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.

Take a few minutes to listen to  And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

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