A PRINTOUT featuring scant details of his father's First World War service stays close to Peter McCrohon's heart as he walks the shores of The Dardenelles.

The 73-year-old Ballina resident and his son Christopher, 40, are in the Turkish city of Canakkale this week preparing for the dawn service at nearby Anzac Cove.

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Peter was quick to produce sheets of paper printed from the Australian War Memorial website when asked about his father Lance Corporal Ernest McCrohon.

There is little detail available and his father had not spoken of his service.

"I'd like to find out where and what he has done," Peter said.

He thought his father, a member of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, had served at Gallipoli for a very short time.

But records didn't back that up.

His father certainly was among the soldiers who fought in the 1917 Battle of Beersheba.

The death of a close mate while they were in Palestine afterwards had lasting effects.

FAMILY PRIDE: Ballina man Peter McCrohon (right) and his son Christopher relax in Canakkale, Turkey, ahead of Anzac Day commemorations.
FAMILY PRIDE: Ballina man Peter McCrohon (right) and his son Christopher relax in Canakkale, Turkey, ahead of Anzac Day commemorations. Stuart Cumming

It was his best mate's turn to go out and cut green feed for the horses when a hand bomb was dropped on him from an aeroplane.

Peter's father used his own hat as well as his mate's hat for a grim retrieval.

"He picked up enough of him to bury him.

"That really turned him harder, just made him harder."

He expected Saturday's dawn service would be a very solemn time.

"You have a feeling of pride with them and what they have done.

"What we have seen now (in Turkey), since we got here, is an eye opener."

Christopher, from Port Macquarie, said it was important for him to bring his father over.

He had already been to a dawn service at Gallipoli in 2002.

"The Turkish people, they respect us as much as what we respect them and they work with us so I think the 25th is going to be a pretty special day," Christopher said.

"For me personally, it's a bit of satisfaction to come and show my respects."


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