peninsula in northwest Turkey, between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Saros, the scene of a costly but heroic episode in Australian and Allied military history in 1915.
The port of Gallipoli, at the entrance to the Sea of Marmara, was historically important for its strategic position.
The plan was to take control of the Dardanelles, a passage leading to the Black Sea, and opening it to Allied shipping.
Thousands of Australian troops stormed the beach at Gallipoli on April 25th, 1915 in an effort to gain a foothold on Turkish territory. However, the attack was badly planned and many soldiers were killed or wounded as they struggled ashore at Anzac Cove. Recent studies of the debacle have discovered that the command maps were extremely inaccurate with the landing soldiers having no idea of the terrain which lay ahead of them ashore. At the end of three days 2,000 Australians were dead and 7 Victoria Crosses had been won.
Around 8,000 Australians were killed with some 20,000 wounded before the campaign ended when the Allies withdrew 8 months later.
Most are buried at the Ari Burnu Cemetery at Anzac Cove.
The campaign was a military failure but it did put in place the ANZAC reputation for mateship and courage.
April 25th is now a public holiday in Australia, Anzac Day , when we honour those brave soldiers, and others to follow them in other theatres of war.
There are only 3 diggers surviving today, the eve of Anzac Day, 1999. They are -
Alec Campbell, aged 100 of Hobart. Alec enlisted as a 16 year old boy-soldier, lying about his age. He was wounded and sent home to Australia. He put himself through university and earned an economics degree. Alec sailed in seven Sydney to Hobart yacht races.
Walter Parker, aged 104 of Melbourne. Walter's job was to supply food and water to the men on the front line. He was shot in the arm at Pozieres, severing a tendon. He was then sent home. His son Earle was killed at twenty in World War 11. The bloodshed and loss of life at Gallipoli horrified Walter.
Roy Longmore, aged 104 of Melbourne. Roy signed up at 19 and found himself at Gallipoli where he was given a shovel and told he was a tunneler. He tunneled under Turkish positions so that explosives could be planted and then detonated. He survived a blast from a machinegun - "It didn't hurt much. Just a couple of bullets through both arms and legs".
Eight young Australians were at Lone Pine Cemetery just before Anzac Day, 1999. They had won the trip by entering in the Simpson Prize, a Commonwealth-sponsored competition for year 9 students. The prize is named for John Simpson Kirkpatrick. The students had to write on "What does the Anzac tradition and spirit mean to Australians today?"
Also see pages in Army category on Simpson's donkey and on Fred Ward.
There is also a marvellous film called Gallipoli, screenplay by David Williamson, starring Mel Gibson and Bill Hunter.