Sydney | Published on 20th April 2015 at 14:36

Ten widows of World War One veterans were guests of honour at a commemorative event ahead of a special Qantas flight to Turkey carrying Australians on their way to Gallipoli to mark the Centenary of ANZAC.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce was joined by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, at a function held at the airline’s jet base at Sydney Airport.

“Qantas is proud to have worked in partnership with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help Australians honour those who served 100 years ago,” Mr Joyce said

“Our founders, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh, were among the young Australians who landed on Gallipoli in April 1915, one of many connections to the First World War that we remember today.

“Every Qantas crew member on the flight to Istanbul has their own special link to the ANZAC tradition and I know that our customers will be in the best of hands on their journey to Gallipoli.”

Qantas flight QF100 will carry 364 passengers to Istanbul via Perth with a flight time of 14 hours and 35 minutes on a Boeing 747-400ER.  It will depart Sydney at 9.50pm on 21 April and is scheduled to arrive in Istanbul at 12.30pm (local time) on 22 April.

The aircraft has been named ‘Fysh-McGinness’ in tribute to Qantas’ founders and has a special livery commemorating the Centenary of ANZAC. Uniquely, it will use the QF100 flight number in both directions, in acknowledgement of the centenary.

Paul McGinness DFC DCM (1896–1952) and Hudson Fysh, KBE DFC (1894–1974) enlisted with the Light Horse, but were deployed to Gallipoli as infantry, remaining there for seven months.

McGinness became an ace pilot, with the Australian Flying Corps in the Middle East credited with seven victories.  Fysh was one of his gunners and later trained as a pilot himself.

For their service in the AFC, McGinness and Fysh were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  McGinness was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for his service on Gallipoli.