Button a window to life on Gallipoli battlefields

Greg Paterson and his set of limited edition medallions won in the Sands of Gallipoli competition.

Greg Paterson and his set of limited edition medallions won in the Sands of Gallipoli competition.

Walking the battlefields of Gallipoli a number of years ago has inspired the winner of this year's Sands of Gallipoli competition to write about it.

Greg Paterson, of Ararat, has won the Sands of Gallipoli medallions and special edition diary this year with his account of a visit to Turkey and the battlefields of Gallipoli.

Following is his account of his visit to Turkey:

Whilst walking the Gallipoli battlefield several years ago, I was taken by the sheer ruggedness of the landscape. It was easy to see that just living there, to survive off such hard land would be a battle. Then my mind turned to the war itself, how could men endure surroundings like this for eight months. To live and fight there, is testament alone, that they were a special breed; young, resourceful, determined, brave.

Johnson's Jolly was a forward section of trench line occupied by the Australians. My eye caught sight of a small green coated object on top of the soil. It was a bronze shirt button, which had been there for 92 years. The world 'Commonwealth' was visible. The mind rushes, whose shirt was it? Was he a Victorian? Was he from Ararat or Stawell? Questions never to be answered, but one thing is certain, he was an Australian. A son of a new and proud country that is thankful for his service and for all the others that have served.

I can only pray that the owner of the button made it home and lived a long and happy life. The button did and is testimony to the strength, endurance and tradition of the Anzac spirit.

Greg Paterson

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