100 years on, a salute to the men of Gallipoli

One hundred years on, the combatants at Gallipoli are remembered

One hundred years on, the combatants at Gallipoli are remembered

Royal Navy reserves tuck into breakfast on Spinnaker Tower

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IT was one of the greatest military disasters of the 20th century and a pivotal moment in the development of the British armed forces.

But many will not know about the Battle of Gallipoli, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Hampshire men, many of them from the Portsmouth area.

Gallipoli has been overshadowed by military campaigns closer to home, such as the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Britain.

Yet today, on the 100th anniversary of the start of the campaign, local historians are asking people to take a moment to commemorate the battle and the sacrifice tens of thousands of men made for our future and world peace.

As services take place across the country, people will gather today in Privett Park in Gosport to commemorate the campaign.

And people are being invited to The Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth to learn about the stories of the doomed amphibious attack and the brave men who held out in trenches for eight months and faced constant risk of sniper fire.

Nick Hewitt, from the museum, said Gallipoli: Myth and Memory puts the contribution of the Royal Navy at the heart of the story.

He said: ‘For us the significance of the 100th anniversary is it’s become forgotten in this country as a campaign other than a land battle fought by Australia. This is a very narrow view. If you stop someone in the street probably half of them would not have heard of Gallipoli.

‘We have to try to explain this is hugely important as a British story – an international story. It’s as much part of the British story as the Battle of the Somme is.’

The battle was an attempt by Sir Winston Churchill, then First Sea Lord, to break the stalemate on the Western Front and create a new front that would force Germany to help out its allies in the Ottoman Empire.

They learned that the 20th century had completely changed the game and they had to relearn it all over again. It started the process that led to D-Day – the most risky and most successful military operation in history

Naval historian Nick Hewitt

The Allies tried to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) via the Gallipoli Peninsula by land assault and British, French and their dominions’ troops – including soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, India and Newfoundland – took part.

They faced months of shelling, sniper fire and dysentery, before abandoning the campaign. In total there were nearly 500,000 casualties during the campaign, with total losses, including sick, as 205,000 British, 47,000 French and 251,000 Turkish.

Mr Hewitt said: ‘Winston Churchill was scarred by it going into the Second World War when he was extremely nervous about amphibious landings.

‘Amphibious landing is the most complex type of training you can carry out. It involves a level of risk that you don’t see in other operations.

‘They learned that the 20th century had completely changed the game and they had to relearn it all over again. It started the process that led to D-Day – the most risky and most successful military operation in history.’

The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day and prices start at £13.

Tributes to the bravery of the Royal Hampshire Regiment at Gallipoli

Dawn service commemorates Anzac heroes

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