The Gallipoli Campaign

Use these sources to discover more about the Gallipoli Campaign and the reasons why it was abandoned.

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  • A map of the Dardanelles Peninsula

    A map of the Dardanelles Peninsula
    EPH 951

    By 1915, neither the Allied Forces nor Central Powers were making much progress on the Western Front, so new options were considered to turn the tide of the war. The Allied Forces believed that  capturing Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, would weaken the Central Powers.  However, the success of the Dardanelles campaign depended on the quick defeat of the Ottoman Turks.

  • Naval Offensives

    Naval Offensives
    Art.IWM ART 249

    Throughout February and March the British and French navies bombarded coastal forts and artillery positions along the Dardanelles Straits, hoping to force their way through to Constantinople. There was some early success but the last attempt on 18 March ended in complete disaster with five warships sunk or disabled. Allied commanders decided that troops would need to land along the Gallipoli peninsula to conquer the Turkish defences before the naval attacks could resume.

  • Landings at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915

    Landings at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915
    Q 112876

    On 25 April 1915 Allied troops landed on a series of beaches along the Gallipoli peninsula. The Turkish defences were well prepared and Allied troops struggled to get ashore as the Turks contained the landings.  Both sides suffered devastating losses. In this photograph Sapper R Reynolds lies at the waters edge, an Australian engineer, and the first to fall during the campaign.

  • Trench Warfare

    Trench Warfare
    Q 13447

    After the landings, trench lines were quickly established. They became more extensive but, remained much the same for the rest of the campaign. Life within the trenches was hard and conditions were poor. In this photograph a Royal Irish Fusilier attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal his position.

  • Turkish Snipers

    Turkish Snipers
    Q 13392

    Due to the nature of the terrain and hills that surrounded the Allied trenches, Turkish snipers were a continuous threat watching over the Allied positions. This led to many deaths and an almost constant state of fear. This photograph shows a Turkish sniper immediately after capture.

  • Australian Enlistment poster

    Australian Enlistment poster
    Australian Enlistment poster
    Art.IWM PST 0398

    The land campaign in Gallipoli meant that the Allies’ already limited resources were stretched even further. They now needed to send thousands of men along with supplies such as food, weapons and munitions to a new front. In 1915 Gallipoli was the only campaign that soldiers from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) were involved with.  It became a focus for recruitment in those countries and has remained one of the most defining and unifying moments in Australia and New Zealand’s history.

  • ‘Mateship’

    ‘Mateship’
    Q 13622

    A legacy of ‘mateship’ was cemented in the Australian and New Zealand ranks during the Gallipoli campaign. This characterised ANZAC soldiers as tough, resourceful men, loyal to their mates and their country. They were seen as courageous in battle and having a healthy disdain for any authority. This photograph shows an Australian carrying a wounded comrade on his shoulders on Walkers Ridge down to a medical aid post.

  • Who fought at Gallipoli?

    Who fought at Gallipoli?
    Q 13372

    Troops from all over the world fought at Gallipoli. The British army included men from Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India and Newfoundland (now part of Canada). The French army included men from many of their North African colonies as well as France itself. This photograph shows troops of the 14th Sikhs of the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade examining a piece of shell from "Asiatic Annie“, a notorious Turkish gun that constantly shelled the Allied forces at Helles.

  • The ANZAC Legend

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    In this short film, Nigel Steel, Imperial War Museums Pricipal Historian, discusses the significance of the Gallipoli Campaign to the people who served there.

  • General Hamilton’s Fly whisk

    General Hamilton’s Fly whisk
    General Hamilton’s Fly whisk
    EPH 9022

    The conditions at Gallipoli were some of the worst of the whole war, the extreme weather caused widespread sickness and sometimes death. Swarms of flies were a constant presence in the trenches, mainly due to the many dead left in no-man’s land. The fly whisk, pictured above, was carried by General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli, 1915. He wrote, ‘At the Dardanelles it was always in my hand…’

  • Extreme weather and disease

    Extreme weather and disease
    Q 13644

    Scorching heat during summer gave way to torrential autumn rain and a freezing winter. Almost all soldiers suffered from dysentery. This photograph shows frost-bitten soldiers lying on straw in shelters constructed of biscuit boxes, after a blizzard in November 1915 that caused some 160,000 cases of frostbite, and froze 280 men to death.

  • Water shortage and rationing

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    Water shortage and rationing
    8667

    During the blistering summer months clean water became a limited resource and had to be strictly rationed.  In this sound recording, Harold Broughton, a British private who served with the City of London Regiment at Gallipoli, talks about the water shortages.

  • Troops Landing on C Beach, Suvla Bay, later in the day, 7th August 1915 by Norman Wilkinson

    Troops Landing on C Beach, Suvla Bay, later in the day, 7th August 1915 by Norman Wilkinson
    Art.IWM ART 2452

    In August 1915 new offensives and landings were launched along the peninsula to try and break the stalemate, including the one shown in this painting. Fresh troops were brought in finally to try to defeat the Turks, but these offensives only resulted in even more devastating losses and the deadlock returned. Eventually the decision was taken that an evacuation of all troops had to be made.

  • Evacuation

    Evacuation
    Evacuation
    Documents.10220

    Plans for the evacuation of the peninsula were carefully drawn up and included many elaborate tricks to ensure the Turkish did not realise what was happening.  They were designed to keep deaths to a minimum and there were only three reported casualties from the evacuation. Supplies were destroyed as they went  to ensure that they did not fall into enemy hands. Half of the forces were evacuated from the peninsula in December and the last men left on 9 January 1916.

  • The Gallipoli Campaign

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    Find out more about the Gallipoli Campaign from Nigel Steel, Imperial War Museums Principal Historian .  This video includes archive film footage.

  • Devastating loss of life

    Devastating loss of life
    Q 13438

    For a campaign that lasted less than a year the death toll at Gallipoli was very high. Approximately 44,000 British, French, ANZAC and Indian troops were killed. Coming so early in the war, this huge loss of life had a powerful impact on those at home particularly in Australia and New Zealand as this was the first time they had suffered such heavy losses. Estimates of those killed from the Ottoman Empire range between 66,000 and 86,000.