• 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli

  • Menin Gate Last Post, Ypres

  • Rhododendron Ridge, Gallipoli

  • Tyne Cot, Belgium

  • Villers-Bretonneux, France

The Other Gallipoli Centenaries

August Offensive 2015

As anticipation of the commemoration of the ANZAC landing on 25 April 2015 builds, it is easy to overlook the other centenaries of significant Gallipoli actions that will occur in the same year

The emotive Dawn Service rightly recognises the achievement of the whole ANZAC force in gaining an initial lodgement on the west coast of the peninsula.  Pre-eminent in that success is the performance of the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Australian Division in its role as the covering force or assault brigade.  Similarly, the service at Lone Pine Cemetery, immediately after the Dawn Service, honours the overall Australian sacrifice during the campaign.  But it always saddens me that anyone visiting Gallipoli just for the 25 April commemorations risks coming away with the experience of the events of that day, but not an understanding of the much bigger story of the eight-month campaign.  This is illustrated by the fact that many people think all the major actions all took place during the period of the landing.

What are the other significant Gallipoli centenaries that fall during 2015?

Many people don’t know that the 2nd Australian Infantry Brigade, temporarily detached from ANZAC, fought in the British sector at Helles, during the second battle for Krithia village, on 8 May.  The brigade was ordered forward late on the last day of the battle, after a hasty and ill-considered decision by a frustrated General Hamilton.  An advance of 1280 metres, most of it under heavy fire, cost 1000 casualties but the overall attack failed.  However their performance in this, the first deliberate brigade attack conducted by Australians, earned the respect of the watching British troops

The desperate struggle for Lone Pine, as part of the August Offensive, was a separate action to the fighting there on 25 and 26 April.  Over the period 6 to 9 August the four battalions of the 1st  Australian Infantry Brigade, reinforced by the 7th and 12th battalions, carried out the opening engagement of the offensive in the ANZAC sector.  Planned as a feint to draw Turkish attention away from the main effort against the Sari Bair range to the north, the attack developed into a ferocious battle for a key position in the Turkish line

In a recent Historical Highlight we considered the 3rd Light Horse Brigade attack at The Nek, on what has to be one of the saddest pieces of ground at Gallipoli.  Knowing what contributed to the events that took place there early on 7 August leaves you torn, in equal measure, between anger and pride

And, of course, there is the impossible task, given to the weakened 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, of capturing Hill 971 after a night approach-march through incredibly rough and un-reconnoitred terrain.  To stand on the Sari Bair range and look down on that area is to marvel at just what those men were able to achieve, despite the failure of the overall offensive

We now know the results of the ballot for the Anzac Day event of April 2015 at Gallipoli and I imagine there is disappointment among some people with a family connection to the events mentioned above. The August Offensive Tour from Boronia Battlefield Tours offers the opportunity to understand these events in a more detailed and personal way.  Participants will see the ground and hear the plans, expectation and results of the various actions, before commemorating the achievements of those involved.  It is a most appropriate alternative to the more somewhat orchestrated recognition of the landing on 25 April

To view our comprehensive day-by-day Gallipoli 2015 – August Offensive Tour itinerary please click here

For more information about the August Offenisve Tour, please contact us today or call 1800 035 350.

Article written by Rod Margetts - who is a battlefield tour guide for Boronia Travel Centre.
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