A SERVICE to commemorate the lives of Antipodean troops lost during a First World War campaign will take place in Milford Haven on Sunday (April 23).
One of Australia’s most important national occasions, Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
On April 25, 1915, the Anzacs – troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - took part in an Allied expedition to capture the Gallipoli peninsula.
What had been planned as a deft campaign ended up dragging out for eight months, as soldiers came up against fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.
There were heavy casualties, not only from the fighting, but from the extremely unsanitary conditions, which included intense heat, swarms of flies, body lice and lack of water - resulting in Gallipoli being known as one of the worst fighting fronts of the First World War.
In addition to the 21,000 British and Irish dead, more than 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed before troops were evacuated in January 1916.
The loss left a powerful legacy, and Anzac Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the 60,000 Australians who had died during the war.
A service this Sunday will remember those who lost their lives, as well as commemorating Milford Haven's own links with Australia.
In July 1942, five Australian airmen and one Englishman were killed when the Wellington bomber they were flying crashed into the banks of the Haven, exploded and burst into flames.
The crew had been on a training flight from RAF Lichfield, in Staffordshire, but got into difficulty in the early hours of the morning.
On surveying the damage, it became clear how close to the people of Milford Haven had come to an even greater disaster.
Just a few feet further up and the plane would have crashed in Hamilton Terrace.
A bronze memorial plaque was placed near the crash site in 1986.
The service will take place at noon, and will be led by Steve Traynar, and Father Harri Williams.
Also in attendance, and representing the Australian Army, will be Christopher Plesjkun.
It is organised by the town's Royal British Legion branch, and all are invited to come and pay their respects.