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Who Were The Anzacs? A Short Explainer

Updated: May 30

Anzac re-enactment

The Formation of the ANZACs

The Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was a military corps originally formed in Egypt, in 1915—during the First World War. Although it had originally been called the Australasian Army Corps, protests from New Zealand over the omission of its name led to it being re-named the ANZAC. Original training was done in Egypt and in April 1915 the ANZAC soldiers served in Gallipoli where within 8 months more than 11,000 of them were killed.

After Gallipoli ANZAC was split into two new corps. I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps (and yes, the word Corps is used twice). I ANZAC Corps consisted of the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions while II ANZAC Corps had the 4th and 4th. The New Zealand Division spent time in both. They went on to serve with distinction in Palestine and the Western Front. The term ANZAC (or Anzac) was used to describe the Australian and New Zealand army Corps who took part in the Gallipoli landings, the name was used throughout the rest of the war when referring to Australian or New Zealand troops. Originally Anzac also included some officers from Britain, Ireland, India, Israel, Ceylon and the Pacific islands.


The last surviving Anzac, Alec Campbell, died on May 16 2002. To this day, the Anzac Battle Group is an active Battle Group comprising Australian and New Zealand Units.


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