Flag flown at Quinn’s Post and signed by troops was hidden away in a drawer for years.

In 1915, a New Zealand flag flew high and proud at Quinn's Post, one of the most dangerous points on the Gallipoli battlefield. Just 15m away from the Turks' frontline, Quinn's Post was a key position for the Anzacs during the campaign.

The enemy overlooked the trenches at Quinn's and the men were under continual attack from infantry troops, snipers and grenades. Casualties were heavy at the position, set up on the day of the Anzac landing as a New Zealand machine gun post.

Private John Taylor of the Canterbury Battalion, the second Anzac unit to land at Gallipoli on April 25, brought the Quinn's Post flag with him when he returned home.

Signed by a number of his comrades, the flag is arguably one of the most important artefacts of Gallipoli.


However Mr Taylor did not initially think so.

The flag sat in a drawer in his Auckland home for many years and it was not until his daughter, Lovest Reynolds, chanced upon it that it became well known.

Lovest Reynolds. Photo / Jason Dorday
Lovest Reynolds. Photo / Jason Dorday

"My father brought the flag back from Gallipoli and it sat for all of my youth in a drawer in the scotch chest. Then one day we thought maybe it should be looked after, so we sent it to the museum at Waiouru," Mrs Reynolds told the Herald.

Mrs Reynolds' father wasn't the only one in the family to serve at Gallipoli. His two brothers and the husbands of his three sisters were also sent to the peninsula to fight for the Allies.

Unlike so many, Mr Taylor returned to New Zealand, married and had children. He died at home aged 84.

"My father never really talked about Gallipoli, except to say they had one boiled egg to share between four of them," Mrs Reynolds said.

"He had five years taken out of his life ... he was so lucky to come back; four of my uncles died over there.

"I think it was marvellous that my father died, for all he had been through, at home and comfortable in his own bed with me there with him."


Mr Taylor never bothered with Anzac Day, attending just one service at the cenotaph at Auckland War Memorial Museum when he was older.

Mrs Reynolds said her father was always disgruntled about the fuss that was made over Gallipoli in the years that followed World War I.

"He said when he died that there was no point in worrying about Gallipoli because at the time no one cared about them. They sent his Gallipoli medal out 60 years after the fact. He didn't value it at all. He said if it was worth giving it should have been given at the time."

Mrs Reynolds personally believes her father's efforts - and those of the thousands of other men who served - should be remembered.

"I think that it's good to remember it ... We should never forget the sacrifices those men made."

Defence Force rejects family's plan to fly historic flag

The family of John Taylor had hoped to return his flag to Gallipoli for the centenary, and fly it as a symbol of Anzac spirit. However the idea has been rejected by the New Zealand Defence Force.

"The flag was a powerful and poignant symbol of the Anzac spirit both then and now," said Robert Reynolds, who lives in Australia.

The flag was at the Waiouru Army Museum when Mr Reynolds made the initial proposal.

"The only issues raised by them [were] that the flag was obviously old and frail. The intention to fly it at Quinn's Post was then modified so that an exact replica would fly but in the presence of the original," he said.

"Somehow, the NZDF took this that the flag could not go and they denied all our ideas ... the project was scuttled by Wellington."

A Defence Force spokeswoman said the Waiouru report found the flag was not in a state to be flown and its historical significance outweighed any symbolic significance of flying it on the peninsula.

The proposal was also denied from a commemorative standpoint.

"It is simply not appropriate to fly what is essentially a battle flag at the commemorations of the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, especially given our close relationship with Turkey.

"Many Turks died trying to force the invading forces from Quinn's and other locations on the peninsula. They generously provide us with the opportunity to hold our national commemorations and fly our flag at agreed locations.

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War hero Willie Apiata attended the official opening of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington on Saturday.

The Victoria Cross winner was one of hundreds who attended the event, including Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

On Saturday, the park will be used to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings, starting with the Anzac Day Dawn Service at 5.30am.

Mr Apiata, a former corporal in the SAS, was awarded the VC in 2007 for carrying a wounded comrade to safety while under fire in Afghanistan. He is New Zealand's only living VC recipient.

The Dawn Service from Gallipoli will be screened live on big screens at 2.30pm on Anzac Day at the park, which has been under construction for the past two and a half years.