WEST Nowra woman Margaret Vandenberg will be among the Australian contingent to attend the centenary commemorations at Gallipoli next year.
Mrs Vandenberg’s name was drawn out of the government’s ballot. She got two tickets for what is sure to be a moving service.
She will take her youngest son Lachlan, 16, and will be among the 8000 Australians to attend the service.
Mrs Vandenberg’s grandfather Patrick Bede Moore fought in WWI and WWII, while her late husband, Chief Petty Officer Kane Vandenberg, 46, died during the Defence Mountain Bike Championship at Mt Stromlo in October last year.
Last month he became the first of his generation to receive the Graywood Medal, designed and developed by the Korean War Veterans’ Association to recognise personnel who have been injured, wounded or given their lives in service of Australia.
“It is exciting to be drawn out in the ballot and at the same time an honour,” Mrs Vandenberg said.
“I applied last November and I think it was meant to be.
“I just thought I would apply and give it a go. I did jokingly say that if I applied I would probably be successful.
“And here we are.
“There were only 1258 tickets available in NSW.
“I believe Kane is watching over my shoulder.
“Lachlan wants to join the army and he is really into history, so he will get a huge amount out of the trip as well.”
She said the couple attended their first dawn service together in Canberra last year prior to her husband’s death.
“We promised we would do dawn services together every year after that,” she said.
“This year I will be joined by our sons Joshua, Hayden and Lachlan for the dawn service at Martins Place in Sydney.”
Mrs Vandenberg’s grandfather was one of 18 children and one of six brothers who all fought in World War I.
“Incredibly all of them made it home safely,” she said.
“My grandfather didn’t fight at Gallipoli, he was in France at the Battle of the Somme.
“I’m in the process of getting his medals made up, I have Kane’s and will get his father’s as well and wear them all at Gallipoli.”
THE capacity of the Anzac commemorative site is 10,500 people and in 2015, this will comprise places for 8000 Australians, 2000 New Zealanders and 500 official representatives of countries involved in the Gallipoli campaign, including some 250 representatives of the host nation, Turkey.
A total of 400 double passes were reserved for direct descendants of Australians and New Zealanders who served in the Gallipoli campaign; another 400 double passes were reserved for veterans who served in the Australian Defence Force and have qualifying services or have deployed on any operations outside of Australia, whether they are warlike, non-warlike or peacetime operations; as well as 3000 double passes for applicants in the general category of the ballot.
Outside of the ballot, 400 individual passes will be available to secondary school students, with these passes allocated and managed by the state and territory governments.