Gallipoli April 25th 1915

By: Callington Heritage Centre
Added: 24 April 2015

Turkey having entered the war as an ally of Germany on the 29th October 1914, Winston Churchill secured War Cabinet approval for action in the Dardanelles.

He implemented a blueprint for a purely naval bombardment of the Turkish forces in the Dardenelles Straits, and this commenced on 19th February 1915. Efficient Turkish defensive systems and poor allied gunnery made the initial bombardment less effective than hoped. The Turkish forces were hampered by a shortage of ammunition.

The number of ships involved was as follows:-

A combined British and French fleet consisted of the new battleship Queen Elizabeth, 3 battle-cruisers, 16 pre-dreadnought (including four French vessels), 4 cruisers, 18 destroyers, 6 submarines, 21 trawlers plus the seaplane carrier Ark Royal.  

Further unsuccessful attempts to subdue the Turkish forces were  made on 25th February and 18th March. In spite of this Allied troops were landed in Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915. The campaign was a major disaster for those involved. 

If the campaign had been successful, a drive inland and the capture Istanbul of would probably have shortened the war.

The campaign is remembered most for the number of casualties suffered by Australian and New Zealand troops. Every English regiment suffered casualties, the navy suffered casualties along with Canadians,  Indians and many other nationalities. Not forgetting the Turks "who just kept coming". They proved to be a very brave people and formidable fighters.

Extremes of temperature and the resultant problems of disposing of the dead, human and animal, were an everyday aggravation. Many lives were lost to illness. Lack of water being a constant problem and antibiotics not yet available.

Those who took part would never forget.

Latest news