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No 10's pledge for Anzac veterans

Downing Street has intervened in an attempt to quell the latest row to erupt over the First World War centenary commemorations amid claims the role of Australian and New Zealand troops is being ignored.

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said it was "completely wrong" to suggest the contribution of the "Anzacs" was being overlooked in the anniversary events.

No 10 was forced to step in after allies of Education Secretary Michael Gove were said to be concerned that there would be no special mention of Australians and New Zealanders in the tributes organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

It followed a briefing to Australian journalists by Whitehall officials that led to reports that the Anzacs were being "whitewashed" out of the commemorations in favour of black and Asian servicemen from India, the Caribbean and West Africa.

It was claimed that the emphasis on troops from the "New Commonwealth" was intended to promote "community cohesion" in the UK - leading to accusations in Australia of "blatant politicisation".

Mr Cameron's spokesman insisted the Anzacs' role would be fully honoured in the commemorations next year to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings when the Australian and New Zealand forces suffered very heavy casualties.

"The Government is working very closely with the Australian and New Zealand governments on that event," he said.

In all, 62,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders died fighting during the First World War.

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