St John’s were fortunate to receive a Lone Pine seedling from the Armidale RSL Sub-Branch in 2015. This tree has been grown from seeds collected from an Aleppo pine found at the site of one of Gallipoli’s most famous battles. Some pinecones from the ridge were brought back to Australia and thousands of pine trees now grow in Australia propagated from the Gallipoli cones. One tree raised from the seed now grows in the Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli.
Approximately 910 Australians died at Lone Pine, 6-9 August 1915.
One of the most famous assaults of the Gallipoli campaign, the Battle of Lone Pine was originally intended as a diversion from attempts by New Zealand and Australian units to force a breakout from the ANZAC perimeter on the heights of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971. The Lone Pine attack, launched by the 1st Brigade AIF in the late afternoon of 6 August 1915 pitched Australian forces against formidable entrenched Turkish positions, sections of which were securely roofed over with pine logs. In some instances the attackers had to break in through the roof of the trench systems in order to engage the defenders. The main Turkish trench was taken within 20 minutes of the initial charge but this was the prelude to 4 days of intense hand-to-hand fighting, resulting in over 2,000 Australian casualties. (www.awm.gov.au)
This year 11 November marks the 98th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.
St John’s will mark the occasion with the planting of our Lone Pine in the Junior School playground. Our Year 6 students have offered to purchase a commemorative plaque as a gift to the school.
We are very thankful for the generosity of our students and the sacrifices of our Armed Services.