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In the early hours of Sunday the 25th of April 1915 the first contingent of Anzacs landed at a beach North of Gaba Tebe, this was the first of many landing staged at Gallipoli. On the same day over 8 landing were staged. Whilst the allies were backed by a heavy naval presence the fighting was savage and heavy causalities were inflicted on the both sides. When we directed our fire at them I saw a lot of heads, legs and arms fly into the air * (an account from an Anzac troop). On the eve of the 25th both armies were at a standstill. These landing were the first part of huge campaign, which were to last 10 months.
Gallipoli was where Australian and New Zealand troops (the Anzacs) were branded with reputation of brave, tough and good willed soldiers who loved their countries and fought courageously for them. They were also considered as larrikins by some, competitive, understanding, caring and nationalistic. The Anzacs (as they were called) were hailed on for having these values. A single Victorian digger (L.C. Albert Jacka) evicted a group of Turks from a captured Australian trench shooting five and bayoneting two more. This single man sums up the bravery shown by Anzac diggers when fighting the Turks. At times the Australian s would rather play cricket than battle it out in the trenches. They played under the danger of enemy fire yet they continued, proud of their country and really laughed in the face of danger,
On May the 24th an armistice was agreed by both sides to collect bodies this was an act of understanding. Whilst the Turks killed and wounded Anzac soldiers the Anzacs treated enemy prisoners well even offering wounded enemy soldiers drinks in the field. Whilst these were acts of humanity, the competitive nature of the Anzac troops also prevailed with shooting competitions held with the Turks between the trenches, notes were also passed over between the two sides with stupid questions asked like How far is Constantinople . Some Anzac troops even helped Turk soldiers celebrate the end of Muslim festival of Ramadan by offering gifts of food and drink. Anzac troops were so devoted to their mates and country that in times of trouble they carried casualties long distances across treacherous terrain to safety. All these deeds really brought out the true nature of the Anzac troops.
The civilian public in countries like New Zealand and Australian were fed false information about the war and Gallipoli and a lot of soldiers believed that Gallipoli was going to be fun and rejoiced over it. Yet these statements supplied by the media were indeed false. Below are segments from letters home from soliders who were brainwashed with garbage from the media and were about to be sent to Gallipoli: so I am going to a place where monotony is unknown, a year seems like one crowded hour of glorious life. I am on the eve of entering the firing line and rejoicing . and .I shall be soon seeing the real thing and believe me, I am looking forward to it. ..I used to think it was silly when I heard others talking like that but now I am right up against it, I want to be there .. .
Yet what they experienced was far from what they imagined. This is a small insight of what really happened from the diary of Sergeant Lawrence (Australian Engineers): As I said before, they (Anzacs) have simply been cut to pieces by bombs. There is just one continuous stream of wounded down form the trenches mostly flesh wounds caused by bombs. Awful sights, nearly all soaked in blood, perhaps half a leg blown away, a hand or jaw missing . and The smell is just awful. The newly captured trenches are just full of the dead still, whilst others lie on or just over the parapets. In one place we have had to build a parapet of bodies #. These two snippets are just a few of many and actually illustrate that both sides suffered and that the media and even the conscription services established a false curtain of truth of what was actually happening.
Whilst the men fought at Gallipoli and lost their lives, no women were actually on land at Gallipoli but needless to say women still had a fairly significant role in the campaign. With casualties in there thousands the main role women undertook was that of a nurse. As there was limited Allied space on the peninsula all casualties were taken off shore to hospital ships or White Ships as they were called and treated by female nurses. Soldiers would then be cleared to hospitals in Egypt, Lemnos or Malta where again they would be treated by Sisters . These sisters had to deal with the hardships of the dying men and this actually was a very traumatic experience for most of the sisters on the hospital ships. A brief insight into life on these ships from the diary of Sister Kitchen: We stayed with a dying man making the 3rd that day and one more in the night and Several large shells were fired at the store ship near us today .Got 2 bad abdominals ; one died
Not only were women located quite close to the action (as nurses) they also played substantial roles back in home countries: making ammunition and looking after the countries while the men were away (even those these situations are not directly with Gallipoli they did contribute to the soldiers well being and the armies munitions levels). Women made ammunition (shells ect.), donated and made clothing, worked the land, worked as post women, bus conductors, policewomen, ambulance drivers and many other things. They kept the countries going whilst the men weren t there and were proud of what they did. By July 1915 there were over 520,00 working in the hazardous munitions industry. Most of the ammunition made during theses periods went to frontline areas like Gallipoli and assisted the troops in their endless battle against the enemy.
After many heroic battles like the attack on Suvla bay, Lone pine, Sari Bair and Krithia, after many military tactics had been played out, after many shells had been fired, after ships had been sunk and men been killed a stale mate had substantiated. The allies then schemed a huge convert evacuation of allied troops off the peninsula. This commenced on the 12th of December by the 18th half the force had been withdrawn. By dawn on the 20th of December every man had been taken off. Ingenious devices like popping guns distracted the Turks for some time until a mine (underground tunnel laden with explosives) exploded on Allied soil. The Turks then realised something was wrong and by the time they ventured into Allied ground passing through booby traps and mines the Allies were long gone.
One of the most substantial campaigns Australia was involved in during WW1 came to a close. In what was a diaster on both sides over 9,700 Anzacs, 10,000 French and 25,000 British and 87,000 Turkish killed in what was a futile campaign. Amazingly only a handful of Allied troops ever saw the straights of the Marmara Sea during the whole period of the campaign.
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