Two backpacking Kiwis killed making an early pilgrimage to Gallipoli have been remembered in a special tribute service.

Rosalind Webb and Jean Walker died in a car crash in 1965 just 3km from the Turkish grave site of Webb's grandfather Major David Grant, killed at Anzac Cove during the Gallipoli landings on April 25, 1915.

They had been on their overseas experience and been living and working in London when they made the trip to Gallipoli – long before it became a major bucket list destination for travelling New Zealanders.

Major David Grant was killed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. His granddaughter Rosalind Webb was killed in a car crash going to visit his grave 50 years later.
Major David Grant was killed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. His granddaughter Rosalind Webb was killed in a car crash going to visit his grave 50 years later.

The two tragedies – 50 years apart – had devastating impacts on the families.

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Ann Grant, wife of the 41-year-old butcher and father-of-five from Timaru in South Canterbury, never recovered from the death in 1915, her family say.

Now, all three have been remembered in a special memorial event at Chanak Consular Cemetery in Canakkale, across the Dardanelles from Gallipoli.

Matthew Buck, of the New Zealand Defence Force, at the grave of Rosalind Webb, at Chanak Consular Cemetery in Canakkale, Turkey. Photo / supplied
Matthew Buck, of the New Zealand Defence Force, at the grave of Rosalind Webb, at Chanak Consular Cemetery in Canakkale, Turkey. Photo / supplied

Matthew Buck, New Zealand Defence Force senior advisor for heritage, led Good Friday's service where Webb and Walker are buried.

He said Webb would've been the first member of her family to make it to Grant's grave.

Grant was a popular officer and commander of the 2nd (South Canterbury) company of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He was killed during the first wave on April 25, 1915 and later buried at Walker's Ridge Cemetery.

The grave, in Turkey, of Rosalind Webb, who died a car crash in 1965 on her way to visit her soldier-grandfather's grave at Gallipoli. Photo / supplied
The grave, in Turkey, of Rosalind Webb, who died a car crash in 1965 on her way to visit her soldier-grandfather's grave at Gallipoli. Photo / supplied
The Gallipoli gravestone for Major David Grant, who was killed at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915. Photo / supplied
The Gallipoli gravestone for Major David Grant, who was killed at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915. Photo / supplied

Webb's sister Adrienne finally got to both graves in the late 1980s, while his grandson, and Webb's close cousin Bruce Denny, made the pilgrimage in the early 2000s.

He'd been crushed by the death of Webb who had been like a sister to him.

The double tragedy meant Anzac Day always loomed with sadness for his Timaru family.

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"Because of the effects the deaths had on our family, Anzac Day was always quite different for us. A blanket of grief went over the place," says the 77-year-old who now lives at Tanners Point, Bay of Plenty.

"It's been a significant part of our lives and it's lasted more than 100 years."

Making the trip to Gallipoli was a poignant moment for him, and helped bring to life his years of family genealogy and research.

"To stand there at Walkers Ridge and look across the blue Aegean [Sea], it's a pretty peaceful place to be. But like any of these cemeteries, the waste is incredible," Denny said.

"You can't but help admire anyone who tried to get up those cliffs in a hail of bullets. It was absolute madness."