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Jan 27, 2015

ANZAC 100: A very special Qantas flight

An Australian Government, Qantas collaboration announced today to provide support for ANZAC Centenary activities marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings includes a v

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

George Lambert's ANZAC the landing 1915

An Australian Government, Qantas collaboration announced today to provide support for ANZAC Centenary activities marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings includes a very special set of flights.

Qantas flight QF100, operated by one of its now almost historic 747-400s, will provide free flights to and from Turkey for up to 35 widows of Australian First World War veterans who will be attending the remembrance of those landings at  Anzac Cove.

The widows, aged on their 70s to 90s, married of course, well after the diggers returned.  Their journey will be a poignant link to the survivors of Gallipoli and other World War I battles, as the old men, the heroes that grew ever older in our times, have now all passed away.

Arrangements are being made to assess fitness for travel and provide all of the personal assistance that will make this such a fitting occasion for those who are able to participate.

Qantas has a strong connection to Gallipoli where two of its founders served, Sir William Hudson Fysh KBE DFC (1894 – 1974) and Paul McGinness DFC DCM (1896-1952).

Fysh is on the left in this rare photo of both men in uniform below.

Qantas group CEO Alan Joyce said “Qantas is proud to be working with the Australian Government and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the Centenary of ANZAC events.

“We are honoured to be carrying war widows and their carers to Turkey so they can attend commemorative services at Gallipoli.

“Two of Qantas’ founders, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh both served with distinction in the First World War and today, their legacies remain strong as do our ties with the services of the Australian Defence Forces.”

More details can be found here.

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7 thoughts on “ANZAC 100: A very special Qantas flight

  1. comet

    I’d like to see the closest decedents of the Aboriginal WWI servicemen to be given free travel to Turkey.

    There were around 1000 Indigenous Australian servicemen in WWI. Hundreds at Gallipoli.

    Those that returned home were forbidden from marching in the annual Anzac Day parades, and were not given a parcel of land (white Australian servicemen were given land). They were not celebrated because they were Aboriginal.

    Qantas cashes in on Aboriginal themes to attract tourists… The Spirit of Australia advertising campaign, even painting two Boeing 747 aircraft in Aboriginal designs.

    I ask Qantas to consider this gesture, to fly the closest descendants to Turkey. It would bring some recognition to the Aboriginal efforts in WWI, help rectify the past, and bring Qantas good publicity.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz

    Of course Turkey isnt having any pushback for their illegal invasion of neighbouring country Cyprus.

    The circumstances are surprisingly similar to Putins invasion of Crimea, a group related by language and culture, a previous connection with an empire which ruled far and wide.
    Except one country go away with its invasion while another has been punished.
    Will Abbott and Bishop ( what a strange coincidence of names) be talking up breaking of another nations sovereignty by Turkey or how great they are ?

  3. Dan Dair

    There is a subtle difference between Crimea & Cyprus in that the Turks didn’t take control of the whole island. (Though that may have been their original plan.?)

    They took control of the North, citing discrimination against ethnic Turks by the mainly ethnic Greek population & suggestion an ‘official’ collaboration with that attitude.?

    As far as I know the British army is still in place as a UN peacekeeping force 30+ years on.???

  4. Dan Dair

    “I’d like to see the closest decedents of the Aboriginal WWI servicemen to be given free travel to Turkey”

    Good call.!
    Perhaps the airline could take this on & allow the Aboriginal decedents to share this opportunity with ‘white’ compatriots & show the nations equal pride in their sacrifice.?

  5. ghostwhowalksnz

    Dan , doesnt change a thing. happy with part of another country ? Thats a head slap answer.
    The British have long standing bases in Cyprus, but Australia has some police officers. Come on Tony, speak up for the small guy and tell the Turks the centenary is off! ( after all it was a failure back then, no wonder the Turks play it up)

  6. pieter

    So, will this be the first commercial flight between Australia and Europe as well?

  7. comet

    Seriously, Qantas.

    Take a contingent of descendants of WWI Aboriginal ‘diggers’ to ANZAC Cove.

    It’s because the original veterans and their families were denied recognition that the trip to Turkey should go to their nearest surviving relatives.

    Qantas, you’ve talked the talk, having used Aboriginality in your promotions. Now it’s time to walk the walk.

    It would actually make a difference to all Aboriginal Australians, as the mainstream Australian culture regards sacrifice at ANZAC Cove as one of the most honourable actions possible.

    You can’t celebrate Gallipoli with any honour if you don’t include the Aboriginal people. The R.S.L. should also help, to pay something back after banning Aboriginal returned servicemen from entering its clubs and bars for so many decades.

    We know from other threads that Qantas PR people are active readers of Plane Talking. So, to Olivia and colleagues, please get the ball rolling – put this into action.

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