Anzac Day will be commemorated by huge crowds in Australia and at sites worldwide where Australian troops have served and still serve today.
Hundreds of thousands of people will attend services to mark Anzac Day across the country and at special locations around the world as interest grows in the day of remembrance for Australia’s war dead.
More than 30,000 people are expected at the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, an event where attendance has grown steadily in recent years.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the main Anzac Day ceremony in Canberra later – the first time members of the British royal family have been present for the commemorations in the national capital for 44 years.
Around the nation the story of growing interest in Anzac Day is the same, with crowd numbers increasing at services and marches in capital cities.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger in every state,” RSL national secretary John King said.
“The last couple of years there has been a marked increase in people attending.”
In Sydney, up to 200,000 people are expected to turn out to watch the march, which will be led by some of the nation’s youngest war veterans: soldiers returned from duty in Afghanistan.
In Melbourne, too, Australia’s most recent returned servicemen will be a focus, with Afghanistan veteran Colonel Mark Jennings to address some 70,000 people expected at the Shrine of Remembrance.
This year is the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing by Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I, and about 6000 people have camped out for the dawn service at the Turkish battleground.
But Anzac Day will also be remembered in services at Villers-Bretonneux in France – the scene of horrendous Australian casualties in the Great War, and at services in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, where Anzac troops served during World War II.
Veterans and those who fell in the Vietnam War will be honoured in services in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and at the scene of the 1966 Battle of Long Tan in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
While 2014 marks the first year that large numbers of Australian troops are not serving overseas – after the 2013 withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan – many service men and women will mark the day while on foreign postings.
About 400 soldiers remain in Afghanistan, where dawn services will be held at military bases in Kabul and Kandahar.