Gallipoli Campaign Pictures Show The First World War Battlefield Then And Now
27 April 2015
Middle East-based journalist, former editor for HuffPost in New York and London
The small headland of Gallipoli, which juts out from Turkey’s western coast, witnessed some of the most extraordinary combat of the First World War. Between April 2015 and January 1916, troops from Britain and France battled Ottoman soldiers on their home soil, resulting in nine months of savage fighting turning the slender stretch of turf by the Aegean into a graveyard for many thousands of young men.
The plan, hatched by the British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, was to end the war by attacking the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul). To do so, British warships required access to the Dardanelles, a small channel through which the Royal Navy could gain passage to the historic city. Gallipoli was the half-a-mile wide piece of land separating the Aegean and the Marmara Sea over which Churchill demanded the British flag.
After an Allied naval attack failed, British and French troops were dispatched to occupy the head of the peninsula, while the middle was tasked to the Australians and New Zealanders. More than 100,000 are thought to have died in the battle, including an estimated 10,000 Anzacs. Ultimately the Allies lost, with Gallipoli heralded as the greatest Ottoman victory of the First World War.
Thick shrubs cover a hillside at Suvla Bay where British troops landed in August, 1915, in an effort to break the stalemate of trench warfare between Allied and Turkish troops during the Gallipoli Campaign on April 7, 2015 at Suvla Bay, Turkey.
Waves from the Aegean Sea lap onto shore at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 7, 2015 near Eceabat, Turkey and in 1915 as troops land at Anzac Cove in the Dardanelles during the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.
Australian infantrymen sitting on a transport boat as they head towards the beach at the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, in 1915 (Photo by Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection) and the Aegean Sea as seen from Anzac cove on April 7,2015 near Eceabat, Turkey.
This digital composite image shows Australian soldiers, including many wounded, at Anzac cove on the first day of the Gallipoli Campaign (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images) and Anzac cove on April 9, 2015.
This digital composite image shows a British 60-pounder heavy field gun in action on a cliff top at Helles Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey, during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915 (Photo by Ernest Brooks/Getty Images) and a meadow at Helles Bay on April 7, 2015.
This digital composite image shows British troops of the IX Corps on the beach after landing at Suvla Bay on the Aegean coast of the Gallipoli peninsula, August 1915. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) and the beach at Suvla Bay on April 8, 2015.