To mark the occasion, the Russian Ambassador to Australia, Vladimir N. Morozov (left) decorated several Russian WW2 veterans, now living in Australia. But as he pinned medals on their chests, he himself may not have been aware of an even more relevant conjunction of events. 100 years earlier, a large number of Russian Anzacs had also landed on the beaches of Gallipoli. They had enlisted in the Australian army!
It is often forgotten that one of the reasons for the Gallipoli campaign, which has become so important in Australia’s history, was to relieve pressure on the Russian forces fighting on the Caucuses front. It is also forgotten that nearly 1000 former citizens of the Russian Empire joined that first ANZAC force; the largest non-Anglo/Celtic group to enlist. So 100 years later, it was most fitting that the SBO was asked to help Russia commemorate a shared experience.
Sadly some Russian Anzacs never returned from Gallipoli. A number of SBO members also lost relatives on those dreadful beaches. EG the SBO’s bass domra player, Patrick O’Neill also had 2 relatives lost on Gallipoli’s beaches. This memorial (right) near the shrine of remembrance in Melbourne pays tribute to those Russian Anzacs. This evening was indeed a shared commemoration.