Cloth 'map' produced by the Guardian as a souvenir of the Dardanelles campaign. The Dardanelles has been of great strategic significance for centuries; a narrow 60-mile-long strip of water that runs from the eastern Mediterranean into the Sea of Marmara, it divides Europe from Asia. Carefully secured by international treaty, it was the closing of the Dardanelles that eventually brought the Ottoman Empire into the war as a German ally at the end of October 1914.
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By late 1914, movement on the Western Front had ground to a halt. Some Allied leaders suggested opening new fronts to break the deadlock, shorten the war and avoid heavier loss of life. Soon after the start of the new year, Great Britain and France attempted to force the Dardanelles and attack Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Many in Britain, notably the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, believed that knocking the Ottomans out of the war would undermine Germany. They theorised that as a result of this attack, Britain and France would be able to help their weakest partner, Russia; that the Suez Canal and Britain’s Middle Eastern oil interests would be secured; and that undecided Balkan states, including Bulgaria and Greece, would join the Allied side. It was an exciting and alluring proposition. But it was based on the mistaken belief that the Ottomans were weak and could easily be overcome.
On 19 February 1915, British and French ships began a naval assault on the Dardanelles. The fighting culminated in a heavy setback for the Allies on 18 March due to large losses from Turkish mines. Military landings on the Gallipoli peninsula followed on 25 April. Contained by the Ottoman defenders, a new assault began on 6 August. Each fresh attempt was defeated, and by mid January 1916, all Allied troops had been evacuated and the attack on the Dardanelles abandoned.
For the Ottomans, it was a major achievement. The Allies succeeded only in attrition, killing thousands of Ottoman soldiers. Even this exacted a high price; total casualties for the campaign were more than half a million. The Dardanelles campaign remains one of the First World War’s most controversial episodes.
This shell splinter was found by Commander V A L Bradyll-Johnson, an officer in the Royal Navy. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Ari Burnu (Z Beach) on the western side of the Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915 with the loss of 5,000 casualties. The site of the landings became known as Anzac Cove.
weapons and ammunition
Spotting for Queen Elizabeth, 12 Mid-day, April 27th 1915, by Herbert Hillier. Herbert Hillier was a Royal Naval reservist attached to the Royal Naval Air Service. During the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, he served on board the kite balloon ship HMS Manica. This vessel provided observation for the large guns of Royal Navy warships, spotting Turkish targets and helping to direct artillery fire. This is one of a series of rapid, on-the-spot sketches made by Hiller that chart the progress of operations.