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World War I - Gallipoli-Overview

The campaign was launched on 25 April 1915 when two landings were made. One was the a 35,000-strong British main force led by Lieutenant General Hunter Weston and the other a 17,000-strong support force comprising men from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) under General William Birdwood.
Snow on Anzac Cove. We sometimes forget how cold Gallipoli was in winter and how hot in summer.

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Australian casualties for the campaign were 26,111, comprising 1007 officers and 25,104 other ranks. Of these, 362 officers and 7779 men  (total 8,141) were killed in action, died of wounds or succumbed to disease.

While still training in the Egyptian desert late in 1914, the 1st Australian Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division (NZ and A Division) (which later included the 1st Light Horse Brigade) were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), under the command of Lieutenant General William R (Field Marshal, Lord) Birdwood. 

Together with British troops, the ANZAC forces had been kept in Egypt because of unsuitable training facilities in England and, later, to help protect the Suez Canal, following Turkeys entry into the war in October 1914.

In the face of lack of progress on the Western Front in late 1914, the British War Council suggested that Germany could best be defeated by attacks on her weaker allies, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. 

Initially, the attack on Turkey was to be a naval operation but, after abortive naval attempts to force the Dardanelles in February and March, the British Cabinet agreed that land forces could be used. 

The ANZACS, together with British formations, landed north of Gaba Tepe (the landing area later known as Anzac Cove) and at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli Peninsula. 

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A Gallipoli character as drawn Mike Chappell in the Osprey Publications book The Australian Army at War 1899-1975. ISBN 0-85045-418-2
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ANZAC Terrain

This image gives a clear indication of the sort of terrain that the Diggers faced and that helped the Turks mount a successful defence.

It also indicates the difference that landing 1 to 1 miles further north made to the chances that the Anzacs had. The image is from Gallipoli by Les Carlyon ISBN 0-7329-1128-1 

They were to capture the Turkish forts commanding the narrow straits and force open the way to the Turkish capital, Constantinople. 

French forces attacked the Turkish positions on the Asia Minor side of the Dardanelles. 

Later reinforcements included the dismounted Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Brigades at Anzac Cove and another British corps at Suvla Bay.

The campaign was an heroic but costly failure. In December, it was decided to evacuate the entire force from Gallipoli. 

On 19 and 20 December, the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla was completed with the last British troops leaving Cape Helles by 8 January 1916. 

The entire operation evacuated 142,000 men with negligible casualties. 

Map of the "Suvla Plan" from Gallipoli by Les Carlyon ISBN 0-73291128-1 >>>

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Pages about ANZAC

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Click to go to the Anzac Book Click to go the The Anzac Story
The Anzac Book, edited by CEW Bean, 1915 The Anzac Story for boys & girls by TA Miles

New Zealand and Australian soldiers landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915.

Field Hospital at Ocean Beach, Gallipoli. Photograph taken by E.N. Merrington.

  • The Gallipoli operation cost Australia 26,111 casualties, 8,141 dead
  • New Zealand 7,571 casualties, 2,431 dead
  • Britain 120,000 casualties, 21,255 dead
  • France 27,000 casualties, 10,000 dead
  • India 1,350 dead
  • Newfoundland  (now part of Canada) 49 dead.

Gallipoli Casualties KIA, (DVA figures)

Turkey

86,692

Pte B. Jackson, 2nd Battalion, day of Armistice, 24th May...."I came to a spot where the dead were lying two and three deep, and I saw an Australian and a Turk who had run each other through with their bayonets. (they) had fallen dead at the same instant, as their bayonets had not been withdrawn. In their death struggle , their arms must have encircled each other. They had been in that sad embrace for at least a week".
Britain 21,255
France 9,798
Australia 8,709
New Zealand

2,701

India 1,358
Newfoundland
49
Click to enlarge Troops at Anzac taking a short break from the front line to chat. Chatting was not "having a yarn" although it is possible that that is the way the term started. Chatting was searching through your clothes to find and kill the chats, small lice like insects that infected everyone at Anzac and many in France/Flanders. Photo Gwen Ladner

Dug out terraces at Anzac Cove Gallipoli

No grenades? Make your own ! "Jam-tin bombs"

Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. 1915. 

Two soldiers sit beside a pile of empty tins cutting up barbed wire for jam tin bombs. The bombs were made near the beach, a spot popularly known as the 'bomb factory' near Anzac Cove. All the old jam tins and other used containers were used to make bombs which were then filled with fragments of Turkish shells and enemy barbed wire which had been cut into small lengths.

The Newspaper that got shot.

Click to enlarge. This rolled Newspaper was shot at Gallipoli and still carries the bullet. 

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Addressed to Gunner J Talmage, No.2900, First Australian Expeditionary Force. Posted in Melbourne Australia, September 1915 and "shot" at Gallipoli. (Possibly 2905 James Talmadge, Field Artillery Brigade who RTA as a Sergeant)

THE REAL ANZACS

There are plenty of slouch-hatted soldiers in town,
Doughty and debonair, stalwart and brown;
Some are from Weymouth or Salisbury plain,
Others have 'pushed' in the western campaign;

Call them 'overseas soldiers' or 'down-under men'
Declare that each is as daring as ten;
Call them cornstalks or fern leaves all out for a fight,
But don't call them ANZACS, for that isn't right.

The ANZACS, their ranks are scanty but all told,
Have a separate record illuminated in gold;
Their blood on Gallipoli's ridges they poured,
Their souls with the scars of that struggle are scored,

Not many are left, and not many are sound,
And thousands lie buried in Turkish ground,
These are the ANZACS; the others may claim,
Their zeal and their spirit, but never their name.

by an unknown Aussie soldier.

  • From One of The Anzacs
    • 'Tho we've done a bit of fighting
    • We still got more to do
    • For they took us from Gallipoli
    • Before we got quite through
    • But let us hope we'll finish
    • Very soon, what we've begun
    • To wipe forever off the map
    • The Devastating Hun.

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces