Sunday 10 January 2016

Sunday - WW1 Remembered


April 1915 - January 1916

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale took place on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire, now modern day, Turkey, between April 1915 and January 1916. In this military campaign 100 years ago, about 58,000 allied soldiers, including 29,000 British and Irish soldiers and 11,000 Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign. A further 87,000 Ottoman Turkish troops died fighting the allies and at least 300,000 more on both sides were seriously wounded.

The Gallipoli campaign was backed by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, and began with the aim of knocking one of Germany's main allies, the Ottoman Empire, out of the war.

But it failed, despite more than half a million Allied servicemen pouring on to the Gallipoli peninsula, at a cost of around 58,000 lives either in battle or from disease.

The last Allied troops were withdrawn on January 9, 1916.

The fighting in Gallipoli was devastating with tremendous loss of life. And yet, as with all conflict there was also bravely beyond belief . This is perhaps more famously remembered for the "six VCs before breakfast" which were awarded in recognition of the bravery shown by the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers.

A bronze cross pattée bearing the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion with the inscription FOR VALOUR. A crimson ribbon is attached

The Victoria Cross is awarded for ..."most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy..."

They are :

Richard Willis was born in Woking, Surrey on 13 October 1876, he attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1897.

John Elisha Grimshaw was born in Abram, Lancashire, and on 20 January 1893 joined the Lancashire Fusiliers at 19, two years before the outbreak of war.

Alfred Joseph Richards was born in Plymouth on 21 June 1879. At aged 14, he enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers (his father's old regiment) as a bandboy, and over the next seven years served in Malta, Gibraltar and Egypt before returning to England, then reenlisting to his old battalion after just two months.

Captain Cuthbert Bromley was born on 19 September 1878 in Seaford, Sussex and was commissioned in 1898, serving in Africa and India for 17 years.

Sergeant Frank Edward Stubbs was born on 12 March 1888 in Walworth, Surrey, enlisting at a very young age and serving in India before the First World War.

Pte William Keneally was born on 26 December 1886 in Wexford, Ireland. His family moved to Lancashire, and after 10 years in the 'pits' he enlisted in the army in 1909 for a seven-year term.

Today the Queen and Prince Philip will lay a wreath at the Sandringham War memorial to commemorate the centenary of the ending of this event. This memorial was erected by the Queen's grandfather, George V, and it honours the Norfolk men who were killed during The Great War. Several of them lost their lives whilst fighting at Gallipoli.

Source : British Legion

The Gallipoli Memorial can be visited at the National Memorial Arboretum

The Fusilers Museum currently have a special exhibition to commemorate the 6VCs before breakfast which continues until summer 2016.

A novel I read about Gallipoli :

Glory by Rachel Billington

The blurb (from Amazon):

A poignant and compelling story of three lives torn apart by the Battle of Gallipoli.

Arthur Tarrant, an Oxford graduate headed for his uncle's law firm, changes path leaving behind his fiancée Sylvia and joins the army, destined for Gallipoli. There, his life becomes entwined with that of Fred Chaffey, a country boy from Dorset.

Glory tells of the fatal errors made by the leaders of the army, the heroism of the men, and the struggles to understand the situation while nurturing relationships in the most strange and difficult of circumstances.

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