Battles & Incidents
25 April 1915 to 9th January 1916
Once the Western Front had become a static trench war, the Allies looked for an alternative front on which to try to defeat Germany and its ally, Turkey. In response to Russian requests for help in the war against Turkey, the Allies decided to attack the Gallipoli peninsula with the aim of capturing Constantinople (now Istanbul) and forcing Turkey to surrender.
When purely naval attacks in February and March 1915 failed to force a way through the Dardanelles (the straits alongside the Gallipoli peninsula), the Allies put British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops ashore on 25th April 1915. These included two of the sons of John White, the artist, who were both in the Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry (see separate panels). Further landings followed, but the Allies could not break through the Turkish defences, and a stalemate developed.
In extremely harsh temperatures and with high levels of disease, the Allies suffered terrible casualties. The British alone suffered 214,000 caualties, 145,000 of which were due to disease.
Even the main supporters of the Gallipoli operation, headed by Winston Churchill, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty, were eventually persuaded that the operation had failed.
The Allies evacuated the Gallipoli peninsula between 10th December 1915 and 9th January 1916, an operation carried out without a single casualty.