FREMANTLE legend Len Hall looms large in an exhibition by Turkish/Australian photographer Vedat Acikalin that was decades in the making.
Acikalin’s Gallipoli—Then and Now: Bonds Forged by War commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, focussing on the bonds forged between Anzacs and Turks and friendships between their families.
Hall (1897-1999) was the last WA-born Gallipoli veteran. A machine gunner, he was in the charge on Turkish trenches at the Nek, which saw 375 of the 600 attackers die. Hall survived to go on to ride alongside Lawrence of Arabia in the 1918 attack on Damascus. He’s remembered by the Dockers every Anzac Day with a Len Hall tribute game.
In 1990, when veterans travelled to Gallipoli for the 75th anniversary, Acikalin photographed Hall meeting Turkish veteran Adil Sahin. They’d faced each other on the battlefield as teenagers.
“Once enemies, these men now walked together as friends, visiting the trenches and pausing at the graves of their mates, sometimes shedding tears, sometimes laughing, as they shared their stories with one another,” he says.
The exhibition was opened by Althea McTaggart, whose father—highly decorated major general Edmund Drake-Brockman—and three uncles Geoffrey, Allan and Karl all served.
The exhibition is at the Osborne Park RSL Memorial Hall until Saturday, October 17.
by DAVID BELL