Josh Blair
Friday 8 December 2017
  • First World War
  • KS3-4

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

For ideas to help you use these sources, take a look at our Suggested Activities.

maps

A map of the Dardanelles Peninsula

maps

A map of the Dardanelles Peninsula

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.

Depicts straits area with ships, aircraft, towns, hills etc.
A map of the Dardanelles Peninsula. © IWM (EPH 951)
art

Naval Offensives

art

Naval Offensives

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.

 A view of the HMS Queen Elizabeth under heavy fire from shore-based batteries. Her forward guns return fire, aiming out towards the right of the composition. There are several thick sprays of water rising from the surface where gunfire has sunk into the sea. Closer to the ship there are several puffs of gunfire hanging in the air. A green stretch of land lies in the background, and a tall column of dark smoke rises up into the sky from the horizon in the right of the composition.
Naval Offensives. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 249)
photographs

Landings at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915

photographs

Landings at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915

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.

Australians landing at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915 - part of the 4th Battalion and the mules for the 26th (Jacob's) Indian Mountain Battery. In the foreground is the staff of Colonel H N MacLaurin of the 1st Infantry Brigade. The officer with the rolled greatcoat over his shoulder is Major F D Irvine (killed on 27 April). Nearer the water's edge (centre) is Captain D M King, Orderly Officer. The officer on the left, with his chinstrap down, is Lieutenant R G Hamilton, the Brigade Signal Officer.
© IWM (Q 112876)
photographs

Trench Warfare

photographs

Trench Warfare

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.

A Royal Irish Fusilier attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal the enemy position, Gallipoli, 1915.
Trench Warfare.
photographs

Turkish Snipers

photographs

Turkish Snipers

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.

A Turkish sniper photographed immediately after capture, and while he was being brought under guard. He was ingeniously screened by a Jack-in-the-Green arrangement of foliage attached to his clothing.
Turkish Snipers.
posters

Australian Enlistment poster

posters

Australian Enlistment poster

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.

a three-quarter length image of a British/Commomwealth infantryman facing right and peering with his hand raised to his brow. He stands against a turquoise background, with a pink silhouette map of Australia positioned top right and yellow map of the Dardanelles peninsula placed bottom right.
Australian Enlistment poster.
photographs

‘Mateship’

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‘Mateship’

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.

An Australian carrying a wounded comrade on his shoulders on Walkers Ridge down to a medical aid post. The men were cracking jokes as they made their way down from the front.
An Australian carrying his wounded mate to a medical aid post for treatment, Gallipoli, 1915.
photographs

Who fought at Gallipoli?

photographs

Who fought at Gallipoli?

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.

Troops of the 14th Sikhs of the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade examining a piece of shell from "Asiatic Annie" that fell in their camp.
Who fought at Gallipoli?

© IWM

The ANZAC Legend

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

souvenirs and ephemera

General Hamilton’s Fly whisk

souvenirs and ephemera

General Hamilton’s Fly whisk

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…’

Horse hair flywhisk with wooden handle.
General Hamilton’s Fly whisk.
photographs

Extreme weather and disease

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Extreme weather and disease

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.

Frost-bitten soldiers lying on straw in shelters constructed of biscuit boxes at a store dump at Suvla, after the frost at the end of November 1915.
Extreme weather and disease.

Water shortage and rationing

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.

 

Harold Boughton interview © IWM (8667)
See audio record

art

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

art

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

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.

A view down the beach at Suvla Bay with the sea to the left and a destroyer lying offshore. Boats filled with British troops land on the shore, and then make their way up the beach. In the foreground there is the body of a soldier who has been shot down lying face down in the sand.
Troops Landing on C Beach, Suvla Bay, later in the day, 7th August 1915 by Norman Wilkinson. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2452)
private papers

Evacuation

private papers

Evacuation

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.

Army message and transcription concerning the evacuation of Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, sent on 11 December 1915 by Captain Bell RAMC and giving instructions that no tents should be struck and no flags lowered so that the enemy may not be advised of the withdrawal.
Evacuation.

© IWM

The Gallipoli Campaign

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

photographs

Devastating loss of life

photographs

Devastating loss of life

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.

An Australian officer visiting a small war cemetery at Suvla Bay.
Devastating loss of life. © IWM (Q 13438)

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