Kiwi priest gives up tickets for Gallipoli centenary

A priest whose father was a Gallipoli veteran has given up the opportunity to attend the centenary celebrations in Turkey.

Fr David Mullins, SM, was selected for a double pass in the New Zealand Gallipoli ballot last year.

There were 9851 applicants, and only 950 double passes were issued.

But Stuff reported that the retired Fr Mullins, 84, had to withdraw from the trip to Turkey for health reasons.

Instead he will spend Anzac Day morning in his west Auckland home and will possibly attend a service later in the day.

“I will take some quiet time for myself on Anzac morning contemplating the atrocities of war, the uselessness of war and the inability of society to accept that war and friction can be overcome if people get rid of their greed,” he said.

The priest’s father, Jack Mullins, was wounded on the first day of the Gallipoli landings.

He was to be wounded again at Gallipoli, and was later struck in the head with shrapnel at the battle of the Somme.

But he survived and returned to New Zealand.

Fr Mullins said the battle at Gallipoli was “callous”.

“It was a disaster.”

His father did not talk much about the war but he wrote stories about what happened on the ship and during the first day of battle – stories Fr Mullins has turned into a book.

Fr Mullins said he admired the many people who attended Anzac Day dawn services around New Zealand.

“Now for me, in my state of life, I prefer a bit more contemplation than ritual, fanfare and bugles.”

Having worked in Tonga, Fr Mullins said Pacific nations set good examples of how to avoid conflict.


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