VISITOR COMMENTS[toggle_content title=”John Richard Price MBE – 15th February 2006 (click to open)”] [blockquote]I have known Ilhami for twelve years having first met him in 1994, when I was posted to Turkey as Local Superintendent of War Cemeteries and Memorials in Turkey and Cyprus for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.During the seven years that I lived in Turkey I met Ilhami on a regular basis as he lead battlefield tours on the Gallipoli Peninsular. Ilhami is a “Guide” in name but he is so much more than that.Nothing is ever too much for him. He goes out of his way to make sure that the “Back Packers” are looked after from the moment that they arrive in Turkey until they leave. There have been many instances of lost Passports, missed buses, flights etc, when Ilhami has stepped in to help and has driven through the night to Istanbul and elsewhere to help rescue people. I have always found Ilhami to be honest, polite, and totally reliable, he is a shining example to his own country and also a great Ambassador for all things Australian.During my time in Turkey with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Ilhami was the only person I could trust with copies of the cemetery registers. He was then able to take people to visit family graves etc as a voluntary addition to his tours. In 1998 Ilhami started a simple ceremony of remembrance on the beach in Anzac Cove to mark the 11th November.This had never been done before and was just another example of his willingness to give that little bit extra.Over the years I was asked from time to time to arrange battlefield tours. Ilhami was the one person that I could trust to assist, in particular with regard to security issues. He has stood in as a guide, translator and even supplied and driven the mini-bus for a range of VIP’s. These included HRH Prince Andrew, the Australian Minister of Veterans Affairs, Dame Kiri TeKanawa and various members of Parliament from Australia, New Zealand and the UK.In conclusion I have to say that I cannot speak too highly of Ilhami. I am also sure that there are by now thousands of backpackers who will feel the same.
John Richard Price MBE
15th February 2006[blockquote]
[toggle_content title=”William (Bill) D Watson – 7 February 2006 (click to open)”]
[blockquote]I am the grandson of Stanley Holm Watson, CBE, DSO, MC, ED (1887 – 1985). Stan landed on Anzac Cove early on the morning of 25th April 1915 and he was the second last man to leave that Cove, followed only by the Beach-master. On landing he had the hazardous task of establishing and maintaining the various telephone systems in the face of heavy bombardment. Once they had been triplicated, he built Watson’s Pier, the first of a number of more serviceable piers. It was under enemy artillery observation from Gabe Tepe and its neighbours and was one of the most heavily shelled piers in the history of the war. His steadfastness in danger led to his appointment to control the signals net covering that highly successful withdrawal. For his services at Anzac he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle of Serbia.
It was in retracing my grandfathers footsteps over ten years ago, especially those related to his time on the Gallipoli peninsula, that my family and I first met TJ and his wife Bernina, with an introduction through a mutual friend. At the time TJ was researching the history of the Anzacs at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra while on his annual visits to Australia to catch up with his wife’s family in Corowa (with whom they have strong ties). We were impressed by TJs professionalism and genuineness and were only too happy to share some time and provide him with some of my grandfather’s history and memorabilia.
We managed to keep in touch with both TJ and Bernina over the years and then in 2005 I was invited to be the guest speaker at the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Engineering Corp Waterloo Dinner, which was held for the first time since 1915 at Cannakkale in Turkey and included a tour of Anzac Cove and the Gallipoli peninsula. This provided us with the opportunity to catch up with TJ and Bernina and also to witness TJs professionalism and service in practice.
TJ and Bernina provided us with all the necessary background information to plan our visit and helped us to develop our itinerary. This included the opportunity to stay at their new hotel in Eceabat and to see TJ and Bernina “on the job”. In addition to witnessing the five star service, we met and shared with a number of TJ’s clients who had participated in one or another aspects of TJ’s Tour service. All without exception, treated TJ with the highest respect and clearly valued their experience. TJ made a significant contribution to the success of our visit to the Gallipoli peninsula and Anzac Cove.
Subsequently, we have met a number of friends who coincidentally had also benefited from TJ’s Tours and with all he was highly recommended. In particular, one could ask for no higher recommendation of TJ’s Tours than that provided by Tony Wright in his comprehensive book on the Anzac experience “Turn right at Istanbul – A walk on the Gallipoli peninsula”.
William (Bill) D Watson
7 February 2006[blockquote] [/toggle_content]