Jamie Simpson was named after his old "Pappy" who died just months after he came into the world.

But Mr Simpson grew up with family stories of his great-grandfather James Lohoar, who 100 years ago answered the call from King and Country to travel to the other side of the world to fight the Turks at Gallipoli.

The 21-year-old soldier with the Wellington Mounted Rifles survived the horrors of the ill-fated First World War stand-off that killed 2779 New Zealanders; he was discharged with malaria.

Now, a century on, his 35-year-old great-grandson, an insurance broker in Christchurch, will follow in his footsteps for the centenary commemorations at Gallipoli this Anzac Day.

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"It's hard to know what to expect, having not been there before ... but just to be there, to be part of history, is pretty amazing," said Mr Simpson, who won a place for himself and his younger brother Luke at the numbers-restricted event through a ballot system.

Mr Simpson, a keen history buff, jumped at the chance to make the pilgrimage. He wants to see the place which has become so steeped in New Zealand history, folklore and tradition, and get a feel for what it must have been like for his Pappy, who was born in 1893 in Loburn, North Canterbury.

The wider story of Gallipoli and its place in history is just as interesting to Mr Simpson as finding out more about his great-grandfather's war.

"Going on the boat, going over there, not knowing what to expect, and seeing death ... it must have been surreal. But it became a part of them in the end," Mr Simpson said.

"Many New Zealanders lost their lives there. My great-grandfather was one of the fortunate ones.

"Gallipoli, to me, is about honouring those men and women who have gone before us ... but understanding why it had to happen ... and in some ways making sure the descendants of those people never have to go through the same sorts of pressure to protect the country and the freedom they love."