War Graves Commission (CWGC) Cemeteries
20 - 23 Sept 09
On the evening of 20 Sept, Jim and l started our
CWGC visit at the Helles Memorial covered elsewhere on the site.
However, l've include additional photos as well as cleaning them up
here....apologies in advance.
The next morning we started our trip at Lone Pine
CWGC. There we meet an Australian contingent traveling by minivan
as part of a tour of the battlefield....we will meet them again. The
woman is visiting on 'behalf'' of her great uncle who survived the
Lone Pine was a strategically important plateau in the
southern part of the Anzac front lines and was briefly in the hands of
Australian forces following the landings on 25 April. It became a
Turkish strong point from May to July, when it was known by them as
'Kanli Sirt' (Bloody Ridge). The Australians pushed mines towards the
plateau from the end of May to the beginning of August and on the
afternoon of 6 August, after mine explosions and bombardment from land
and sea, the position was stormed by the 1st Australian Brigade. By 10
August, the Turkish counter-attacks had failed and the position was
consolidated. It was held by the 1st Australian Division until 12
September, and then by the 2nd, until the evacuation of the peninsula in
The Lone Pine Memorial stands on the site of the
fiercest fighting at Lone Pine and overlooks the whole front line of May
1915. It commemorates more than 4,900 Australian and New Zealand
servicemen who died in the Anzac area. Others named on the
memorial died at sea and were buried in Gallipoli waters.
We then head several hundred metres up the road to
Quinn's Post CWGC....this road, built by the CWGC, bisects the old front
lines held between Turkish and ANZAC forces which were only 3-5 m apart
for the entire length of the ridge at the top of Monash Valley, the ‘key to Anzac’. For virtually the whole of the campaign
the Turks held the spur just to the north of Quinn’s Post –
Deadman’s Ridge. From this position, and positions higher up the hill,
Turkish snipers fired down into the valley below, making movement by day
up to Quinn’s and the other posts along the ridge a life threatening
Up until mid-June 1915, the fighting at Quinn’s was of
a ferocity and intensity unequalled on any other part of the
line. Anzac attacks to push the line forward from the valley
crest, bombing duels and aggressive tunneling below ground from
both sides gave the post a fearsome reputation.
The importance of this part of the Anzac line was
quickly realized and various small parties held on here against Turkish
attacks in the days after the landing. On 29 April, Captain Hugh Quinn
arrived here with a detachment of Queenslanders from the 15th Battalion
just as the Turks were digging in around the head of Monash Valley and
across from Quinn’s Post. There now commenced a struggle at Quinn’s that
was to continue 24 hours a day for eight months. Part of the incessant
danger at Quinn’s lay in the fact that it was overseen by enemy
positions on three sides and to raise one’s head here above the parapet
of the trench was to invite instant death from ever watchful Turkish
Quinn's Post was the scene of some of the most
dramatic events in the Gallipoli campaign. They included the Turkish
attacks in April and May, particularly 19 and 29 May, the 24 May truce,
and a series of attacks in May and June, Charles Bean described the
holding of Quinn's as among the Australian Imperial Force finest feats.
There are now 473 Commonwealth servicemen of the First
World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery... 294 of the burials
We then visited the Nek Memorial just up the road .
The Nek" was a narrow stretch of ridge in the Anzac
battlefield on the Gallipoli peninsula. The name derives from the
Afrikaans word for a "mountain pass" but the terrain itself was a
perfect bottleneck and easy to defend, as had been proven during a
Turkish attack in May. It connected the Anzac trenches on the ridge
known as "Russell's Top" to the knoll called "Baby 700" on which the
Turkish defenders were entrenched.
For the three months since the
landings, the Anzac beachhead had been a stalemate. In
August an offensive (which later became known as the
Battle of Sari Bair) was intended to break the deadlock
by capturing the high ground of the Sari Bair range, and
linking the Anzac front with a new landing to the north
at Suvla. In addition to the main advance north out of
the Anzac perimeter, a number of supporting attacks were
planned from the existing trench positions. The attack
at the Nek was meant to coincide with an attack by New
Zealand troops from Chunuk Bair, which was to be
captured during the night.
The Nek attack was made by the 3rd
Light Horse Brigade: like the other
Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted
Rifles regiments, they had been dispatched to Gallipoli
in May as infantry reinforcements, leaving their horses
The attack was scheduled to commence
at 4:30 a.m on
It was to be preceded by a naval bombardment. The Light Horse regiments were to advance on a
front 80 meters wide in a total of four waves of 150 men
each, two waves per regiment. Each wave would advance
two minutes apart. The distance they would have to
travel to reach the Turkish line was less than 30
On the morning of the 7th, it was
clear that the Allied prerequisites for the attack had not been
met and the reason for charging at the Nek evaporated...and
the Turkish machine guns enfilading the
ground in front of Quinn's Post and the Nek remained
Owing to a failure of timing
instructions, the artillery preparation ceased as
planned at 4.30am while the attack was not launched
until 4.37am.... giving the Turkish
defenders ample time to return to their trenches and
prepare for the assault that they now knew was coming.
The first wave of 150 men from the 8th Light Horse
Regiment, "hopped the bags" and went over the top. They
were met with a hail of machine gun and rifle fire and
within 30 seconds, all were gunned down. A few men
reached the Turkish trenches, and marker flags were
reportedly seen flying, but they were quickly
overwhelmed and shot or bayoneted by the Turkish
The second wave of 150 followed the
first without question and met the same fate with almost
all the men cut down by heavy rifle and machine gun fire
before they got half way to the Turkish trench.
The commander of the 10th Light Horse
Regiment, attempted to have the third wave cancelled,
claiming that "the whole thing was nothing but bloody
murder" but the attack went in. The third wave
"hopped the bags" and the assault came to a quick end as
before. Finally, the
attack was called off , but confusion in the right area
of the Australian's fire trench, led to around 75 to 80 men of the
fourth wave going over, and they too were cut down in
less than a minute. By 4:45 a.m., the ridge was covered
with fresh dead and wounded Australian soldiers, most of
which remained where they fell for the duration of the
There are now 326 Commonwealth servicemen of the First
World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 316 of the burials
are unidentified but there are special memorials to five Australian
soldiers believed to be buried among them. This is the battle described
in the film Peter Weir's "Gallipoli".
From the Nek is was a short ride up the
ridge to the Chunuk Bair Memorial and Cemetery.
records on panels of Hopton Wood stone the names of over 800 officers
and men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who died in 1915 and who
have no known grave.
Capturing Chunuk Bair was one of the main objectives
in the Battle of Sari Bair (6th-10th August 1915) and was carried out by
the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the
10th Gurkha Rifles, and the Maori Contingent. These troops, after
repulsing incessant Turkish attacks, were destroyed on the morning of
the 10th when the position was overrun by a determined and overwhelming
counter-attack, carried out by a Turkish Army Corps under German General
Liman von Sanders, and led by Mustapha Kemal Pasha, the founder of the
Republic of Turkey as well as its first President.
In total, there had been almost 2000 ANZAC defenders
on or below the summit of Chunuk Bair. Another brigade at the Farm
numbered a further 3000. The Turks swept over the Lancashire battalion
on the summit, wiping it out to the last man. The Turks headed
down Rhododendron Spur towards the Pinnacle, driving the New Army troops
before them. The Turks descended to the small plateau of the Farm and
annihilated Baldwin's brigade. About 1000 British were killed, the rest
driven off into the surrounding gullies.
The loss of Chunuk Bair marked the end of the effort
to reach the central hills of the Peninsula. So far as this sector of
the front was concerned, the line remained unaltered until the
evacuation in December 1915.
We take a break in the shade at the
summit of Chunk Bair while local vendors shill their goods just outside
the memorial....shameless. We then headed sharply
downhill from the summit of Chunuk Bair to 'The Farm' cemetery.
"The Farm " was a stone shepherd's
hut on the western slopes of Chunuk Bair, known to the Turks as "Aghyl"
(a sheepfold) where 652 Commonwealth servicemen are buried here, 645
From the top of the Sari
Bair ridge and Chunuk Bair we head back to the coast and visit Beach
CWGC. Beach Cemetery was used
from the day of the Landing at Anzac, almost until the Evacuation. There
are now nearly 400 war casualties commemorated in this site. Beach
Cemetery is situated on what was known as Hell Spit, at the southern
point of Anzac Cove.
Ari Burnu Cemetery lies between the beach and the
cliff under Plugge's Plateau. Named from the Cape at the North end of
Anzac Cove, was made in 1915, and in 1926 and 1927 graves from Kilid
Bahr Anglo-French Cemetery and Gallipoli Consular Cemetery were
concentrated into it. There are now over 250 Great War casualties
commemorated at this site. in 1919.
Down the road is Shrapnel Valley
Cemetery. The upper part of Shrapnel Valley was called Monash Gully
(after Sir John Monash, then commanding the 4th Australian Infantry
Brigade). The main valley obtained its name from the heavy shelling of
it by the Turks on the 26th April, 1915. It was an essential road from
the beach upwards. Wells were sunk and water obtained from it in small
quantities; on the South side of its lower reaches were camps and
depots; and gun positions were made near the mouth of it. The cemetery
was made mainly during the occupation, but partly after the Armistice by
the concentration of isolated graves in the Valley. There are now nearly
700casualties commemorated in this site.
We then head to Suvla Bay and a break and swim on the
invasion beaches. l leave with a footful of sea urchin spines and
a rum jar memento.
We then visit Green Hill Cemetery which
lies on the east side of the Anzac-Suvla Road and can be seen from Suvla
and from Anzac. Green and Chocolate Hill (which form
together Yilghin Burnu) are adjoining pieces of high ground, about 170
feet above sea level and which rise almost from the Eastern shore of the
Salt Lake at Suvla, captured on the 7th August 1915. On the 21st
August the attack of the 11th (Northern) and 29th Divisions, along with
the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade, although pressed with great
resolution, left the front line where it had been. Jim's Great Uncle is
killed in this attack.
Green Hill Cemetery was made after the
war by the concentration of isolated graves from the Suvla battlefields
of August 1915 and contains the graves of 773 soldiers from the
United Kingdom (including a very high proportion of Yeomanry), two from
Newfoundland, and 2,196 whose unit in our forces could not be
ascertained. The unnamed graves number 2,589, and special memorials are
erected to 117 soldiers from the United Kingdom who are known, or
believed, to be buried among them.
We then spent a hour climbing Scimitar
Hill, scene of the horrifically mismanaged battle of 21 Aug 1915.
Paralysis had set in to
the British campaign in the Dardanelles after repeated
failures to advance at Helles on the tip of the
peninsula since the original
25 April landings. In August a new offensive,
known as the Battle of Sari Bair, was opened at Suvla
Bay in an attempt to regain the initiative from the
Turks. Soldiers of two english divisions, including
Jim's Great Uncle, were landed at Suvla on the night of
6 August while a simultaneous breakout was made
from the long-stagnant Anzac sector to the south of
Division landed on the night of 6 August
and two brigades of the 10th Division
landed the following morning. The
original objectives were the capture of
the ridge lines to the north and the
line of hills to the south on the
Anafarta Spur. However, little more was
done than securing the beachhead.
landings, made in the dark without the
aid of reliable reconnaissance, suffered
from the same confusion that reigned at
Anzac landing on
25 April. Lighters ran aground on
sandbars so that the troops had to wade
some distance to get ashore. Many units
became intermingled and officers were
unable to locate their objectives.
evening on 7 August progress had been
minimal. To the south east Chocolate
Hill and Green Hill were taken in the
evening with minimal resistance but
constant harassment by shrapnel and
sniper fire. The British suffered 1,700
casualties on the first day at Suvla.
Scimitar Hill, so named
because of its curved summit, and the neighbouring W
Hills to the south were part of the Anafarta Spur that
marked the southern edge of the Suvla sector. Their
capture had originally been first-day (7
August) objectives but General Stopford was
exceedingly hesitant about making any major advances
without artillery support.
On the morning of
9 August the British made their first effort to
advance towards the high ground to the east, a ridge
called Tekke Tepe. Scimitar Hill, which guarded the
approach to this ridge from the southwest along the
Anafarta Spur, had been captured unopposed but was then
abandoned. The British attempted to recapture the hill
9 August and in the intense fighting it changed
hands a number of times before the British were forced
off around midday. Despite the arrival of
reinforcements, any hopes the British had of a swift
victory at Suvla were now gone as the Turks consolidated
their hold on the surrounding ridges.
10 August the 53rd Division made another attack
at Scimitar Hill which was another massive failure for
the British and effectively ruined the division as a
fighting unit within two days of its landing.
The plan for
21 August was to attack Scimitar Hill with the
29th Division and the W Hills with the 11th Division,
keeping the Yeomanry in reserve near the beach. As was
so often the case at Gallipoli, the preliminary
artillery barrage looked impressive but achieved little.
The British had no sight of their targets, which were
obscured by mist and smoke, whereas the Turkish
artillery had a clear view of the entire Suvla
battlefield and ample opportunity to register their
The 11th Division's
attempt to capture the W Hills collapsed in confusion
when confronted by a Turkish strongpoint and artillery
fire. As a consequence when the 1st Battalion of the
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers managed to capture the
summit of Scimitar Hill, they found themselves under
fire from the defenders higher up the Anafarta Spur to
the east and from the W Hills to the south. The Irish
retreated from the summit while the undergrowth around
them was set ablaze by the shellfire, incinerating the
wounded as they lay helpless.
Around 5 p.m. the troops
of the 2nd Mounted Division were ordered forward from
their reserve position on Lala Baba, near the beach.
They advanced, marching in formation, across the bed of
a dry salt lake. By this time the air was clouded by
mist and smoke so that they had little idea of where
they were going. The 5000 men of the five brigades
formed in columns by regiment and, marching in extended
order, were easy targets for the shrapnel. Most of them
halted in the cover of Green Hill, west of Scimitar
Hill, but Brigadier-General Lord Longford, led his 2nd
(South Midland) Brigade in a charge over Green Hill and
up to the summit of Scimitar Hill. Continuing on, Lord
Longford was cut off and killed. The yeomanry too were
driven from the summit.
In one day of fighting the
British suffered 5,300 casualties out of the 14,300
soldiers who participated. The attack at Scimitar Hill
21 August was the last attempt by the British to
advance at Suvla. The front line remained between Green
Hill and Scimitar Hill for the remainder of the campaign
until the evacuation on
From Scimitar Ridge, we
head home....it has been a long and draining day.
click on a picture to see a larger
image. hit arrows at either end of the slideshow for more pictures.
Helles Point Memorial. This overlooks V Beach GWGC.
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