The 1936 ANZAC
stamps were the first New
Zealand stamps to commemorate the Gallipoli campaign. In 1958 the New
Zealand Returned Services Association suggested that the Post Office issue
stamps to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the landing of Anzac
troops on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey on the 25th of April 1915.
Both stamps in this issue show Anzac Cove where the troops
The plan had been to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul),
however the landing troops had to fight their way up steep cliffs against
heavy opposition which was waiting for them. Throughout the campaign,
Anzac Cove was within a kilometre of the front-line and was well within
the range of Turkish artillery.
Over two thousand New Zealand
soldiers died during the campaign and close to five thousand were wounded.
After several months the campaign was abandoned and the overnight
evacuation of all remaining troops without a single fatality was the one
bright note to the tragic campaign which quickly became a symbol of New
Zealand and Australia's war losses.
Both New Zealand and
Australia have a national holiday (Anzac day) on the 25th of April to
remember those troops who died at Gallipoli and in active service since
then. On Anzac Day in 1985, the name "Anzac Cove" was officially
recognised by the Turkish government and the memorial there is a sombre
reminder of the thousands of lost soldiers:
"Those heroes that
shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a
friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between
the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this
country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away
countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and
are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our
sons as well."
Two different ANZAC first day cover envelopes
were issued featuring a green and red or blue and red design as shown.