The Gallipoli Campaign took place at Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916, during World War 1. A joint British Empire and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital and secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed, with both sides suffering heavy casualties.

For Australia and New Zealand, the campaign was the first major battle undertaken by a joint military formation, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and is often considered to mark the birth of national consciousness in both of these countries.

The most important destination on any tour is the Anzac Commemorative Site. The site is located at North Beach where, on the morning of 25 April 1915, troops of the 1st Australian Division came ashore after landing at Anzac Cove. The memorial has a commemorative focus, with visual representations depicting the story of the Gallipoli campaign.

This site is the scene of the moving annual dawn service, held annually on the 25 April. Thousands of pilgrims from around the world gather in the cold pre-dawn to come together and remember the fallen and the legacy they have left.

Chunuk Bair Cemetery is another important destination. The cemetery is located on the ridge running north-east from Brighton Beach. Chunuk Bair was one of the main objectives in the Battle of Sari Bair, fought 6-10 August 1915. The attack was to be carried out by the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. The position was eventually overrun by a Turkish Army Corps.

Chunuk Bair Cemetery was established on the site where the enemy had buried Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the battle. There are now 632 Commonwealth servicemen buried there. Sadly, only ten have been identified. The cemetery also contains the Chunuk Bair Memorial, erected to honour New Zealand soldiers who died on the peninsula, with graves unknown. It contains more than 850 names.

Ari Burnu Cemetery is another important site. Established in 1915, there are now 252 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Forty-two of the burials are unidentified.

Plugge’s Plateau was the name given to the hill above Ari Burnu. Plugge’s Plateau Cemetery is on the north-west corner of the Plateau. Plugge’s Plateau was captured by the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade on 25 April and later named for the commander of Auckland Battalion, Colonel A Plugge. The Anzac Headquarters were situated on its western slopes. The cemetery contains 21 burials, four of which are unidentified.

Shrapnel Valley runs from the west side of the Lone Pine Plateau to the sea near Hell Spit. Shrapnel Valley was an essential road from the beach up to the Anzac front and took its name from the heavy shelling it was given on 26 April 1915. The cemetery was created during the occupation, but some graves were brought in from the valley after the Armistice. There are now 683 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Eighty-five of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

Lone Pine is one of the most significant sites in the area. On 6 August the Allies mounted a major attack on the Lone Pine area, which involved Australians of several Battalions charging to reach the Turkish trenches.

Over five days of fighting the Australians managed to penetrate most of the Turkish trench system. These trenches were the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of World War I. The combat was so ferocious that seven Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australians in this small area.

The Nek Cemetery is north of Quinn’s Post. The Nek was the location of the climax of the campaign in August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. The cemetery stands on a ridge with Pope’s Hill on the south-west and Molane’s Gully on the north-west. The cemetery was made after the Armistice. There are now 326 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or honoured in this cemetery.

Witness up close the tremendous efforts of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers with tours of Gallipoli.

By Haadi