Luck of the draw takes family back to the battlefields

ATTENDING the dawn service at Gallipoli has been a lifelong dream for Jude Murfitt.

Jude Murfitt with her mother Verna Regan, who holds a photograph of her father Bill Robins who served on the Western Front in WWI.

Jude Murfitt with her mother Verna Regan, who holds a photograph of her father Bill Robins who served on the Western Front in WWI.

The Camperdown woman declared in 1989 that she would be at the 100-year anniversary in 2015.

Last week she learnt she was successful in the national ticket ballot to attend the 2015 Anzac Day ceremony in Turkey.

Ms Murfitt received two tickets and will take her mother, Verna Regan, to mark one of the most defining moments in Australia’s military history.

They qualified as direct descendants of Gallipoli veterans.

“I had three great-uncles that fought at Gallipoli on my dad’s side. One didn’t come home,” said Ms Murfitt, who also has  another WWI link. 

“My grandfather enlisted in 1916. He fought on the Western Front. He came back and had four children, but he never spoke about the war.

“My mum used to say ‘Judith told me in 1989 that she was going to the 100-year anniversary.’ That was 24 years ago,” she said.

“I won the ballot tickets and my mother and I are going. It’s a bit like winning Tattslotto.”

The former Labor government and the New Zealand government initiated the ballot process following advice from the Turkish government that they had capped attendance at 10,500 people.

About 42,500 people applied for ballot tickets with only 8000 available for the Australian general public.

Ms Murfitt was one of 4000 people drawn in the ballot and received two tickets to attend the dawn service at the Anzac commemorative site and the Australian memorial service at Lone Pine.

Ms Murfitt said she applied in November last year.

“I’ve had an interest in war history since I was in year 12 in 1989,” she said.

“It’s just a real of interest of mine. In year 12 we studied a book called Fly Away Peter. It was fiction about World War I.”

Ms Murfitt and her mother will also travel to Europe, visiting France and Belgium. They are looking forward to the service.

“We are very excited,” she said.

“There is lots to organise. We will leave around April 17 and spend a couple of weeks away. Mum is 78 and she is really humbled and overwhelmed. She will be emotional when we get to the Western Front.”

Ms Murfitt has attended dawn services in Camperdown since her high school days.

“Our year 12 English teacher got us to go to the dawn service and I’ve been going ever since.

“It’s a real honour to be there after 100 years and pay our respects to people that went to fight for what they believed in.

“Just being there will be an experience. There will be such an atmosphere with so many other Australians. It will be very emotional.”


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