That the Gallipoli “landing” was an invasion of a sovereign country which was no threat to the population of Australia simply does not register in any of the media coverage. That ten times as many Turks were killed defending their country as Australians invading it is also completely absent. And now we are assured that the Gallipoli peninsula will be “safe” for Australian dignatories and backpackers on Saturday. It’s only a shame that it wasn’t safe for the people of Turkey in 1915.
Everything about the official commemoration of Anzac Day in 2015 reeks of the colonial superiority which dominated the thinking of Australian and British military authorities a century ago. Imagine if Japan had actually invaded Australia in 1942 (it never planned to, but bear with me) but was beaten back after a bloody 10 month campaign on the shores of North Queensland resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Australians. Now imagine 75 years later, thousands of Japanese turning up in Cairns, preceded by dozens of Japanese security personnel who have spent months combing the area and questioning locals. Now the old rising sun flag is hoisted and Japanese politicians and generals make speeches commemorating the loss of their soldiers. The Japanese PM assures the country’s youth that the military’s endeavour had been a noble one aimed at securing Japan’s freedoms and way of life. The official entourage is accompanied by thousands of Japanese backpackers who proudly fly the rising sun flag, get drunk and sing nationalist songs, leaving behind them a rubbish-strewn cesspit for locals to clean up on their departure. Now imagine the reaction of the Australian high and mighty who shed crocodile tears about the fallen at Gallipoli.
—  Tom Bramble
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Remarkable Gallipoli Pictures Show The First World War Battlefield Then And Now

The small headland of Gallipoli, which juts out from Turkey’s western coast, witnessed some of the most extraordinary combat of the First World War. Between April 2015 and January 1916, troops from Britain and France battled Ottoman soldiers on their home soil, resulting in nine months of savage fighting turning the slender stretch of turf by the Aegean into a graveyard for many thousands of young men. See more of thes

(Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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April 25th 1915: Gallipoli campaign begins

On this day in 1915, during World War One, the doomed Gallipoli campaign began on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire. The plan was the brainchild of British Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, who intended to weaken the Ottoman war effort by opening another front in the Dardanelles, forcing Germany to split their army and send troops to aid their Turkish allies. Churchill’s proposal was risky, underestimating the ability of the Turkish army, and was hastily pushed through the War Office. The initial naval attack in the Dardanelles in February had some success, but British and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops were soon called in to push inland and capture Constantinople. The landings began on April 25th, with Allied troops deployed at separate beaches. One of the most famous landings were the ANZAC forces at Anzac Cove, where they faced fierce resistance from the Turks. The British fared little better at Cape Helles, and by May, 20,000 of the 70,000 men deployed suffered causalities. The campaign continued for months, with Allied soldiers living under Turkish fire and shelling, and suffering poor conditions in the trenches. Eventually, fierce critics of the operation began to speak out, and in December and January the Allied forces were evacuated from Gallipoli. The campaign was a disaster for the Allies, who lost around 45,000 men, and failed to make any strategic gains. While the Turkish successfully and bravely defended their country, it proved a Pyrrhic victory as they lost 86,000 soldiers in the campaign. This day is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand as Anzac Day, in honour of the over 10,000 soldiers who died during the Gallipoli campaign representing their countries as independent nations.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.”
- Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who fought at Gallipoli, on the ANZAC dead in 1934

100 years ago

ANZAC DAY

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn them. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them. Lest we forget. “Laurence Binyon 1914”

Remember our fallen, appreciate what they gave; for us, be thankful each day - without their sacrifices, we wouldn’t have what we have today.

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Gallipoli in Art

100 years ago today British, Anzac and French forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula opening a new front against the Ottoman Empire.  The campaign quickly became bogged down and eight long months were spent capturing just ~5 miles of ground failing in the operation’s objectives utterly.  Despite this the gallantry of the men who fought there cannot be denied and some of the war art above captures the scale, determination and desperateness of the fighting. 

The Landing at Anzac, April 25, 1915, by Charles Dixon (source)

Anzac, the landing 1915, by George Lambert (source)

The Gallipoli Landing, by Charles Dixon (source)

Battle of Sari Bair, by Terence Cuneo (source)

The Taking of Lone Pine, by Fred Leist (source)

The Charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek, 7 August 1915, George Lambert (source)

The Battle of Chunuk Bair, 8 August 1915, by Ion Brown (source)

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In honor of the 100th anniversary of #AnzacDay for our New Zealander & Australian friends & colleagues:

From the series: 

British Photographs of World War I, 1914 - 1918
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They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.


The ANZACs and their horses.
April 25th 2015- 100 years since the Gallipoli landing.

120,000 Waler horses left Australia in World War I and only one returned. After enduring war and carrying soldiers from death, the remaining horses were either sold or destroyed, due to the quarantine and the cost of transport. 

April 25th, 1915 - Gallipoli Landings

Pictured - Unidentified men from the 1st Divisional Signal Company being towed towards Anzac Cove on the morning of 25 April 1915.

On April 25th British, French, Australian, and New Zealand troops landing on the peninsulas on each side of the Dardanelles Straights.  Their goal was to eliminate the Ottoman artillery positions guarding the narrows so that minesweepers could sail in.  Five divisions of the Ottoman Fifth Army were present to oppose them.  The Ottomans could only guess at the date of the Entente disembarkation, the Allies had not planned for any strenuous Turkish opposition.  The following fiasco was one of the war’s most crucial days.

The Allies landed on three different areas - The French made a diversionary attack at Kum Kale, on the Asian side of the Straights, before reembarking. The British landed on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula at Cape Helles, and the Anzacs landed to to the north on a tiny strip of beach surrounded by hills that soon earned the moniker “Anzac Cove”.  

The largest set of landings on April 25th occurred at Cape Helles, which formed the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula.  Cape Helles was divided into five landing beaches, named going east to west as “S” “V” “W” “X” and “Y” beaches.  Two battalions of the Ottoman 26th Regiment were the only forces available right on the beaches, the rest were spread around the peninsula in a state of some disorganization.  In total the Ottoman commanders and their German advisor Otto Liman von Sanders had around 20,000 troops at their disposal with which to resist the landings.

Image Source: Australian War Memorial

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The Gallipoli Campaign

The 25th April marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the disastrous eight month-long land campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula to open the Dardanelles. Following failed Anglo-French naval attempts to break through the straits to attack Constantinople and open up a direct route to their ally Russia it was decided that the Turkish coastal defences had to be destroyed by troops to allow passage.

The amphibious landings were hastily planned and ineptly executed with the Anzac landing force landing at the wrong location - hemming themselves into a small, deadly beachhead in an exposed cove.  Elsewhere British troops landing found themselves attacking into the teeth of stiff, well organised resistance encountering unexpected underwater barbed wire entanglements, well-sighted machine guns and landing ships beaching too far off shore causing the men trying to disembark to either drown or be cut down by Ottoman machine gun and rifle fire (see images #4 & #5).  

The SS River Clyde which beached itself at V beach with 2,000 troops on board.  However, she beached too far out and many troops were cut down or drowned trying to reach shore (source)

The peninsula the Allied forces landed upon was dissected by steep ridgelines with peaks as high as 700 ft.  This rocky landscape was not ideal for a rapid advance and handed the advantage to the Turkish defenders.  Following the landings the Allied beachheads were split into two sectors, Anzac Cove held by the Australian and New Zealand corps and the British and French held the Helles Sector to the southwest.  In both sectors the Allies found themselves having to attack uphill.  At Anzac Cove the Anzacs found themselves clinging onto a small, overlooked beach and a series of ridge lines but unable to advance further to their objectives several miles inland. Similarly the French and British found themselves held by a strong Turkish resistance but after a month of fighting found themselves facing a Turkish line centred on the town of Karithia (see image #9).

The chaotic cramped conditions found at Anzac Cove (source)

In May the Ottomans counter-attacked in force but lacking in sufficient supplies the offensive was beaten back by heavy casualties.  By the high summer of 1915 the front had settled into a stalemate just like that seen on the Western Front. (see images #6, #7 & #8)  By August a renewed Allied offensive with further landings at Suvla Bay met with initial success but failed to seize the initiative.  The heat of the summer combined with poor sanitation caused the rampant spread of dysentery on both sides. The autumn and winter brought no respite with heavy rain causing flooding and freezing temperatures making frostbite common.  The supply of so many men in such a small area became a logistical nightmare with every suitable beach and cove turned into a landing and supply depot (see image #10). The men fighting at Gallipoli encountered some of the most hostile conditions of the war.

W Beach in the Helles sector just days before evacuation began, the armies supplies were stacked on the beaches ready for removal (source)

By late 1915, an evacuation was being seriously considered and preparations were made for the evacuation to begin in January.  Careful plans were made to withdraw as many men in secret as possible and to give the Ottomans no clue that the Allies were evacuating.  The decision to evacuate was made on the 28th December and on the 7th January the Anzacs began withdrawing from Anzac Cove.  On the 8th January British and French troops began evacuating with the last of the rearguard leaving on the 9th January.  In all 35,268 Allied troops were withdrawn, although thousands of tonnes of equipment and ammunition were left behind.  During the eight month campaign some 190,000 Allied troops had become casualties with approximately 175,000 Turkish troops being killed and wounded.

Images Sources:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

6, 7, 8, 9, 10