The Gallipoli 100: A Scots boy’s journey to re-visit his proud past

On Tuesday 14 April a group of students and parents from The Scots College will travel to Turkey to take part in a surfboat race to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli by the Anzacs. A once-in-a-life-time opportunity, the trip will link Lachlan Hird, whose great great uncle served in the Gallipoli Campaign with the tenth Light Horse Regiment, to his proud past.

Lachlan, who is eager to honour his family's memories, said: "My ancestor, Sir Horace Robertson, took part in an historical event which built the character of our nation. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to trace his footsteps."

The two-day race will take the surfboats, representing the original long boats used in WWI, from Eceabat; the closest town to the Gallipoli battlefields; to Brighton Beach near Anzac Cove. The surfboats will arrive at Brighton Beach at the same time on Wednesday 22 April, honouring the many lost lives of our Anzac ancestors.

Mrs Sarah Hird, Lachlan's mother, said, "We thought this trip would really resonate with Lachlan for three reasons; being actively involved in Rowing, being a young man the same age as many of the soldiers that went to Gallipoli and most importantly tracing the footsteps of Sir Horace."

In recognition of his service during WWI, WWII and the Korean War, Lachlan's ancestor Lieutenant General Sir Horace Robertson KBE, DS was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1954. Sir Horace was a key figure in establishing the Australian Armoured Corps with the Darwin headquarters, 'Robertson Barracks', named in his honour.

With a family history embedded in the services, Mr Bruce John Grey Robertson OAM, the grandfather of Lachlan, handed over Sir Horace's war medals to the Robertson Barracks in May 2013. At the handover ceremony,
Mr Robertson said to the younger generations of the family: "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your relations and everyone of you has a little bit of the DNA that went with General Sir Horace Robertson."

In his speech Mr Robertson also said: "If you say Navy! … why didn't you join the Army? I can only give one answer … I'm a Robertson." Mrs Hird further echoed his sentiments referring to the pressure one might feel joining the ranks in the shadow of such an accomplished family member, "(Joining) the Navy seemed like a safer option."

On Wednesday 15 October 2014, Mrs Hird and her son attended The Scots College History Society World War I Q&A Evening and met Mr John Ryrie, an Old Boy from The Scots College ('42) whose cousin was Sir Horace's Commanding Officer in the Light Horse at Gallipoli. "I wanted Lachlan to go and meet a gentleman who was connected to his great great uncle."

Entry to the Anzac Day commemorative services at Gallipoli in 2015 is only granted through the Australian or New Zealand ballot. Lachlan and his sister have been allocated a pass through the ballot.