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We have teamed up with Devon County Council to develop, support and co-ordinate community based projects across Devon & Torbay commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The project Devon Remembers project brings together commemorative activities that are at the heart of the community.

Aims

Our project Devon Remembers in Torbay aims to:

  • Recognise and pay tribute to the sacrifice and contribution that the people of Devon made during and after the First World War
  • Bring communities together to discover stories about their past and forge new relationships for the future
  • Create a legacy collection of images, objects and documents contributing to the national archive
  • Help the younger generation to find out about and understand the experiences of the conflict and the impact that it had on their community
  • Assist communities to help themselves by signposting resources and funding opportunities available to them

Background

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. 8,709 Australian soliders and 2,721 from New Zealand had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.