Charles Doughty-Wylie’s Grave, Seddülbahir

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2 min 37 sec

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Audio transcript

In April 1915, just to the north of Seddülbahir village, stood a Turkish fort known as Eskitabya, surrounded by a deep ditch and barbed wire. Fire from this and other nearby positions on 25 April 1915 kept the British landing force tied down to Ertu?rul Koyu (Cove) -'V Beach' to the British - below Seddülbahir castle. Little remains of Eskitabya. On that site today, between cypress trees, is the most isolated grave on Gallipoli, that of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie, Royal Welsh Regiment, who was killed in action here on 26 April 1915.

Doughty-Wylie's is one of the most remarkable Gallipoli stories. A fluent Turkish speaker, he had lived in the country and been awarded the Imperial Ottoman Order of Medijedieh, 2nd Class, for his service to Turkish wounded when working with the Red Cross during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. On 25 April 1915, he was working as an intelligence officer on board the improvised landing steamer River Clyde. From there he observed the failure of the British troops, under intense Turkish fire, to get inshore from Ertu?rul Koyu. On the morning of 26 April, along with Captain Garth Walford, Royal Field Artillery, he led the way into Seddülbahir. The village fell, but Doughty-Wylie knew the beach would not be safe until Eskitabya was taken so, at the head of a bayonet charge, he pushed on up the hill. The attack succeeded, but Doughty-Wylie was killed at the edge of the defensive ditch. It is said that, because of his love of the Turkish people, he carried only a walking stick into action.

Doughty-Wylie and Walford, who was also killed, were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses for their bravery. But an even more extraordinary story is associated with Doughty-Wylie. On 17 November 1915, a small boat brought ashore the only woman on the Allied side to visit Gallipoli during the campaign. She walked through Seddülbahir and up to Eskitabya to Charles Doughty-Wylie's grave, where she laid a wreath. It was his wife Lillian.

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