The whole occasion was possibly the most humbling experience of my life. Getting prepared to walk as the sun is coming up with birds twittering away and the wash of the shore was amazing, and one that will stay with the team for a very long time.

Lt Cdr Michael ‘Doc’ Cox

Now the trek is over, Doc will return to the UK to present the balls to match officials in front of the 80,000-strong sell-out crowd at Twickenham; the match balls will also be used in the subsequent clashes between the UK’s combined Armed Forces team and Oxford and Cambridge universities.

“As the centenary of the Great War is coming to an end, we tend to forget those that fought out here,” said Doc. “Recently I spent a weekend cycling the war graves and was truly humbled at the loss of life during the campaign.

“The whole occasion was possibly the most humbling experience of my life. Getting prepared to walk as the sun is coming up with birds twittering away and the wash of the shore was amazing, and one that will stay with the team for a very long time.

“I carried both balls in my rucksack the whole way around the walk and it’s only after returning to Izmir that the enormity of the event really has hit home of what we did and why we did it: remembering the past, supporting the future.”

Doc was partly inspired by the fate of a player he used to coach when head of the U23 team, Mne Aaron Moon, whose rugby career was cut short by life-changing injuries suffered on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“The RBL provided help and support to him and his family during the initial dark days of his story, after which he has proven to be one of life’s amazing, inspirational and courageous people,” said Doc.

“He’s now looking to become the first amputee professional golfer in the UK.

“For me, remembrance is not about one day of the year, it’s everyday.”

Doc and his colleagues have set a £2,000 target and are nearly two thirds of the way there. You can support their efforts at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/GallipoliGallop20172018

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