'The wonders of Turkey prove interesting and moving'
Column by Courtney Finn, chairman of Grantham Civic Society
Just got back from a week visiting Turkey.
We went to Ephesus where findings date back to 5,000 BC with the buildings of many different civilisations including the biggest theatre in Asia Minor built by the Romans to take 24,000 people near to one of the original wonders of the world the Temple of Artemis.
Then on to Troy, a city of mythology and archaeology where wooden horses abound and at least 10 cities were built one on top of the next from about 2920 BC to the 12 th and 13th centuries AD of the Byzantine era.
The story of the Wooden Horse was told by Homer in the Iliad 2,700 years ago when the horse is taken into Troy by the unsuspecting Trojans. Unfortunately it was full of Achaean soldiers who burst out signalling their ships nearby.
The result was the defeat and destruction of Troy. It is a great story but apparently a myth, but it does assist the tourist industry these days with a huge wooden horse to climb into and little ones to buy in the tourist shops.
We had a long coach drive to reach the Gallipoli Peninsula on the Dardanelles coast where the battles of 1915 took place between the Turkish army led by Mustafa Kemal which defeated the allies after the disastrous landings at places like Anzac Cove and Cape Helles.
The Anzac forces of New Zealand and Australia suffered huge casualties. Our Grantham man, Walter Parker was awarded the Victoria Cross for extreme courage in rescuing wounded fellow soldiers on the night of April 30/May 1, 1915.
We have a Blue plaque in Agnes Street and Walter is also commemorated by a stone on the war memorial in St Wulfram’s churchyard.
The cemeteries at Gallipoli are carefully tended and the experience of visiting is very moving. We saw the monument inscribed by Kemal Ataturk in 1934.
“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 to us 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.
After having lost their lives on this land
They have become our sons as well.”