Duke of Edinburgh leads commemoration of Australia and New Zealand’s war dead

The Duke of Edinburgh has led the nation in commemorating Australia and New Zealand’s war losses during a poignant dawn service marking Anzac Day.

Edward laid a wreath at Hyde Park Corner in London, which is home to war memorials for both southern hemisphere countries.

Hundreds of Australians, New Zealanders, and military personnel watched as the duke left a floral tribute of red poppies and white flowers in the early morning light.

The royal family also paid their respects to the New Zealand and Australian fallen on social media.

Later on today, Edward will lay an Anzac wreath on behalf of the King at the Cenotaph.

He will also attend the annual Gallipoli Association wreath-laying ceremony in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Anzac Day, April 25, marks the anniversary of the start of the First World War Gallipoli landings and is a national day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand.

The Duke of Edinburgh lays a wreath at Hyde Park Corner in London
The Duke of Edinburgh lays a wreath at Hyde Park Corner in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Thousands of Anzac troops, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, died alongside British allies in the ill-fated 1915 campaign.

Waves of Allied forces launched an amphibious attack on the strategically important Turkish peninsula, vital to controlling the Dardanelles straits and the crucial route to the Black Sea and Russia.

However, the plan backed by Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, was flawed, and the campaign, which faced a heroic defence by the Turks, led to a stalemate and withdrawal eight months later.

Its legacy is the celebration of the “Anzac spirit”, courage, endurance, initiative, discipline, and mateship shown by the Antipodean troops.

Today, the Anzac Day service in London has become an important moment for thousands of New Zealanders and Australians.