The Gallipoli campaign aimed to secure a naval route from the Mediterranean Sea to Istanbul through the Dardanelles, and knock the Ottomans out of the war. The April 25, 1915, landings marked the start of a fierce battle that lasted for eight months. More than 44,000 Allied soldiers and 86,000 Ottoman soldiers died.

Travelers from Australia and New Zealand joined Turkish and other nations’ dignitaries at the former World War I battlefields at Gallipoli for a solemn service at dawn Monday to remember troops killed during an unsuccessful British-led campaign that aimed to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

As the sun rose, participants held a minute of silence to reflect on the sacrifices of tens of thousands of soldiers from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, known as Anzacs, who landed on the beaches at Gallipoli, in northwest Turkey.

“At this time 107 years ago, on ships that covered the ocean off this tiny bay, thousands of Australians and New Zealanders were preparing to land on this rugged coast,” New Zealand army chief, Maj. Gen. John Boswell, said during the ceremony. “For all but a few, this was to be the first experience of the horrors of combat.”

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