not what these keen young men envisaged when they signed up. The
Turks had the home advantage of handy reinforcements, roads, real
cooked meals, and ample water. The ANZACs were supplied by ship, but
had water rations and faced meals of tinned meat and biscuits. Many
were “unfit for service” by campaign’s end.
In spite of repeated naval and land assaults, the Allies were not able
to take the peninsula, nor the strait, and eventually had to accept the
fruitlessness of their efforts. As winter snows arrived, the Gallipoli units
were evacuated in stages that December. To confound the enemy they
used a touch of Kiwi ingenuity, securing rifles atop the trenches, rigged
with a water dripping contraption whose weight pulled the trigger long
after the soldiers had left.
And what of Winston Churchill? He was forced to resign from the Cabinet
and suffered the anger of soldiers for his disastrous plan. Anger may
have been initially directed at the Turks, but actually a mutual respect
for valour grew between the sides, even during the heavy battles. When
Churchill did return to the House of Commons years later, he was
frequently heckled “what about the Dardanelles?!!”
Battle sites are preserved, cemeteries abound
In the final count of the campaign, NZ suffered 2,779 dead, with 5,212
wounded. During the same time, 8,709 Australians were killed and 19,441
wounded. The United Kingdom and France also made little headway on
their two fronts, and suffered great losses with 31,000 deaths.
For the Turks, despite their 87,000 deaths, defending their home territory
successfully became a defining moment in their national identity. Mustafa
Kemal Ataturk leveraged his successful command of the Turkish forces
at Gallipoli to become the nation’s visionary founding president. The
battlefields, so littered with corpses that the entire area is considered a
cemetery, were designated a Turkish national park and the trenches are
still being mapped and excavated by battlefield archaeologists.
In 1934, Kemal spoke at the 20th anniversary of the campaign with these
words, now carved at a memorial overlooking the beach at Anzac Cove.
“You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe
away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in
peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our
sons as well.”
Gallipoli and its 21 cemeteries and monuments are now the destination
of many international travel tours and the battle ridges crawl with tour
buses while descendents from both sides look for family grave markers.
The daybreak memorial service at Gallipoli on ANZAC Day has grown in
popularity to such an extent that limits have been set on how many may
attend (10,500 this year). We found several local Conservation Volunteers
who were going, providing logistics for the ceremony at the cove.
Phone: (07) 866 4513
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The Homecoming from Gallipoli
Less than three months after the initial Anzac Cove landing, the first
wave of Kiwi wounded arrived by troopship. This 1916 oil at right
shows the July 15 arrival of the SS
in Wellington from
the Gallipoli Peninsula. A sobering sight for all those cheering on
their returning boys.
eparture of the Hospital Ship
Those at home went all out to support the war effort. Kiwis
raised funds for medical supplies and to convert passenger
liners into hospital ships, such as the HS
. She sailed for
Anzac Cove in August 2015 to treat and transport the wounded
to Lemnos, the island hospital base. Above, some of the Kiwi
nursing sisters aboard the
See more war art: warart.archives.govt.nz/WalterArmigerBowring
COROMANDEL LIFE 2015 LATE SUMMER/EASTER
continued from prev. page
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