By early 1915, the war on the Western Front had reached a
stalemate. While lines of trenches stretched through Flanders and
France, Russia was struggling to resist the forces of Germany and
Austria-Hungary in the east. In response to a request for aid from
its ally, the British government sanctioned a plan to attack the
Ottoman Empire. On 25 April, Commonwealth forces landed on the
Gallipoli peninsula and met fierce Ottoman resistance. Men from
across the British Empire, along with their French allies, fought
across the peninsula: from Helles in the south, through the ridges
and gullies of Anzac, to the plains of Suvla in the north. Unable
to break the deadlock, Allied forces had evacuated the peninsula by
early 1916, leaving their fallen comrades behind.
The sites selected below represent just some of the CWGC cemeteries and memorials on the Gallipoli peninsula:
The Helles Memorial
Standing on the tip of the peninsula, this is the battle memorial for the entire Gallipoli campaign. It also commemorates by name those men of the British and Indian forces who died on the peninsula and whose burial places are not known, those cremated or buried at sea, and those Australian servicemen who died in the Helles sector and have no known grave. It bears 21,000 names.
Nearby 'W beach' was heavily fortified and overlooked by steep cliffs. It was here that the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers fought their way ashore on 25 April. The area was renamed 'Lancashire Landing', and more than 80 Lancashire Fusiliers who died on that day were laid to rest here. It is now the final resting place of more than 1,200 Commonwealth servicemen.
Taking its name from a line of Ottoman fortifications, and lying alongside 'the Vineyard' where many Commonwealth soldiers died, this cemetery marks the limit of the advance on the village of Krithia during the battles in May and June 1915. It was begun by Australians and used until the evacuation, with many of its 2,000 graves brought here later from smaller burial grounds nearby.
Twelve Tree Copse
Nearby Gully Ravine was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the Helles sector. This is the final resting place of more than 3,300 men, of whom more than 2,220 remain unidentified. On the morning of 8 May 1915, New Zealand forces attacked at the nearby 'Daisy Patch', and 180 are commemorated on a memorial here.
Ari Burnu Cemetery
This cemetery stands on the promontory at the northern end of Anzac Cove, where men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) came ashore at dawn on 25 April 1915. Begun shortly after the landings, it was used throughout the campaign.
This area was within range of Turkish guns, including the infamous 'Beachy Bill' gun battery which was thought to have killed or wounded more than a thousand men in the surrounding area. The cemetery itself was not immune, and many of the grave markers erected here were damaged by enemy fire. It is now the final resting place of nearly 400 Commonwealth servicemen.
One of the busiest and most dangerous routes from the beach to the front-line, Shrapnel Valley took its name from the artillery fire that was directed at this area soon after the landings. This was the site of the largest of the original cemeteries in the Anzac sector. The Judas trees bloom into vivid flower each spring.
Plugge's Plateau was captured within half an hour of the ANZAC landings on 25 April 1915. It was named after Colonel Arthur Plugge, commander of the Auckland Battalion, who established his base here. Standing 100 metres above the sea, the plateau became a key command post, gun emplacement and observation point. With 21 graves, this is the smallest cemetery at Anzac.
Shell Green Cemetery
Artillery Road was one of the main routes up to the Anzac sector front-line. This area was known as Bolton's Ridge, and trenches and dugouts were carved into the earth behind the line and along the road. During the evacuation of Gallipoli in late 1915, a game of cricket was staged here in an attempt to hoodwink Ottoman observers.
Lone Pine Cemetery
On 6 August 1915, ANZAC forces attacked Ottoman trenches on this ground begining the Battle of Lone Pine. Fierce fighting and Ottoman counter-attacks continued for five days. There are more than 1,160 Commonwealth graves here, and the Lone Pine Memorial commemorates nearly 5,000 Australian and New Zealand servicemen who died in the Anzac sector and who have no known grave.
Early in the morning of 7 August 1915, the men of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade climbed from their trenches and charged the Ottoman lines. The assault was intended to support the troops attacking at the heights of Chunuk Bair to the north-east. Four waves of Australians were sent over the top, resulting in the deaths of more than 200 men on the ground now occupied by the cemetery.
Chunuk Bair Cemetery
On 6 August 1915, Commonwealth forces led by New Zealand troops began to fight their way to the high ground of Chunuk Bair. They briefly held the summit before an Ottoman offensive recaptured the heights. More than 630 servicemen lie here, the names of only ten of whom are known. A memorial above the cemetery commemorates more than 850 New Zealand soldiers whose graves are not known.
Green Hill Cemetery
Green Hill, named for its appearance alongside nearby 'Chocolate Hill', was captured on the evening of 7 August by men of the Lincolnshire and Border Regiments. Commonwealth forces made several attempts to advance further but each was repelled, including the Battle of Scimitar Hil lon 21 August. Green Hill Cemetery is now the final resting place of over 3,000 Commonwealth servicemen.