Landing at Anzac Cove
Members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) landed at Gallipoli, about 300km south-west of Istanbul at what became known as Anzac Cove, on 25 April 1915 and established a tenuous hold on the steep slopes above the beach. At the same time, British forces landed at Cape Helles further south and were soon joined by French troops.
During the early days of the eight month campaign, the Allies – the soldiers of Britain and France and their dominions – tried to break through Turkish lines, while the Turks tried to drive the Allied troops off the peninsula. Neither side succeeded.
Some 8,700 Australians lost their lives and some 18,000 were wounded during the campaign.
The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation which ended on 19–20 December 1915, conducted under a well-planned deception operation.
In August 1915, a major offensive was undertaken to try and break out of the ‘Anzac’ area in conjunction with feint attacks at Cape Helles, and a further British landing at Suvla Bay. It was hoped this breakout would allow the Allied armies to carry out the aim of the original landings and capture the Straits of the Dardanelles.
Lone Pine was the opening battle of the offensive and was designed as a feint to draw Ottoman reserves from the main assault against the heights of Chunuk Bair in the Sari Bair Range to the north. While the main Turkish trenches at Lone Pine were taken in the battle’s opening minutes, four days of fierce fighting followed resulting in more than 2,000 Australian casualties.
Early on the morning of 7 August 1915, the men of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments, in four successive waves, made a valiant but futile attempt to seize Turkish trenches at the Nek. The plan called for a simultaneous assault by New Zealand troops from the Ottoman rear, but they had been unable to attain their objective the previous night and took no part in the attack. More than 370 Australians were killed or wounded.
Following Gallipoli, Australian forces fought on the Western Front and in the Middle East.
Facts and figures
Australians who served
- Some 60,000 Australians served at Gallipoli during the eight-month campaign
- Some 8,700 Australians lost their lives
- Some 18,000 were wounded
- 33 Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries in Türkiye, 21 are in the Anzac area
- Major cemeteries include Lone Pine, Shrapnel Valley, Ari Burnu, the Beach, and Shell Green
- There are more than 7,200 Australians buried in cemeteries in Türkiye or listed as missing on Gallipoli
- Anzac Day marks the anniversary of 25 April 1915, the date of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) during the First World War.
- The Gallipoli campaign stands as a significant event in the shared histories of Türkiye, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France.