Walker’s Ridge Cemetery


Leave the Nek Cemetery and turn right down the track until you reach Walker’s Ridge Cemetery. From the cemetery observe the view to the north. Below, and to your right, are the valleys and spurs leading back up to Koja Temen Tepe and Chunuk Bair. Straight ahead are the Suvla Plains with, in the distance, the long mountain ridge of Kirech Tepe. If you let your eye follow the curving sweep of Ocean Beach it will come to a point – Nibrunesi Point. Between there and another point to the north lies Suvla Bay. A ‘cut’ in the bay across the sand leads into the Salt Lake. This whole area witnessed a great deal of fighting during the August Offensive in 1915. During that month a last great effort was made to break out of Anzac, capture the heights of Chunuk Bair and bring the campaign to a successful end.

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From Walker’s Ridge between 7 and 10 August 1915 you would have seen wounded men lying in pain all over the heights and valleys before you. Those capable of walking or crawling made their way to aid posts at the end of the valleys. A grimmer aspect of this scene was recorded by Sergeant Harold Jackson:

From the trench down to the beach, about 4 miles [6.4 kms], is one long line of grey stiff bodies of men who have died trying to get down to the beach unassisted.

[Sergeant Harold Jackson, 13th Battalion AIF, 1DRL/0592, Australian War Memorial]

Up in one of the valleys Private Ormond Burton, New Zealand Medical Corps, tried to care for this mass of suffering. Nobody appeared to be responsible for them and men lay out in the noon day sun with no food or water. Some, from where they lay dying, could see the white-painted hospital ships off shore. Burton gave his water bottle to a Turkish officer with some of his men lying nearby:

He gave every drop to his men and took not a mouthful himself. I saw nothing more dreadful during the whole war than the suffering of those men.

[Burton quoted by Chris Pugsley, Gallipoli:The New Zealand Story, Auckland, 1998, p 305]

These casualties were the result of the battle to wrest the heights of Chunuk Bair from the Turks between 7 and 10 August. The plan was a complicated one. At Anzac, an Australian attack at Lone Pine (The Battle of Lone Pine) on the afternoon of 6 August was to tie down Turkish reserves to that area and to make the enemy think that a major attempt to break through their lines was taking place there. Meantime, in the dark of 6 August long columns of Australian, New Zealand, British and Indian infantry left the gullies above North Beach, made their way along the beach and then headed up into the hills. The Australians, along with an Indian unit, went a long way north, then swung around virtually out of sight of where you are standing at Walker’s Ridge and headed up a distant valley. Their aim was to assault and capture the range’s highest summit – Koja Temen Tepe, the Hill of the Great Pasture.

Before the New Zealand infantry could make their way up into the valleys various Turkish positions had to be captured. This job went to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and with them went men of the Maori Contingent. The Maoris attacked in traditional style:

The Turks still held this trench further on, and the Maoris could hear their voices. The advance party worked towards them, and Captain Dansey said, ‘Let’s charge them!’ This the little party did. They yelled as they went, with bayonets at the charge,

Ka mate, ka mate!
Ka ora, ka ora!

the ancient Maori battle-song … On they went for those Turks; there was no breath to finish the chant; they needed it to push the bayonet home. The lads hurled themselves at the foe like a band of destroying angels; with bayonet and rifle butt they cleared the trench; only the dead and dying remained. Some Maoris fell, but the victory was with them.

Ka mate, ka mate!

[James Cowen, The Maoris in the Great War, Auckland, 1926, pp 40–41]

On the morning of 7 August, the New Zealand infantry had reached Rhododendron Ridge and the Apex about 500 metres below Chunuk Bair. From here, on the morning of 8 August, the Wellington Battalion advanced to a position just below the summit from which they could see what the whole Gallipoli campaign was about – the straits of the Dardanelles. For a day the Wellingtons withstood devastating Turkish counter-attacks and Bean described their condition when they were relieved:

Of the 760 of the Wellington Battalion who had captured the height that morning, there came out only 70 unwounded … Throughout that day not one had dreamed of leaving his post. Their uniforms were torn, their knees broken … they could only talk in whispers; their eyes were sunken; their knees trembled; some broke down and cried.

[Charles Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, Sydney 1924, p 279]

Commanding the Turks at Chunuk Bair was Colonel Mustafa Kemal. Just before dawn on 10 August he prepared his men for a massed bayonet attack to drive the British troops, who now held the old Wellington Battalion’s position, from the heights. Kemal later wrote:

The blanket of dawn had lifted. Now was the hour for the attack. I looked at my watch. It was nearly 4.30 am … I greeted the men and addressed them: ‘Soldiers! There is no doubt that we can defeat the enemy opposing us. But don’t you hurry, let me go in front first. When you see the wave of my whip all of you rush forward together’. Then I went to a point forward of the assault line, and, raising my whip, gave the signal for the assault.

This fierce Turkish rush swept the British troops away from Chunuk Bair. But as the Turks dashed down the slope on the other side towards the sea they were stopped and killed in their hundreds by New Zealand machine guns and the shells of British warships.

The August Offensive failed. The British troops who landed at Suvla Bay on the night of 6–7 August made little progress inland. A Gurkha unit which scaled the heights beyond Chunuk Bair was shot off the hill by artillery as it charged down the other side. The Australian attack further north got nowhere. In a sense, although the British Empire troops hung on here for another three and a half months until the evacuation, this was the end of the Gallipoli campaign.

When you have finished your Anzac Walk, and if time permits, you might like to make your way up the main road to Chunuk Bair. There you will find the New Zealand Memorial and facing it a huge statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who in 1923 became the first President of the Republic of Turkey. Gallipoli helped to make Atatürk as it also helped make the Anzac legend for New Zealand. On the New Zealand Memorial are these words:

In honour of
the soldiers
of the
New Zealand
Expeditionary Force
8th August
From the Uttermost
Ends of the Earth

The Nek Cemetery


After leaving the Turkish Soldiers Memorial turn left and head up the paved road past the 57th Regiment Memorial on your right until you come to a fork in the road. The paved road leads up to Chunuk Bair but you should turn down left along the unpaved road. Following this road you will pass a Turkish memorial (Sergeant Mehmet’s Memorial) on your right and soon to your right will be the Nek Cemetery. Enter the cemetery and make for the special memorial headstones to your right in front of the cemetery cross.

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Those words were written by Captain Leslie Hore of the 8th Light Horse Regiment from western Victoria. Look at the date on four of the Special Memorials in front of you – 7 August 1915. On that day at this spot between 4.30 and 5.15 am, 234 Australian Light Horsemen from Victoria and Western Australia were killed and a further 138 were wounded. They were casualties in the action depicted in George Lambert’s famous painting which hangs in the Australian War Memorial – The Charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek, 7 August 1915. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade consisted of the 8th Light Horse Regiment from Victoria, the 9th from South Australia and the 10th from Western Australia. Only elements of the 8th and 10th Light Horse took part in the action at the Nek on 7 August.

The charge was also depicted in the last minutes of Peter Weir’s film Gallipoli which featured Mark Lee and Mel Gibson as two young Western Australian Light Horsemen. Lee, in the role of Archie Hamilton, dies as machine gun bullets rip across his chest while he runs full pelt across no-man’s-land without his rifle, his body thrusting forward towards the enemy. After the war the remains of many of the dead of the Nek, most of whom could not be identified, were gathered into this cemetery and they lie all around you here.

What happened? The charge, planned for 4.30 am on 7 August 1915, was part of a number of diversionary actions. These diversions were aimed to tie down Turkish troops to the Anzac position while Allied units to the north (Australians, British, New Zealanders, Gurkha's and Indians) tried to storm the heights of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971. Go to the edge of the cemetery and look at the scene to the immediate north and north-east. The main attack of the so-called ‘August Offensive’ went through these steep gullies and ridges. It began on the night of 6 August and by dawn on 7 August New Zealand infantry were supposed to have reached the high point way up to your right known as Chunuk Bair. The Australian Light Horse charge was planned for the very moment when the New Zealanders were supposed to have been taking Chunuk Bair, and the Turks in their trenches at the Nek were supposed to be distracted by the possibility of attack from the rear.

Unfortunately, by 4.30 am the New Zealanders had failed to reach their objective and had halted on Rhododendron Ridge below the summit of Chunuk Bair.

Any attack across the narrow section of land known as the Nek, directly at heavily defended Turkish trenches, was regarded as suicidal unless the enemy line was collapsing from the rear. Although that could not now happen, the Light Horse were ordered in anyway on the grounds that everything must be done to assist the New Zealanders to make the main attack on the heights. An artillery and naval bombardment on the enemy trenches inexplicably ceased minutes before the Light Horsemen were due to go. When the first wave – men of the 8th Light Horse – rose from the trench the Turkish soldiers, who had time to take up positions again in the lull after the bombardment, cut them down within seconds. A second wave of the 8th was similarly destroyed. There was a pause. An officer questioned the value of sending more men to certain death but the Light Horse were ordered to press on. Next rose the first wave of the 10th Light Horse:

The 10th went forward to meet death instantly, as the 8th had done, the men running as swiftly and as straight as they could at the Turkish rifles. With that regiment went the flower of the youth of Western Australia …

[Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p 617]

A fourth wave of Western Australians also charged before the attack was finally called off. Charles Bean called this event ‘one of the bravest actions in the history of war’, each man in those waves which rose after the first going forward in the full knowledge that he was unlikely to survive. How the Nek must have looked on that morning as the day lengthened has been described in these words:

At first here and there a man raised his arm to the sky, or tried to drink from his water bottle; but, as the sun of that burning day climbed higher, such movements ceased: over the whole summit the figures lay still in the quivering heat.

[Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p.633]

Turkish Memorial


Leave Quinn’s Post Cemetery and go back to the road. Turn left and proceed up the hill until you reach the large statue of a Turkish soldier on your left.

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This larger than life sized representation of the ordinary Turkish soldier, rifle in hands, faces determinedly downhill. This was how the Turkish soldiers on the day of the invasion of their country – 25 April 1915 – faced the Anzacs coming up these slopes from the beach towards the heights of Chunuk Bair. On the slopes behind the monument leading up to what was called Battleship Hill was fought one of the most crucial actions of the Battle of the Landing and it was here that the capability and courage shown by the Turks sealed the fate of the Anzacs.

Before the invasion the fighting capacities of the Turkish army had not been highly regarded. The power and effectiveness of the old ‘Ottoman Empire’ had been declining for nearly a century and in any invasion of Turkey it was thought that British cold steel and determination would soon sweep aside the defenders in a triumphant assault. When the Australians first landed they encountered small bodies of Turks who, after doing what they could, withdrew back over the ridges. The main Turkish forces in the area had been held in reserve to see just where the British Empire troops were going to land on the peninsula. By 6.30 am a report had reached the commander of the Turkish 19th Division, Colonel Mustafa Kemal, that an enemy force had scaled the heights at Ari Burnu. Kemal’s troops were at Bigali, a small village off to the east beyond the main range, and he ordered his whole division to prepare to march to the coast. He himself set off riding at the head of the 57th Regiment.

Cast your eyes up along the main road to the very top of the range, the heights of Chunuk Bair. By about 9.30 am Kemal stood there with some other officers. He could see the British warships and transports off Anzac Cove and also, coming rapidly up the hill towards him, a group of Turkish soldiers who had been tasked with defending Hill 261 (Battleship Hill). Kemal spoke to them:

‘Why are you running away?’ ‘Sir, the enemy’, they said. ‘Where?’ ‘Over there’, they said, pointing out hill 261 … I said to the men who were running away, ‘You cannot run from the enemy’. ‘We have got no ammunition’, they said. ‘If you haven’t got any ammunition, you have got your bayonets’, I said, and shouting to them, I made them fix their bayonets and lie down on the ground’. When the men fixed their bayonets and lay down on the ground the enemy also lay down …

[Kemal quoted in Robert Rhodes James, Gallipoli, London, 1999, p 113]

Kemal was later to see this as one of the most crucial moments of the day. The advancing Anzacs had been temporarily halted and he sent at once to have the advance units of the 57th Regiment sent up. For the rest of the day Kemal’s men and, in a series of bloody counter-attacks, the soldiers of the 27th Regiment further south at Lone Pine, held back the Anzac attempts to advance. The Anzacs were unable to progress any further than those positions they would ultimately occupy for eight months at Gallipoli. On 25 April 1915, the Anzacs discovered that Turkish soldiers, well led and fighting for their homeland, would stand up to them.

This Turkish steadfastness was revealed at Quinn’s Post after the failed Turkish counter-attack of 19 May 1915. On that morning 3,000 Turkish dead lay out along the ridge below the Turkish Soldier Memorial and a further 7,000 had been wounded. Anzac intelligence interpreters, sensing that the Turks may have been demoralised by the spectacular failure of their attack, called out from the trenches at Quinn’s that they would be well treated if they surrendered. The most common response was a bomb or a bullet. On another occasion a surrender message was thrown into the Turkish lines and the reply came back – ‘You think there are no Turks left. But there are Turks, and Turks’ sons!’ 

The nature of war meant that the Australian soldiers hardly had any social contact with their enemies. The only ones they were likely to meet were prisoners who were made to labour at times in the Anzac position. While most Turkish POWs were taken to the islands, a POW cage was established in the hills behind Anzac Cove. On one occasion Bean observed prisoners in this cage being subjected to threatening behaviour by one or two Anzacs and he ‘wondered why someone hadn’t the decency to hit the man who did it straight in the face’. But generally, the Anzacs recognised in the Turk a fellow sufferer and acknowledged his humanity. In his poem ‘Anzac’ Lieutenant Oliver Hogue wrote:

I reckon the Turk respects us, as we respect the Turk;
Abdul’s a good, clean fighter – we’ve fought him, and we know.

Quinn’s Post


Leave Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery and turn right. Head up the road past Courtney’s and Steele’s Post Cemetery until you reach Quinn’s Post Cemetery which will be on your left. Quinn’s was named after Major Hugh Quinn, 15th Battalion, of Charters Towers, Queensland. Enter the cemetery and find a position where you can look back down to the sea along Monash and Shrapnel Valleys.

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The jutting ridges (spurs) at the end of Monash Valley were seen as the ‘key to Anzac’. For virtually the whole of the campaign the Turks held the spur just to the north of Quinn’s Post where you are now standing – Deadman’s Ridge. From this position, and positions higher up the hill, concealed snipers fired down into the valley below, making movement by day up to Quinn’s and the other posts along the ridge a life threatening undertaking. Quinn’s was also the last trench in an Anzac line stretching up from Brighton Beach, along Bolton’s Ridge, across 400 Plateau at Lone Pine and Johnston’s Jolly and along Second Ridge.

Just across from Quinn’s, to the left of Deadman’s, is another spur that was called Pope’s Hill. The Anzacs held a trench line on this spur. Beyond is Russell’s Top and the Nek and beyond that again the yellow slopes of Sari Bair leading down to the sea at North Beach. The Turkish front line lay on the other side of the road and in certain places approached close to the trenches at Quinn’s. Here the Turks had only to advance a few metres, breach the Anzac line and the whole Anzac area could be lost.

Up until mid-June, the fighting at Quinn’s was of a ferocity and intensity unequalled on any other part of the line. Anzac attacks to push the line forward from the valley crest, bombing duels and aggressive tunneling below ground from both sides gave the post a fearsome reputation:

Men passing the fork in Monash Valley, and seeing and hearing the bombs bursting up at Quinn’s, used to glance at the place (as one of them said), ‘as a man looks at a haunted house’.

[Charles Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p 91]

The importance of this part of the Anzac line was quickly realised and various small parties held on here against Turkish attacks in the days after the landing. On 29 April, Captain Hugh Quinn arrived here with a detachment of Queenslanders from the 15th Battalion just as the Turks were digging in around the head of Monash Valley and across from Quinn’s Post. There now commenced a struggle at Quinn’s that was to continue 24 hours a day for eight months. Part of the incessant danger at Quinn’s lay in the fact that it was overseen by enemy positions on three sides and to raise one’s head here above the parapet of the trench was to invite instant death from ever watchful Turkish riflemen. Periscopes allowed a brief scan of the Turkish line but these too were quickly shot away if not removed in time. The invention of the famous periscope rifle eventually allowed relatively safe and accurate rifle fire to be directed back at the Turkish positions. Wire nets erected above the trenches also held back many of the enemy bombs (hand grenades).

A feature of the fighting at Quinn’s was the bombing. In the early days the advantage here lay with the Turks as the Anzacs possessed no grenades while the Turks had a seemingly endless supply of cricket-ball shaped bombs. An Anzac bomb factory, using explosives packed in bully beef and jam tins, was set up at the beach and although there were never enough of these simple devices produced, the defenders of Quinn’s were at least able to retaliate. If a man was quick enough, Turkish bombs could also be picked up and thrown back. The Turks, however, soon began cutting their fuses shorter and one Australian had his hand blown off before it was realised what was happening. Another method of dealing with the bombs was to throw a thick overcoat over them to stifle the explosion or, if you had real grit, fall upon the bomb with a half-full sandbag.

A particular bomb duel developed at Quinn’s on the night of 13–14 May 1915. The position had just been taken over by the recently arrived 2nd Light Horse Regiment, Queenslanders described by Bean as ‘little more than boys’. In reply to their questions about what it was like in these trenches, a man of the tired garrison of the 15th Battalion replied – ‘You might get a few bombs’. By nightfall the bombs were falling thick and fast on the startled Light Horsemen, driving them back and forward along the trenches. Part of the problem was a communication trench leading out into no-man’s-land that had been used in a previous Anzac attack. It had been blocked up by a sandbag partition but Turkish bombers had been able to approach close to the Australian line on the other side of the sandbags and hurl their missiles with great accuracy. Eventually, ‘a big Queenslander’, David Browning, had had enough. Angered by wounds to both sides of his face, in which particles of iron were imbedded, he got hold of an ‘armful’ of jam tin bombs and went to the Australian side of the sandbag partition. Although like his mates he knew little about using bombs, he lit the fuses and began hurling them across the top of the sandbags. The Turkish bombers were driven away and the Light Horsemen had a more peaceful night.

These few words are a very inadequate account of what it was like to serve at Quinn’s Post. As the English historian, John North, wrote:

The story of the defence of Quinn’s would make an epic in itself … the struggle to hold it was to continue without cessation, night or day, for eight months.

[John North, Gallipoli:The Fading Vision, Faber & Faber, London, 1936, p 211]

Perhaps the best way to get some sense of the nature of war at Quinn’s is to quote Bean’s words describing the environment hereabouts by early June 1915:

Every blade of vegetation had long since been swept away from the crest, where the scorched earth lay bare, tumbled this way and that in pink and brown heaps by the mine craters and trenches.

[Charles Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p 237–238]

Johnston’s Jolly


Go back out of Lone Pine Cemetery and walk down to the main road heading along up the ridge. Turn left and walk to Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery a few hundred metres along the road and to your right. If you had stood here on the morning of 19 May 1915 you would have been surrounded by death. To the Turks this place was Kirmizi Sirt, Crimson Slope.

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By the first week in May 1915, the Anzac line along this ridge had been fairly well established. The Battle of the Landing had temporarily exhausted both sides. Moreover, the landing had failed, for neither the Anzacs nor the British force at Helles had been able to capture the southern part of the Gallipoli peninsula. That had been the whole point of the invasion – to get through to the Dardanelles and silence the Turkish batteries guarding that waterway. Then the Royal Navy, the theory went, could steam on up to Istanbul and terrify Turkey out of the war.

As the Anzacs worked to consolidate their positions, the Turkish commanders planned to drive them from the ridge and back to the sea. They considered the position along Second Ridge as the most vulnerable to attack for here their enemies clung precariously to positions just off the steep slopes of Monash Valley just on the other side of the road opposite Johnston's Jolly. One mighty rush of infantry could send them reeling back down into the valley and once the Turks commanded the whole ridge evacuation would be inevitable. So, on 18 May approximately 42,000 Turkish soldiers were massed in the valleys to the east. But aircraft of the Royal Naval Air Service, flying out of Imroz Island as observation planes for Royal Navy warships, spotted them. At 3.00 am on 19 May, well before dawn, the Anzac trenches well fully manned and awake all along the line in the expectation of a Turkish attack.

Shortly after 3.00 am, the glinting bayonets of Turkish soldiers were observed in the clear night moving in the valley between where you are standing at the Jolly and the next ridge to the north, German Officer’s Ridge. The Australians began firing and by mid-morning had poured 948,000 rifle and machine gun bullets into waves of attacking Turks all along the Anzac line but especially here at 400 Plateau, at German Officer’s and on up the ridge towards Quinn’s Post. One Australian likened the whole event to a ‘wallaby drive’ where the enemy were ‘shot down in droves’ while another talked of how they had stood virtually on top of their trenches ‘shooting as fast as they could’ until gun barrels became too hot to touch. Bean’s words capture the scene in this area by mid-morning 19 May 1915:

… the dead and wounded lay everywhere in hundreds. Many of those nearest to the Anzac line had been shattered by the terrible wounds inflicted by modern bullets at short ranges. No sound came from that terrible space; but here and there some wounded or dying man, silently lying without help or any hope of it under the sun which glared from a cloudless sky, turned painfully from one side to the other, or slowly raised an arm towards heaven.

[Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p 161]

Approximately 3,000 Turks had been killed and another 7,000 wounded. The Anzacs, by comparison, lost 160 killed and 468 wounded. While the Anzacs had been unable to push forward against the Turks, the failure of this attack indicated that the Anzac line would not fall to a rush of infantry against rifles and machine guns. After 19 May the Anzac soldiers began to see the Turks as fellow sufferers and respect for their courage and prowess grew.

Within days of the attack the air was heavy with the smell of rotting corpses. A truce was arranged between 7.00 am and 4.30 pm on 24 May to allow both sides to bury their dead. Prominent in the organisation of the truce was a British officer, Captain Aubrey Herbert, attached to the staff of the Australian and New Zealand Division. On the morning of 24 May, Herbert met and accompanied Turkish officers up the ridge from the beach to 400 Plateau. He found the sight between the trenches and in the gullies ‘indescribable’. So awful was the stench that a Turkish ‘Red Crescent’ official gave him antiseptic wool with scent to put over his nose. The scent was ‘renewed frequently’. A Turkish officer said to Herbert:

At this spectacle even the most gentle must feel savage, and the most savage must weep.

Continuing on up the ridge, Herbert saw for himself the full effect of the Anzac bullets:

They [Turkish dead] fill the myrtle-grown gullies. One saw the result of machine-gun fire very clearly: entire companies annihilated – not wounded, but killed, their heads doubled under them with the impetus of their rush and both hands clasping their bayonets. It was as if God had breathed in their faces …

[Aubrey Herbert, Mons, Anzac and Kut, Hutchinson & Co, 1930]

Lone Pine – Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial


At the end of Artillery Road you will reach what was known as 400 Plateau or simply Lone Pine. You are now on Second Ridge. The path lies through pine trees and out into an open area. Turn right, and walk to the entrance of Lone Pine Cemetery. Once inside, turn left and make your way through the cemetery, go up a small flight of steps and cross to the Lone Pine Memorial.

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From the memorial there is a magnificent view in all directions. To the south-west, to your right, you can see the sweep of Bolton’s Ridge leading down to the sea and beyond the promontory of Gaba Tepe. Looking south, across the flat valley, through which you most likely came to reach Anzac from Eceabat, the land rises again to the hump of Achi Baba in the middle distance. From there, the land falls away to the tip of the peninsula at Helles where the British landings took place on 25 April 1915.

At Anzac, men could hear the artillery fire from Helles. Despite terrible bloodshed on both sides, the British were unable to break through the Turkish lines and they evacuated the position on 9 January 1916. Australians and New Zealanders also fought with great loss at Helles – in the Second Battle of Krithia on 8 May 1915. The Helles cemeteries contain Australian graves and on the Helles Memorial, at the very tip of the peninsula, are recorded the names of Australian soldiers who died at Krithia and whose bodies were either never recovered or could not be identified at burial. On the Helles Memorial are also listed the units of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) that fought at Gallipoli – the only place where this information is recorded on the peninsula – for the Helles Memorial is the British Empire’s tribute to the whole campaign. Every year, thousands of Australians go to Anzac; few visit Helles.

Looking left, back to the east across the valley, you will see the long low rise of Third or Gun Ridge. Throughout the campaign this was behind the Turkish lines although a few Anzacs reached it on 25 April 1915. Looking north-east, Second and Third Ridge merge in the near distance and the slope rises up across Battleship Hill and then more steeply to Chunuk Bair. On that height is the New Zealand Memorial.

Look up to the road outside the cemetery. It bends away from here along Second Ridge past smaller cemeteries that you can pick out in this order – Johnston’s Jolly, Courtney's and Steel's Post and Quinn’s Post. The Anzac trenches ran along this narrow ridge to the left of the road while the Turkish line was just metres away on the other side. Bean described his return to Second Ridge in 1919:

Thus as we rode northwards along this road the trenches were never, except where a gully broke them, more than about fifty yards away on either hand … It gave a strange thrill to ride along this space in front of Steele’s, Courtney’s and Quinn’s where three years before men could not even crawl at night. The bones and tattered uniforms of men were scattered everywhere…

[Charles Bean, Gallipoli Mission, Sydney, 1990, p 50]

In the vicinity of the Lone Pine Memorial there stood on 25 April 1915, in Bean’s words, a ‘single dwarf pine tree’. Within days the tree had been shot away but not before it gave its name to the position, Lone Pine. Within months, Lone Pine had entered Australia’s national story as the site of one of the bloodiest and hardest fought actions of the campaign – the Battle of Lone Pine.

Bare white bones, piled or clustered

Stand on the northern end of the Lone Pine Memorial and look back over the cemetery. Beneath you in 1915 would have been Turkish trenches on the eastern side and roughly at the other end of the cemetery would have been the Anzac lines. If you had been in the Turkish trenches on the afternoon of 6 August 1915 at 5.25 pm you would have had the sun in your eyes and you would have been enduring a fierce artillery barrage from Royal Navy warships offshore and from batteries in the Anzac area.

At precisely 5.30 pm the barrage lifted and, rising from concealed trenches in no-man’s-land and the Anzac line, came the men of New South Wales, soldiers of the 1st Brigade (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions). They charged straight across the area in front of you, meeting Turkish fire. Then they paused. Instead of an enemy trench to jump down into they found much of the front line trenches were covered in sand being held up by timbers. Some men ran on over these covered areas and reached the Turkish communication trenches; others found gaps in this head cover and leapt down into the darkness beneath. The preliminary bombardment had been so fierce that Turkish soldiers holding the front line had moved back into nearby mine galleries for cover and many fled at the sudden appearance of the Australians. By nightfall, most of the enemy front line was in Australian hands and outposts had been established further ahead in former Turkish communication trenches. The Australian Engineers had also dug safe passage across no-man’s-land and reinforcements were able to come over without exposing themselves to Turkish fire. However, the real battle for Lone Pine was just beginning.

Lone Pine was a strong and important position to the Turks. They had not expected such an attack here and the order was quickly given to retake lost positions. For three days and nights Australians and Turks struggled in the trenches and dark tunnels of Lone Pine until the area was choked with the wounded, dying and dead:

The wounded bodies of both Turks and our own … were piled up 3 and 4 deep … the bombs simply poured in but as fast as our men went down another would take his place. Besides our own wounded the Turks’ wounded lying in our trench were cut to pieces with their own bombs. We had no time to think of our wounded … their pleas for mercy were not heeded … Some poor fellows lay for 30 hours waiting for help and many died still waiting.

[Private John Gammage, 1st Battalion, quoted in Les Carlyon, Gallipoli, Sydney, 2001, p 360]

Lone Pine was a battle of bombs, bullets and bayonets fought to defend sandbag walls built by both sides to block up a trench at the forward most point of the advance or counter attack. The Australians tried to hold what they had taken; the Turks fought equally determinedly to expel them from it.

The action at one spot was typical of the fighting at Lone Pine. Lieutenant Frederick Tubb, 7th Battalion, of Longwood, Victoria, defended a position with eight men against a Turkish onslaught. As the enemy bombs fell upon them, Tubb told his men to smother them with Turkish greatcoats that lay about the trench. Some Turks broke through but were shot or bayoneted; others that tried to crawl in the open around the position were also killed. Tubb was everywhere, firing his revolver and leading by example. Slowly, men who were trying to catch and return bombs were being wounded. Corporal Frederick Wright, 7th Battalion, of Melbourne, clutched at a bomb that burst in his face killing him. Corporal Harry Webb, described by Bean as ‘an orphan from Essendon’, had both hands blown off, walked back out of the action and died. Bombs continued to burst and four more men were killed or wounded.

Eventually, only Tubb, wounded in his arm and scalp, and two others, Corporals William Dunstan of Ballarat and Alexander Burton of Euroa, were left. A violent explosion blew down the Australian sandbag wall. Tubb drove the Turks back while Dunstan and Burton strove to rebuild the barrier when another bomb went off, killing Burton and blinding Dunstan. At that point reinforcements arrived, the position was saved and the Turks pulled back. 

When it was all over, Burton, Tubb and Dunstan, along with four other Australians, were awarded Victoria Crosses for their outstanding courage at Lone Pine. Many more men received other bravery decorations. The battle, which raged here between 6 and 9 August, cost Australia more than 2,000 casualties and the Turks somewhere in the region of 7,000. The whole action had been mounted as a diversion to keep Turkish attention and reserves focused on Lone Pine while the main battle to the north – to capture Chunuk Bair – was being waged by New Zealand, British, Indian and Gurkha forces. While Chunuk Bair did not fall, Lone Pine was a success for the Anzacs – but a success won at great cost.

All of this occurred in the vicinity of the Lone Pine Memorial. Because of the losses incurred here between 25 April and 3 May and during the days of the Lone Pine battle, it was decided to build Australia’s principal memorial on Anzac at this spot. To the Turks, Lone Pine was Kanli Sirt – Bloody Ridge – and when, shortly after the end of the war in 1918, an unnamed British visitor came to this ridge he saw everywhere the evidence of the blood that had been spilt there:

On the tumbled soil of the trenches lay the bare white bones, piled or clustered so thickly in places that we had to tread upon them as we passed.

[Visitor to Lone Pine in December 1918, quoted in John North,Gallipoli: The Fading Vision London, 1936, p 219]

Artillery Road – Shell Green


About half a kilometre along the Brighton Beach road, on the left, is a directional brown and yellow sign. It points up an unpaved road – Artillery Road as it was known to the Anzacs – to Shell Green Cemetery. Follow this road uphill, stopping at Shell Green, to Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial. As you come through a small area of pines at the end of the road, you will find the entry to Lone Pine off up to your right.

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Audio transcript

The way up Artillery Road is the way to Second Ridge (the first ridge was considered to be the ridge leading down from Plugge’s Plateau to the coast behind Anzac Cove) and the Anzac front line. Behind the ridge and along the side of the road were many dugouts and rest positions where units could be stationed when not in the trenches. The ridge, also known during the campaign as Bolton’s Ridge, stretches down to the sea at Brighton Beach and the end of the Anzac line in 1915.

Reinforcements, and men returning from temporary rest camps on Imroz and Lemnos islands, would have walked the same route you have just taken from Anzac Cove to reach units stationed in this area. This is to the right of the ‘old Anzac’ line held by the infantry battalions of the 3rd Brigade (9th, 10th, 11th and 12thBattalions) and, from early June 1915, the regiments of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade (5th Light Horse, Queensland; 6th Light Horse, NSW; 7th Light Horse, NSW).

As the name Artillery Road suggests, there were also a number of batteries of the Australian Field Artillery stationed in these hills. Originally, the road only reached as far as Shell Green Cemetery. In preparation for the August Offensive thousands of soldiers, mainly British, were brought to Anzac and hidden in newly constructed dugouts on terraces along the hills.

During this period, Artillery Road was widened and extended up the hill to just behind the Lone Pine position on the ridge. The hard work of road building had to be done by the Anzacs themselves and this daily grind, called ‘fatigues’, was the reality of war at Anzac:

You must not imagine that life in one of these year-long modern battles consists of continuous bomb fighting, bayoneting and bombarding all the time … [the] chief occupation is the digging of mile upon mile of endless sap [trench], of sunken road … The carrying of biscuit boxes and building timbers for hours daily … the sweeping and disinfecting of trenches in the never ending battle against flies – this is the soldier's life for nine days out of ten in a modern battle.

[Charles Bean, dispatch, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 2 December 1915, p.3058]

The flies were everywhere, breeding in millions in the bad sanitary conditions, piles of food scraps and rotting corpses. The smell was something a veteran never forgot. Trooper Ion Idriess, 5th Light Horse, spent much of his time at Gallipoli here on Bolton’s Ridge and the rest positions behind it. Like others, he lived mainly on a diet of tinned bully beef, tea, sugar, biscuits and jam. So hard were these biscuits that it was not uncommon for men to break teeth on them. The easiest way to deal with the biscuits was to grate them and turn the resultant mush into a sort of porridge. Idriess recalled a particularly foul dinner of biscuits and jam:

Immediately I opened the tin the flies rushed the jam. They buzzed like a swarm of bees. They swarmed that jam, all fighting among themselves. I wrapped my overcoat over the tin and gouged out the flies, then spread the biscuit, held my hand over it, and drew the biscuit out of the coat. But a lot of the flies flew into my mouth and beat about inside. Finally, I threw the tin over the parapet. I nearly howled with rage … Of all the bastards of places this is the greatest bastard in the world.

[Ion Idriess, The Desert Column, Sydney, 1982, p 42]

Behind the names on the gravestones at Shell Green Cemetery, off to your right about half-way up Artillery Road, are many touching stories. In Plot 2, Row G, Grave 23 lies Private Roy Facey, 11th Battalion, age 23, from Subiaco, Western Australia. Roy came to Gallipoli in June 1915 to join his brother Albert Facey who was already serving in the battalion. Albert, as the older brother, put in a request to move to Roy’s company and was looking forward to being with his brother with whom he ‘always got along well’. The reunion never took place. On 28 June 1915, both Roy and Albert took part in an attack and Albert later wrote about what happened:

… on arriving back I was told that Roy had been killed. He and his mate had been killed by the same shell. This was a terrible blow to me. I had lost a lot of my mates and seen a lot of men die, but Roy was my brother … I helped to bury Roy and fifteen of our mates who had been killed on the twenty-eighth. We put them in a grave side by side on the edge of a clearing we called Shell Green. Roy was in pieces when they found him. We put him together as best we could – I can remember carrying a leg – it was terrible.

[Albert Facey, A Fortunate Life, 1984, p 273]

Brighton Beach – Coast Road


From Shrapnel Valley Cemetery go back to the main beach road. Turn left and walk along this road for about half a kilometre. Ahead of you will be the promontory of Gaba Tepe and to your right the shore known to the Anzacs as Brighton Beach named after the beach of the same name east of Melbourne.

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Audio transcript

In his official history The Story of Anzac, Volume 1, Charles Bean has a chapter entitled ‘Landing at Gaba Tepe’. It reminds us that the Anzac landing was originally planned for this beach stretching southwards from Hell Spit to the promontory of Gaba Tepe ahead of you. Just before dawn on 25 April 1915, the four battalions of the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade, known as the ‘Covering Force’, were to come ashore here and move rapidly inland to positions along what was known as Third or Gun Ridge. The 11th Battalion (Western Australia) would advance up and across the ridges in a north easterly direction to Battleship Hill; the 10th Battalion (South Australia) would make straight inland to Gun Ridge; and the 9th Battalion (Queensland) would land well south along the beach, split into two groups, one heading inland to the end of Gun Ridge and the other a little inland and then south to charge and take Turkish gun positions on Gaba Tepe. The 12th Battalion would land just south of Hell Spit and act as a reserve. Then the 2nd Brigade would land and push along the northern shore and inland to the heights of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971. The objective for the whole force that day was a hill known as Mal Tepe, well inland towards the other side of the peninsula from where they would command the road south towards the forts guarding the Narrows of the Dardanelles. With such a position in their hands the Anzacs would be able to cut off Turkish reinforcements heading south towards the main British landings at Helles which took place a little after dawn on 25 April 1915.

As we know, for the Anzacs none of this came to pass. They landed further to the north and during that first day’s fighting were held by the Turks to the ‘old Anzac’ area. As you can see, the country facing them inland of Brighton Beach was not as rugged as what they encountered at North Beach and Anzac Cove. The casualties suffered by the 3rd Brigade that day were high. It is thought, however, that casualties would have been even higher had they landed at Brighton Beach. Turkish guns at Gaba Tepe and artillery a little further back at a position the Anzacs later called the ‘Olive Grove’ could have decimated them as they came ashore.

During the campaign Brighton Beach was really a backwater. Men came down here to swim always in danger from Turkish snipers and shells, as they were at the other Anzac beaches. As Anzac Cove became overcrowded in the days after the landing, a stores depot was established at Brighton Beach at the mouth of Shrapnel Gully. Great stacks of boxes and other stores rose at this position and the space between Hell Spit and the beach was soon strewn with timber, barbed wire and all sorts of other engineering material. The Indian Mule Cart Company, renowned for their transporting of water and other supplies up into the hills on mules or along the shore in small two-wheeled carts, initially established themselves in this area. Shelling became severe but it was decided that this depot must be maintained as a more convenient spot than Anzac Cove to pick up stores for men coming from the southern Anzac trenches. The great stacks of boxes were carefully arranged to hide those working there and to allow some protection from shrapnel.

On 22 May 1915 an extraordinary event occurred on Brighton Beach. At a point about a third the way along the beach from Hell Spit the ‘old Anzac’ position came down to the sea. Here was a sandbag wall and, reaching out into the water in front of it, two trip-wire entanglements. On the morning of 22 May, a white flag was seen on Gaba Tepe. The Australians had no white flag but someone quickly brought up a beach towel to serve. Turkish envoys then came along the beach towards the trip-wire where they were met by Australian officers. They had come to negotiate a truce to allow the thousands of Turkish dead along the frontline from their attack of 19 May to be buried. A Turkish officer was eventually blindfolded and led along the beach towards the trip-wires. Charles Bean was watching:

They directed his feet carefully over the first one … They shouted for coats to help him cross the second; but in the meantime someone had a brainwave. There were several Australians bathing … nearby. Someone rushed off for a stretcher – then they called the bathers. Two of these big Australians – naked as the day they were born – took the stretcher round the larger entanglement ... And I got three photographs! 

[Bean, quoted in Frontline Gallipoli:C E W Bean’s diary from the trenches, Kevin Fewster, Sydney, 1990, p 112]

Presumably it was thought not the done thing to allow this high-ranking Turkish officer to get his feet wet!

Shrapnel Valley Cemetery


Leave Hell Spit by walking back through Beach Cemetery and to the unpaved road. Turn right and keep going until you meet the main paved road. Turn left back towards Anzac Cove and walk along for a few metres. You will see a sign for Shrapnel Valley Cemetery. Turn right down the track until you arrive at the cemetery and then walk through it and look up the valley.

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Audio transcript

Shrapnel Valley was the main route up from the beach area to the Anzac frontline on the ridge you can see in the distance. Up there were the famous posts – Quinn’s, Courtney’s and Steele’s Posts which you will reach later in the walk. Further along the valley splits in two. Off to the right, behind the posts, runs Monash Valley called after Brigadier General John Monash, commander of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade.

A gloomy, narrow valley all tortuous and fissured

Shrapnel Valley (sometimes called Shrapnel Gully) got its name in the early days after the landing. As the Turks realised that this had become the highway to the front their guns rained shrapnel shells down upon this area. These shells made a particular whistle before they burst showering those below with lethal pellets. It was said that as the shells could be heard coming soldiers passing through the valley had the chance to take cover. Confronted with such danger, Bean wrote that men became ‘fatalists’ and thought that a particular shell had a man’s name and number on it! – ‘Until that shell arrived, it was best to let others see them going proudly rather than flinching’.

On the night of 18–19 May 1915, the men of the recently arrived 5th Light Horse Regiment from Queensland made their way into Shrapnel Valley. The Light Horsemen filed along a trench leading from the beach through the hills and came out in what Trooper Ion Idriess described as ‘a gloomy, narrow valley all tortuous and fissured as it wound through a sort of basin at the bottom of the big, somber hills’. Here they spent an uneasy night making their way forward with shrapnel shells exploding above them and Turkish bullets zipping past – ‘we were hurrying somewhere to kill men and be killed’. As they moved forward, the regimental doctor, a Boer War veteran, taught them how to survive. Every so often he would inexplicably duck down and Idriess and others were soon copying him as he seemed to have a sense of when the shells were on their way:

We all crouched by the roadside, among the bushes, by something solid or in a sheltering hole. A man near me sighed as he found a shallow dugout. For an hour we lived there, clinging to cold mother earth … my body was alertly passive, but the mind was curiously thinking, ‘So this is War!’

[Ion Idriess, The Desert Column, Sydney, 1982, p 8]

Many an Anzac was introduced to war as he moved up these valleys to the ridge. For virtually the whole of the campaign, but especially in the early weeks, further up Shrapnel Valley where it turned to the right and became Monash Valley, Turkish snipers killed or wounded hundreds of men. The Turks held the high ground at places like Dead Man’s Ridge and the Bloody Angle and were never driven from it. Stretcher-bearers, and soldiers bringing up supplies, rations and water, were in constant danger as they made their way along the valley bottom. This sniping was at its worst during the early hours of daylight when the sun was behind the Turkish marksmen. It was while doing his duty in Monash and Shrapnel valleys on 19 May 1915 that the best known Anzac of all – ‘The Man with the Donkey – met his death.

Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, 3rd Field Ambulance, was an Englishman with a thick accent from his home town of South Shields, County Durham. He worked the slopes here bringing wounded men down to the beach on a donkey (he apparently used two beasts known as ‘Murphy’ and ‘Duffy’). He was a hard worker, the war diary of the 3rd Field Ambulance describing how from the day after the landing Simpson had operated ‘from early morning till night every day since’. Bean claimed that Simpson became especially fatalistic and paid little attention to the shelling and sniping along his route from the ridge to the beach. On the morning of 19 May, he passed up beyond a water guard post where he generally had his breakfast but, as it was not ready, he pressed on saying, ‘Never mind. Get me a good dinner when I get back’. He never came back:

Poor old Scotty Simpson was killed by machine gun bullets in Shrapnel Gully this morning … Scotty Simpson will be much missed with his mates in Shrapnel Gully … his donkeys Murphy and Duffy were taken charge of by some of our 4th Field [Ambulance] stretcher bearers who happened to be near him when he fell. Buried in cemetery to right of Anzac Beach.

[Sergeant James McPhee, 4th Field Ambulance, quoted in Peter Cochrane, Simpson and the Donkey:The Making of Legend, Melbourne, 1992, p 43]  

Simpson’s grave is in Beach Cemetery in Plot 1, Row F, Grave 1. At the time his exploits were not much known beyond the confines of Shrapnel and Monash valleys. Indeed, there were any number of stretcher bearers all over the Anzac position who daily saved men’s lives while constantly endangering their own. Nevertheless, it is the story of Simpson and his work with donkeys in Shrapnel Valley which over the years has grown to be almost the story which Australians know about Anzac.

Hell Spit


From the ‘Anzac Cove’ sign make your way along the coastal path to Beach Cemetery. Walk through the cemetery and look out to sea.

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Audio transcript

The Anzacs gave the name Hell Spit to this area, the southern point of Anzac Cove. On a clear day you will have directly in front of you the Turkish island of Imroz (Imbros in 1915, as it was largely a Greek island then) and off to the north-west the Greek island of Samothrace. It was on Samothrace that pieces of a statue of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, were discovered. The pieces were reassembled and today form one of the most famous sights of the Louvre Museum in Paris – the headless Winged Victory of Samothrace. The sun sets behind these Aegean islands and during the Gallipoli campaign the beauty of these sunsets produced many lyrical descriptions from Australian soldiers:

Away about fifteen miles off our position are two mountainous islands, Imbros and Samothrace. The sun goes below the sea’s horizon just off the northern end of the latter throwing them both, great jagged peaks, into silhouette on a crimson background. The sea is nearly always like oil and as the crimson path streams across the water the store ships, hospital ships, torpedo boats and mine sweepers stand out jet black. God, it’s just magnificent!

[The Gallipoli Diary of Sergeant Lawrence of the Australian Engineers, Sir Ronald East (ed), Melbourne 1983, p 35]

Health to the Navy, that took us there and away

Looking out to sea at Hell Spit we can image the activity in the stretch of water between here and the islands during the eight months of the Gallipoli campaign. As the phrase above from Lieutenant Oliver Hogue’s poem ‘Anzac’ suggests, the men of the British Royal Navy and Merchant Marine were a central part of the whole Anzac story. Without them there would have been no landing, no ongoing naval bombardment support, no supply of food and fighting material, no removal of the sick and wounded and no successful evacuation at the end.

At most times the sea between Anzac and the islands was full of warships and other vessels. Standing here after mid-June 1915, you might have seen the little North Sea trawler (fishing boat) which brought fresh bread across from the Australian Field Bakeries on Imroz to Anzac. Wood to fuel the bakery ovens was brought from all over the islands of the Aegean, supplied by Greek contractors, but especially from Mount Athos. At one point over 14,500 bread rations were arriving every day.

The men of the Royal Navy also turned up at Anzac Cove as members of naval beach parties. At the beach soldiers could buy food items that were rare on Anzac, such as eggs and condensed milk, from the sailors who were able to obtain them from the islands. The cases of  exploded Turkish shrapnel were also used as currency. As Charles Bean observed,  ‘The man who brought down a shell case, when duty brought him to the beach, knew that it was as good as a loaf to take back again’. The sailors in one battleship, the Prince of Wales, were known for keeping many an Anzac supplied with cigarettes for free.

In charge of the comings and goings of the little ships from the piers was Lieutenant Commander Edward Cater. The Commander could often be heard bawling himself hoarse through a megaphone:

… [directing] the incoming barges to their proper piers and [superintending] the Anzac Beach parties in making them fast – no easy matter, where the only illumination for the whole bay and its foreshores was the light of the stars, or a rare stable lantern swinging in the hand of one of these officers or tucked behind some stack of provisions where work was active.

[Charles Bean, Story of Anzac, Vol 2, p 352]

In the style of many British officers of the period Cater wore a monocle. The story goes that Australian soldiers would mockingly approach Cater, ‘the Bloke with the Eye Glass’, with their identity discs in their eye-sockets. Relishing the joke, he would take his monocle out, throw it in the air, catch it in his eye-socket and respond – ‘Do that, you blighters’. Cater was killed by shellfire as he was running out to help the crew of a small steamboat which had been hit and was sinking off a pier at Anzac Cove. His remains lie in Plot 2, Row G, Grave 5 behind you in Beach Cemetery. 

Also visible daily from Hell Spit were the hospital ships, painted white and with a Red Cross on their sides. A constant stream of trawlers and steamboats towing rowing boats and barges made regular trips to the hospital ships carrying sick and wounded. Chivalrously, the Turks never usually deliberately fired on these medical vessels, but inevitably many stray bullets found their way out to sea towards the hospital ships. On 11 August 1915, Sister Daisy Richmond, Australian Army Nursing Service, was on the deck of a hospital ship off Anzac:

We are well under fire many bullets coming on the decks. I was speaking to one boy, moved away to another patient when a bullet hit him and lodged in the thigh. I just missed.

[Sister Daisy Richmond, diary, 11 August 1915, Australian War Memorial 2 DRL/0783]

Undoubtedly, the most dramatic naval sight to be observed from Anzac was that of a Royal Navy warship shelling Turkish positions. The navy lent regular support to Anzac operations from the very beginning of the campaign and an unforgettable sight would have been a naval bombardment at night using searchlights. If you look down the coast to your left you can see the promontory of Gaba Tepe (Rough Hill). In early newspaper reports the landing of 25 April was referred to as the Gaba Tepe landing. In the darkness, if you had stood at Hell Spit and looked towards Gaba Tepe this might have been the scene:

… just after dusk a destroyer creeps right in upon our flank and lies there, black and silent. Suddenly, without warning, a vivid white streak shoots out from here and stretches across to the shore … Her light travels slowly up and down along the beach and the rising ground with their [the Turks] trenches are behind it; sometimes it stops stationary upon one point for a minute or so; see how plainly everything stands out, trees, sandbags and patches of scrub. Round goes the light until it lights up Gaba Tepe. There is a vivid spurt of flame from the inky blackness; then comes the sharp, ‘whouf’, ‘bang’ of the gun, a short and sudden roar, then crash! and up go showers of red sparks from – no, not Gaba Tepe, but the opposite end of their track. Then immediately the light is switched round on to that spot and then click and she is out again. A few more minutes and out it flashes, rests a second or so on a certain spot and then bang! bang! bang! go the guns.

[The Gallipoli Diary of Sergeant Lawrence of the Australian Engineers, Sir Ronald East (ed), Melbourne 1983, p 124]

Anzac Cove


From Ari Burnu point walk back through the cemetery to the road. Notice to your right here the Turkish memorial.

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Audio transcript

On the Turkish memorial are words attributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, President of Turkey, sent in 1934 to an official Australian, New Zealand and British party visiting Anzac Cove:

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.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away 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.

In 1915, Kemal was one of the Turkish divisional commanders at Gallipoli and was particularly noted for his fighting leadership during the Battle of the Landing and during the August Offensive.

Your way now leads south around Anzac Cove. You can also head along the beach itself but when you reach the end it will be a scramble to get back up to the road. Stop by the memorial at the southern end of the cove with the Turkish words ‘Anzak Koyu’ (Anzac Cove). In 1985, the Turkish Government agreed to the official naming of this place as ‘Anzac Cove’. In return the Australian Government named a stretch of Lake Burley Griffin at the end of Anzac Parade in the national capital ‘Gallipoli Reach’. A section of Princes Royal Harbour in Albany, Western Australia was also named ‘Atatürk Entrance’ in memory of the first convoy that left Australia in November 1914 for the war in Europe. Many of the men on those ships, Australians and New Zealanders, later became part of the Anzac Corps and landed here at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. They were the original Anzacs.

And a little rotting pier

During the Gallipoli campaign there was no better-known place than Anzac Cove. It received this name as early as 29 April 1915, by request of the commander of the Anzac Corps, Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood. Sometime after June 1915, a photograph of the cove appeared in Australian newspapers, a blunder, Bean felt, that would have given ‘priceless intelligence’ to the enemy artillery officers had it ever reached them!  Like no other spot on Gallipoli, Anzac Cove has become the image of Anzac. This is not surprising. Something like 50,000 Australians fought at Gallipoli and, although there were other landing places, the great majority of them landed here. That was certainly true of those who served between April and August 1915 in the ‘old Anzac’ area. Consequently, thousands of families all over Australia had a son or husband who knew something of Anzac Cove.

Bean records that some 27,000 Australian, New Zealand, British and Indian troops were put ashore in Anzac Cove between 25 April and 1 May 1915. While the great majority of these troops were Australians and New Zealanders there were also units that many in Australia today have never heard of. Among them were the Ceylon Planter’s Rifle Corps, the Indian Mule Cart Transport, the Zion Mule Corps, the 7th Indian Mountain Artillery and about 2,500 men of the British Royal Naval Division, Chatham, Portsmouth, Nelson and Deal Battalions. All of these units fought alongside the Anzacs. Indeed, it was a 33-year-old Englishman, Lance Corporal Walter Parker, Portsmouth Battalion, Royal Naval Division, who gained the first Victoria Cross awarded at Anzac for his bravery under fire between 30 April and 2 May.

For eight months between April and December 1915, Anzac Cove became, in Bean’s words, Anzac ‘city’:

We are never likely to see anything like it again in history, for two reasons. For one thing, it is the complete base for an army, which you can take in with a single glance; stacks of every sort of supply – biscuits, cheeses, fodder, disinfectant, beef, sugar; ordnance stores – clothing, cans, boots, carts, spare wheels, engineer’s stores of every sort, great beams and baulks, rails – every one of the great accumulation of things an army wants.

[Charles Bean, official despatch, Gaba Tepe 28 June 1915, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 97, 26 August 1915, p 1635]

Crawling up the hillsides above the ‘city’ were the ‘business suburbs’.  In Anzac Gully behind the beach was Corps Headquarters and the dugout of the Corps commander, Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood. Sir William could be seen most days swimming in the blue waters of the cove like thousands of other men who worked on the beach or who had come down in some ‘fatigue’ party from other parts of Anzac to fetch and carry materials back to their own positions.

But Turkish gunners had an almost precise fix on Anzac Cove and many men were killed or wounded in the beach area or in the water by bursting shrapnel shells. Most of these came from a gun battery christened ‘Beachy Bill’. It was estimated that during the campaign over 1,000 men were killed or wounded in Anzac Cove by ‘Beachy Bill’ alone. So constant was it you had to get used to the shelling and, where possible, even find it funny. Sergeant Cyril Lawrence, 2nd Field Company, Australian Engineers, went swimming in the cove on the evening of 10 June 1915 when ‘Beachy Bill’ opened up:

There were hundreds on the beach and one of the shells burst over a latrine up on the hillside. The men sit on this, which is just a beam supported at each end over a long hole, like a lot of sparrows on a perch. There is nothing to hide them from the view and they look extremely funny to see all their bare bums in a row … one burst over this latrine. In the scatter that followed, none waited to even pull their trousers up. The roar of laughter that went up could have been heard for miles. It’s only these little humorous happenings that keep things going here.

[The Gallipoli Diary of Sergeant Lawrence of the Australian Engineers, Sir Ronald East (ed), Melbourne 1983, pp 27–8]

So effective was the shelling of the cove that it determined movement by the little transport ships running supplies into the pier, Watson’s Pier, constructed under the supervision of Major Stanley Watson, 1st Australian Division Signals Company. Approach to the pier by day became an almost suicidal matter so from early June all reinforcements were landed by night.

After the evacuation of December 1915 Anzac ‘city’ disappeared rapidly. When Bean visited here in early 1919, just three years later, he found that everything moveable had been cleared by the Turks – ‘Now nothing stirred except the waves gently lapping on the shingle and a few of the piles of our old piers gently swaying in the swell’. Two white steel lifeboats used to land troops were also on the beach and Bean had one of them shipped back to Australia where it is on display in the Introductory Gallery of the Australian War Memorial. Of all the descriptions of Anzac Cove none is perhaps more evocative than that of soldier-poet Leon Gellert. Gellert landed here on 25 April 1915 with the 10th Battalion, South Australia, and was evacuated in July with dysentery:

Anzac Cove
There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks:
There’s a beach asleep and drear:
There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea.
There are sunken trampled graves:
And a little rotting pier:
And winding paths that wind unceasingly.
There’s a torn and silent valley;
There’s a tiny rivulet
With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.
There are lines of buried bones:
There’s an unpaid waiting debt:
There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the south.

North Beach Anzac Commemorative Site


Your Anzac Walk begins at the Anzac Commemorative Site of North Beach. Move to the inscription 'Anzac' on the wall above the beach. Now turn and look at the remarkable landscape around you taking in the ridge above.

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Audio transcript

Charles Bean, whom you will meet many times on this Anzac Walk through the words he wrote as Australia’s official war correspondent and later as official war historian, has described this spot:

The ridge led down to the sea in only two places – at either end of the semicircle – by the steep slopes of Plugge’s [Plateau] on the right, and by a tortuous spur (afterwards known as Walker’s Ridge) on the left. Between the two, exactly in the middle of the semicircle of cliffs, there had once been a third spur, but the weather had eaten it away. Its bare gravel face stood out, for all the world like that of a Sphinx, sheer above the middle of the valley … To the Australians from that day [25 April 1915] it was the Sphinx.

[Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol 1, Sydney, 1935, pp 267–8]

So the Anzacs on 25 April 1915, the day of the landing, arriving almost straight from their training camps in Egypt beneath the Pyramids and the Sphinx, claimed Gallipoli by naming its physical features for themselves. Admittedly, they knew little of the local Turkish names. Walker’s Ridge they called after Brigadier General Harold Walker who took over the command of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade on the day of the landing. To the Turks it was Sparrow Hill and the Anzacs built a road, long since disappeared, up its sides to the trenches on the ridge. Plugge’s Plateau (Cruel Hill to the Turks), the high flat-topped hill to your right, was named for Colonel Arthur Plugge, commander of the Auckland Battalion who had his headquarters there.

Moored at William’s Pier is a self-propelled hospital barge, known on Gallipoli as a ‘beetle’. Beetles, with conspicuous red crosses painted on their sides, carried wounded men out to nearby hospital ships. Just beneath where the cameraman is standing are the tents of the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital, a unit that had moved to Anzac from Lemnos Island in early November 1915 when it was still anticipated that Gallipoli would be held throughout the winter. In the distance are the tents of the 16th British Casualty Clearing Station.

The Sphinx was really an outcrop of the Sari Bair range that runs all the way up from the beach south of Anzac Cove to Koja Temen Tepe (Hill of the Great Pasture), the highest point on this part of Gallipoli. The Sphinx was Yusuk Tepe, High Hill, and the yellow eroded slopes all around it were known as Sari Bair (Yellow Ridge). The Anzacs used the name Sari Bair for the whole range to Koja Temen Tepe. Of all the names given by the Anzacs to the features hereabouts only that of the Sphinx is still used by local people today.

To relieve the soldiers from work at the beaches and piers over 400 Egyptian and Maltese civilian labourers were brought to Anzac along with some older recruits of the British Army Service Corps. Bean records that they suffered greatly in the conditions of Gallipoli and that foolishly their camp was placed in a position on North Beach where it was open to enemy sniping and shelling.

In January 1919, Bean returned to Anzac with the war artist George Lambert. He wanted Lambert to paint a huge canvas showing the landing and, fortunately for them, they had a guide – Lieutenant Hedly Howe – who knew exactly what had happened to him on that historic morning and where the events had taken place. Howe was now working with the Anzac Section of a British Graves Registration unit. But as Private Howe, on 25 April 1915, he had come ashore in a Royal Navy rowing boat along with most of the 11th Battalion from Western Australia on the beach to your right just beneath Plugge’s Plateau. In one boat was a young Royal Navy Midshipman – ‘a red-headed slip of a boy’ – who, as his boat grounded, pulled out his revolver and, clambering over the backs of the astonished Australians, shouted ‘Come on, my lads’! After he was a way up the beach he pulled himself up, realising it was his duty to go back out to the transports with his boat.

The Australian and New Zealand soldiers of the ANZAC Corps were camped beneath the pyramids in the months before they went to Gallipoli and it is easy to see why they gave the name ‘Sphinx’ to the prominent landform above North Beach.

Howe led Bean and Lambert back to that very spot on North Beach where he had landed. Then they climbed, just as the men of the 11th Battalion had done, up towards Plugge’s Plateau. Bullets had then been landing around them from the heights and Howe remembered seeing two men – Turks – silhouetted against the growing dawn on the plateau. As they came out on to its flat top after about 15 minutes climb, Turkish soldiers were running back off it down into the valley beyond. And so Lambert painted that scene – the West Australians, some wounded and falling back, others pulling their way up the scrub-covered slope of Plugge’s, with the dawn breaking and the coming light touching the yellow earth of the Sphinx.

Lambert's painting, Anzac, the Landing 1915, inspired by the grandeur of the scene here at North Beach and the story of the first minutes of the 11th Battalion's experience at Anzac, hangs today in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. A reproduction of it can be seen in one of the history panels at the Anzac Commemorative Site. These panels are located on the wall opposite you at the top of the pathway. Read the text in these panels before you set out on the rest of the Anzac Walk. They will provide you with a good general account of the whole Gallipoli campaign at Anzac.

After the so-called Battle of the Landing that lasted until 3 May 1915, North Beach became a relatively quiet spot. Men came down here to swim from the frontline trenches on the ridge above at Russell’s Top and the Nek. Those positions, and others further north at the so-called ‘outposts’, were held for most of the campaign by New Zealand units and Australian Light Horsemen. The outposts marked the northern limits of the ‘old Anzac’ area and they were reached from the northern end of Anzac Cove through a long, deep trench, that cut right across the back of North Beach, known as the ‘Big Sap’. Such a trench was necessary as Turkish snipers could fire on much of the North Beach area. After the ‘August Offensive’ of 6–10 August 1915, a large area of the range to the north of North Beach fell to the British Empire forces. North Beach then became a major base area with mountains of stores, a post office and a tent hospital. Two piers, Williams’ and Walkers’, were built to handle the unloading of barges and other small craft. Williams’ Pier ran offshore virtually opposite where the commemorative wall now stands and it was from here, on the morning of 20 December 1915, that the last Australian soldiers left Anzac at the final evacuation. From first to last the Sphinx had witnessed it all.


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The old Ottoman fort of Kumkale lies 5 kilometres from the ruins of ancient Troy and 45 kilometres south of Çanakkale. The fort dates from the 17th century and was built as part of the outer defences of the Straits. From the Kumkale area there are fine views to Gallipoli, and throughout the campaign Turkish batteries hereabouts bombarded Allied positions at Helles. One gun in particular, known as ‘Asiatic Annie’, caused many casualties among the French, whose positions stretched from Morto Bay down to Seddülbahir. The French commander, General Henri Gouraud, was himself blown over a wall at Seddülbahir and severely injured by a shell literally fired from Asia.

The British began their interest in Kumkale with an unsucessful bombardment on 19 February 1915. They followed this up on 25 February with a bit more success, their warships staying out of range as they pounded the area. To complete the destruction of the guns, a party of Royal Marines was landed on 26 February, along with a naval demolition group led by Lieutenant Eric Robinson. It was not all plain sailing for the British: Turkish resistance mounted and Robinson could legitimately have abandoned the expedition. Then a solitary figure in white uniform was seen ‘strolling around by himself’ up what was known as Achilles Mound, the supposed tomb of the Greek hero of the Trojan war. It was Robinson, who, under heavy fire, proceeded to calmly blow up two guns there. For this, and later acts of courage, Robinson received the Victoria Cross, the first such award of the Gallipoli campaign. One Royal marine, Sergeant Ernest Turnbull, was killed, making him perhaps the first Allied soldier to die in the struggle for the Dardanelles.

Kumkale saw considerable action on 25 April 1915 when a French force landed as a diversion from the main landings on Gallipoli. Later Kumkale was visited by an American journalist, Granville Fortescue, who wrote that the Turkish soldiers he saw there were a ‘grim impressive lot’. ‘Watching the serious earnestness with which ... [they] go through their drill’, Fortescue concluded, ‘leaves an impression boding no good for the Allies they may fight’.

Historical Background: Cape Helles to Çanakkale – sites of history and legend

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Those who fought at the Dardanelles in 1915 were surrounded by great natural beauty. Sergeant Cyril Lawrence, of the Australian Engineers, wrote of how Gallipoli’s ‘very wildness and ruggedness grips you’. When the British warships shelled Fort Dardanos, on the Asian shore of the Straits, shards of pottery and masonry flew up in the shell explosions from the remains of the ancient Greek city of the same name.

Indeed, the Dardanelles is dotted with historic sites. South of Çanakkale are the ruins of the city of Troy, made famous by the poet Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. In 482 BC, King Xerxes of Persia had two bridges built across the Dardanelles upstream from Çanakkale between the Greek cities of Abydos (Asian shore) and Sestos (European shore) to carry his invading army into Greece. From the European shore in 332 BC, the army of Alexander the Great set off across the Straits on that trail of conquest which led them to India.

This crossing from Abydos to Sestos is also where the legendary Leander swam nightly across the current to his lover, the priestess Hero. When one night she failed to leave a light in her tower to guide him, he drowned. Finding his body next day, Hero threw herself into the waters and perished with him. The English poet Lord Byron and Lieutenant Richard Ekenhead of the Royal Marines emulated Leander’s swim in 1810.

In 1452 the Ottoman Emperor Mehmet II built a fortress, which still stands, on the European shore of the Narrows – Kilitbahir, the ‘Key to the Sea’. Its purpose was to prevent the possibility of reinforcements being sent through the Straits to the aid of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, at Constantinople (modern Istanbul). The city fell to the Turks in 1453 and the rule of the Ottoman emperors from Istanbul began. In 1462, the Ottomans built Çimenlik fort at Çanakkale.

Spread across this area today are also many reminders of that bloody conflict of 1915 which cost the lives of so many soldiers from countries all around the world and which was so significant in the history of modern Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. For the Turks, that struggle is known as the Battle of Çanakkale, and it encompasses their total defence of the Dardanelles, the naval battles of November 1914 to March 1915, and the Gallipoli campaign which began on 25 April 1915. A comprehensive visit to the region would take in places such as the ruins of Seddülbahir at Cape Helles, Anzac Cove at Anzac (so central to the Australian sense of Gallipoli) and the memorials on Chunuk Bair, which tell the story of the New Zealand fight on the heights and the Turkish commander who drove them off. Nor should the Asian shore be neglected. Here Turkey has preserved a replica of the litttle minelayer that helped defeat the Allied fleet on 18 March 1915 and the forts where the Turkish gunners withstood the shelling of the Allied battleships.

This website describes a number of sites on Gallipoli and the Asian shore. Each of them has a story to tell about the struggle for the Straits of the Dardanelles, and from many of the sites superb views are to be had over the peninsula, the Straits, the highlands of western Anatolia and the nearby islands of the Aegean. To visit these places armed with some sense of what happened there is to pay the best tribute possible to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of all countries who fought and died at the Dardanelles during the Battle of Çanakkale.

British Consular Cemetery, Çanakkale

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One of the least-visited places associated with the Battle of Çanakkale is the British Consular Cemetery. The graves here cover a range of periods and events. For example, there are soldiers from the Crimean War (1854–1856) when the Ottoman Empire was allied with Britain and France against Russia, and British troops were stationed on Gallipoli. There is also the grave of an Australian Gallipoli veteran, Basil Wood, who died on a visit in 1965. Interestingly, there are also burials of Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the years 1918–1919. This is a reminder that the Allies occupied the Straits of the Dardanelles in the aftermath of the armistice with the Ottoman Empire (not yet the Republic of Turkey) in October 1918.

But the graves of greatest relevance to the Battle of Çanakkale are those of three young British sailors, all crewmen of the Royal Navy’s submarine E15. Very early on in their efforts to destabilise the Turkish defences at Çanakkale the British began using the submarine, a weapon then in the early stages of development. On 13 December 1914, the Turkish battleship Mesudiye was sunk by the B11, commanded by Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, in Sari Sighlar Bay (Sarisiğlar Koyu) just off Çanakkale. As the British military invasion of Gallipoli approached in April 1915 a determined effort was made to send submarines right through the Dardanelles to wreak havoc with Turkish supply shipping in the Sea of Marmara. The first submarine to try this was the E15, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Theodore Brodie.

Brodie took the E15 submerged through the entrance to the Straits on 17 April 1915. The currents in the Dardanelles presented real problems for these early submarines and the E15 was swept across the Straits and ran aground right beneath the guns of the Dardanos Battery. Brodie was killed by a shell in his conning tower while six other crewmen died from chlorine gas. To prevent the craft from falling into enemy hands the British eventually managed to wreck the submarine with a torpedo. After burial on the beach, Brodie’s body was later removed to the Consular Cemetery.

The Nusret, Çanakkale

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The seafront at Çanakkale is an enchanting place to walk past restaurants, ferries loading and scurrying off across the Straits, and the ‘simit’ sellers with their cartloads of round, sesame seed-covered bread. Out in the Dardanelles flows a procession of tankers, cruise ships, container vessels and numberless other craft. Gallipoli is close, and away to the north-west, high up above this magnificent waterway, is Chunuk Bair with its Turkish and Anzac memorials. Further along the front is a reminder of the stout defence Turkey put up to hold the Dardanelles in 1914 and 1915 – the replica of the minelayer Nusret at the Çanakkale Boğaz Komutanlığı Askeri Müze (Çanakkale Strait Commandery Military Museum).

On the night of 8 March 1915, the Nusret’s commander, Captain Hakki Bey, took his ship into Erenköy Bay, south of Kephes Point. Observers had noticed that French and British battleships would manoeuvre here as they turned to head out of the Straits after a bombardment of the forts. The Allied captains knew about the minefields stretching across the Straits from above the point but assumed Erenköy Bay was safe. Here, the Nusret laid a new line of 26 mines parallel to the shore.

On 18 March 1915, the great Allied flotilla came up and commenced the most intensive bombardment to date aimed at destroying the shore batteries. In the early afternoon, the French warship Bouvet was turning away in Erenköy Bay when there was an explosion, and within minutes the ship had keeled over and sunk, taking 600 men to the bottom. A handful of the crew survived. The sinking was attributed both to one of the Nusret’s mines and to a shell from one of the forts. It was a great morale boost to the Turkish gunners, who had been taking a pounding from the Allied battleships. Two more British warships, HMS Irresistible and HMS Ocean, again both manoeuvring in Erenköy Bay, struck mines and eventually sank. Next day the Allied fleet did not return to the attack and, not surprisingly, the Nusret is regarded as the ‘hero’ ship of the Turkish defence of the Dardanelles.

Fort Dardanos

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When the great Allied fleet of British and French warships came down the Dardanelles on the morning of 18 March 1915, one of the best views of the subsequent battle between the Turkish shore batteries and the fleet would have been from the heights south of Kephes Point. The four first-line British battleships had names rich in historical association. There was the Agamemnon, recalling the warrior king who had led the Greeks against Troy; the Lord Nelson, honouring the most famous admiral in British naval history; the Queen Elizabeth, England’s Queen when the Spanish Armada of 1588 met its fate at the hands of English sailors; and the Inflexible, suggesting the stubborn power of the Royal Navy, guardian of the British Empire.

At 11.30 am the warships opened fire and the noise would have been deafening, echoing around the hills of Gallipoli and the Asian shore. They had come to destroy the Turkish forts, for unless these could be put out of action the British minelayers could not operate safely to render harmless the lines of mines across the Straits which prevented the passage of the fleet. Opposing them at Kephes Point was Fort Dardanos, with Turkish guns and gunners commanded by Lieutenant Hassan. Even before 18 March the battery had received much attention from the Royal Navy, an estimated 4000 shells having been flung in its direction. Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, visited Dardanos and wrote of how the land ‘for nearly half a mile about seemed to have been churned up; it looked like photographs I had seen of the battlefields in France’.

Lieutenant Hassan’s battery fully engaged the Allied warships on 18 March 1918 and more than likely scored some hits. Hassan himself was killed that day and lies buried in the cemetery, the Kahramanlari Hasan-Mevsuf Şehitliği, down the hill behind the surviving guns of the battery. He was described by Morgenthau as ‘a little fellow, with jet black hair, black eyes, extremely modest’.

Morto Bay French Cemetery

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It surprises Australians to learn that more French soldiers were killed at Gallipoli than Australians. At Morto Bay is the French National Cemetery and Memorial, with 3236 graves and four ossuaries containing the bones of 12 000 unidentifiable soldiers. Memorial plaques recall the loss at the Dardanelles of French sailors from warships like the Bouvet. The French component of the Allied force at Gallipoli was known as the Corps Expéditionnaire d’Orient, made up of French and French colonial African troops. The Corps was responsible for a section of the right of the Allied line at Kereves Dere (Kereviz Dere), a deep gully about a kilometre north of the Turkish memorial (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial).

At Kereves Dere the French struggled in a number of attempted advances to take the Turkish positions and so allow the whole Allied line to push towards Achi Baba. So fierce was the fighting, and so heavy were French losses, that they called this the ‘Ravin de la Mort’, the Ravine of Death. Here French soldiers, men of France, Algeria and Senegal, battled for Turkish positions like Haricot (Bean) Redoubt and Le Rognon (The Kidney). Such homely names belied the French and Turkish blood that flowed for these forgotten battlefield locations. A French medical officer, Dr Subin, wrote of this area: ‘Wounded everywhere! The killed lay in confused heaps which increased as you advanced … the bodies had swollen and their uniforms were tight and narrow. It was awful!’

During the campaign, Morto Bay was well behind the lines but open to Turkish shelling from Kum Kale across the Straits. Here Dr Subin had a dressing station under a cliff, probably not far from where the Turkish memorial is today. On 8 May 1915, the day the Australians attacked at the Second Battle of Krithia, the French also tried to advance. Dr Subin described the casualties: ‘We laid the poor fellows in rows … groans were piteous to hear … bandages soaked in blood, clothes torn to ribbons … ever more wounded arriving’. Subin’s words seem appropriate for Morto Bay, literally ‘Death Bay’.

Çanakkale Sehitleri Aniti (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial), Morto Bay

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Towering high above Morto Bay, Helles, is the Çanakkale Sehitleri Aniti, the Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial. This is Turkey’s tribute to the soldiers, the ‘Mehmets’, who fought and died at the Dardanelles in 1914 and 1915. The view through the arches of the tower is to the entrance to the Straits of the Dardanelles, the Çanakkale Boğazi, a reminder that for Turkey, Gallipoli was not about a few acres of ‘Helles’ or ‘Anzac’ but the control of this seaway leading into the heartland of western Turkey.

The significance of the early sea battle for the Straits is emphasised on the friezes on the memorial. There are no captions to these scenes, but Turks with a sense of their history would know the stories. There is the ‘man with the shell’, Corporal Seyit, lifting the 275-kilogram projectile which, it is claimed, hit and helped sink the British battleship HMS Ocean on 18 March 1915. There is the game little minelayer, the Nusret, which snuck out to lay a clutch of mines, one of which sank the French battleship Bouvet. There are Turkish gunboats taking on the British battleships; one of the latter is sinking. Possibly it is HMS Goliath, sunk with great loss on the night of 12–13 May 1915 by the daring action of the Turkish torpedo boat Muavenet in Morto Bay.

In the museum near the memorial are battlefield objects and photographs – belt buckles, a wireless set, shields used by snipers and even a set of false teeth. The walls are adorned with the words of the best-known Turkish commander at Gallipoli, one who became the founder of modern Turkey and the first President of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. One of these placards refers to a unit Atatürk knew well, the 57th Regiment, which on 25 April 1916, and for days thereafter, fought the Anzacs during the Battle of the Landing. Australians are all too aware of their losses at Gallipoli. Atatürk said simply of the 57th Regiment:

Meşhur bir alaydir bu, Çünkü hepsi şehit olmuştur.
(That is a famous regiment, because all of them were killed.)

Redoubt Cemetery, Alçitepe

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Redoubt Cemetery, 2 kilometres south of Alçitepe and 400 metres in from the road between the village and Seddülbahir, lies at the heart of a significant Australian battlefield. In early May 1915, the Victorians of the 2nd Brigade AIF (5th–8th Battalions) and the New Zealand Infantry Brigade were brought from Anzac to Helles to form part of an attempted British advance towards Alçitepe. For both Australia and New Zealand it was a disastrous action officially called the Second Battle of Krithia.

The painting depicts an incident during the Australian advance at Krithia (Alçitepe) on 8 May 1915, when the commanding officer of the 2nd Australian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier General James McCay, urged his men on with the words, ‘Now then Australians! Which of you men are Australian? Come on, Australians!

British and French attacks on 6 and 7 May had made little progress towards seizing the important ridge behind Alçitepe, known to the British as Achi Baba. On the morning of 8 May, the New Zealanders went in but gained little ground. Late in the afternoon, when they were camping and cooking a meal, the Australians were called forward to attack across what was described as a ‘wide, dry, level, grassland’. The trees which surround Redoubt Cemetery today were not there, and the Australians came forward into intense Turkish artillery and small arms fire. ‘The heavily loaded brigade’, wrote Charles Bean, ‘hurried straight on, heads down, as if into fierce rain, some men holding their shovels before their faces like umbrellas in a thunderstorm’. During one hour the Australians advanced about 900 metres, but the houses of Alçitepe were still far off and the Turkish line had not been reached. More than 1000 Australians were killed or wounded in this sadly ineffectual attack and some of them lie among the many unidentified graves in Redoubt Cemetery.

Buried just to the right inside the gate at Redoubt is Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gartside, aged 52, who on 8 May 1915 was temporarily in charge of the 7th Battalion (Victoria) AIF. Gartside was supposedly the first man buried in this large cemetery of 2027 graves, less than 20 per cent of which are identified. He died hereabouts during the Australian advance, struck in the stomach by machine-gun bullets as he rose to lead another charge –‘Come on, boys, I know it’s deadly but we must go on’.