year, however, celebrations have largely been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, with representatives from various countries laying wreaths in smaller ceremonies.

Some online services have also been held to commemorate the day.

Royal Family members, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have also marked the day, with Prince William paying tribute to the “indomitable spirit” and “courage” of Australian and New Zealand forces.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also marked the day with a tweet reading:

“Today we pay our respects to the ANZACs who fought at Gallipoli, and remember all those who have fought with courage so that we may live in peace today. Their bravery, fortitude & spirit of mateship live on. They will not be forgotten. #AnzacDay2021”.