The Whispering Ghosts Of Gallipoli

The Whispering Ghosts Of Gallipoli

The British War Cabinet wasn’t very impressed with the way Turkey entered the First World War on Germany’s side, in 1915. On the contrary, they had their own perspective on the Ottoman Empire, seeing it as corrupt and poorly trained and led.

The only problem seemed to be the fact that Russia couldn’t use the Black Sea ports without starting the fire of the Turkish guns.

As they realized that the war was far from ending and Christmas was close, First Lord of Admiralty – Winston Churchill, together with the Secretary of State for War – Lord Kitchener, came up with a plan.

The idea involved the British and French Navy to cruise down the Dardanelles with firing guns and to give no options to the Turkish troops, other than to raise the white flag. Then the warships would be stationed alongside Constantinople and Turkey would be out of the war.

Less than a year after the campaign was started, 250,000 men were killed out of 480,000 British, French and Commonwealth servicemen sent to the Dardanelles.

In February 1915 began the attacks on the narrows, where the Navy lost several warships, some of them badly damaged while others had been sunk. The next move was for the Army to take the lead and replace the Navy, the Mirror reports.

After low-to-no progress was made over the following months, the war became a hand-to-hand fighting scene, with brutal assaults and suicidal strikes.

On August 6, Lt Gen Sir Frederick Stopford, was ordered to land 25,000 ordinary men from Kitchener’s New Army, who have volunteered to put the Germans on the beaches of Sulva Bay to go through Gallipoli and stop the Turks.

The Turkish commander Mustafa Kemal, made an attempt to put all his men together and take over the new invasion.

After Kitchener’s army reached the beach, the fights didn’t stop for months. However, the number of people able to fight was running low, sign that the game was almost over.

Generals kept on coming and going, two of them returning home because of stress, Stopford got fired during the operation at Suvla Bay, while Hamilton had been relieved.

The preparations for the withdrawal were in place by early December. On December 27, 1915, after one of Britain’s most costly military campaigns had ended, over 100,000 men, would have walked the shores of Gallipoli, holding on to their guns and whispering like ghosts, while approaching the waiting ships.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE