The events of April 25, 1915 on a far-away Turkish headland have become entrenched in our collective memory.
The Gallipoli campaign marked New Zealand's coming-of-age.
There was no victory. After nine months of bitter fighting, the Anzacs withdrew from the peninsula and their struggle failed to have any significant influence on the outcome of WWI. But 93 years on, the campaign has not been forgotten.
Although more New Zealanders were killed in other campaigns, the Gallipoli losses were the highest, percentage-wise, of any campaign during that war.
Almost a quarter of the 8556 New Zealand forces who landed there lost their lives. Another 4852 of our soldiers were injured.
There was hardly a community in the country not affected and that legacy continues to be commemorated today, in the numerous services held both around New Zealand and the world.
But though we are familiar with the story now, the public in 1915 was largely unaware of the supreme sacrifice our troops had made until the casualty lists began appearing in newspapers.
Much of the information surrounding the WWI campaigns was classified and only snippets of news filtered through.
Here, we take a look at what the New Zealand Herald was reporting this week 93 years ago:
Wednesday April 21, 1915
Turks at Gallipoli — Great force gathered — Concentration on coast
An aeroplane reports that the Turks are concentrated in great strength along the coasts north of Gallipoli and to the north-east, whither the Turks have brought a great quantity of heavy artillery.
It is estimated that there are 700 mines between Marmora Island and the mainland.
Thursday April 22, 1915
The attack on Turkey — Troops near Dardanelles — Landed on Aegean island
No specific mention of New Zealand troops, however a Telegraph/PA report says thirty-five thousand British and French troops have been landed at Mudros, a port on the southern coast of Lemnos, an island in the Aegean Sea.
It is believed that operations in the Dardanelles are about to be resumed... A report from Odessa states that the allies are awaiting an expedition from the Black Sea to co-operate in the attack on the Dardanelles.
A Daily Mail correspondent, writing from Salonika, reports that many civilians have departed from Smyrna in the expectation of the allied fleet landing forces. The garrison remains and, and preparations for defence are being rushed forward.
Friday April 23, 1915
No mention of the Dardanelles. The main new article refers to developments east of Ypres, where British troops have captured a key point known as Hill 60.
Saturday April 24, 1915
British General Sir Ian Hamilton is named commander-in-chief of the Dardanelles expedition. The Herald devotes half a column to his appointment and details his service history and visit to New Zealand the previous year:
No effort of imagination was necessary to make one realise that the man of lithe figure and alert bearing who galloped on to the review ground at Hautapu with a numerous staff following him was General Sir Ian Hamilton, the man who fought with the Gordon highlanders at Cabul, was wounded at Majuba, participated in the Soudan campaign and a score of Indian frontier engagements, sprang to fame in South Africa, witnessed the carnage of the Russo-Japanese war, and who now comes to New Zealand to inspect the forces.
Fugitives report landing of British force — Port of Enos evacuated by Turks
A report by wireless telegraphy from Berlin states that 20,000 English and French troops have landed at Enos, Turkey's most westerly port in the Aegean Sea. There was a heavy cannonade between the Turkish batteries and the allies' ships.
Activity among troops on Lemnos Island
A report from Athens states that there is great activity among the British forces on the island of Lemnos. The censorship has been made more rigid.
Gallipoli Peninsula bombarded by warships
On Thursday the allied fleet resumed the bombardment of Gallipoli Peninsula, on the European side of the Dardanelles, where the Turks were erecting fortifications.
A map was published showing the Dardanelles and marking places named in the news reports.
Sunday April 25, 1915
No newspaper as the Herald was not published on Sundays.
Monday April 26, 1915
Main headlines refer once more to the Flanders front north of Ypres. The report states that the Germans "forced the French troops to retire some distance" through the use of "asphyxiating bombs" in defiance of the Hague Convention. Despite the German advance, the British had retained possession of Hill 60, according to reports.
News from Turkey was less comprehensive, but "unofficial reports" referred to a "decisive action" in the Dardanelles.
Rumours from Dardanelles
Unofficial reports from Athens state that a decisive action has begun in the Dardanelles. The allied squadrons bombarded the straits at various points. A landing was effected at three points: At Suvla Bay, in the Gallipoli Peninsula, at Enos, and at Bulair.
Tuesday April 27, 1915
A report states that the "Narrows" can be forced but it is essential that a powerful army is ready to occupy the Gallipoli Peninula.
Allies' task in the Dardanelles
Naval men are surprised at the small damage done to the forts, though the fire of the warships completely silenced them. Landing parties found many of the Turkish guns intact. The fire of the warships drove the gunners in the forts at the Narrows from their guns to bomb-proof shelters, but it is improbable that many guns were put out of action.
The article went on to say that the main obstacles expected in the future were: mines "which are carried down the straits by a four-knot current", torpedo tubes and "concealed batteries of heavy howitzers, and batteries of field guns, which are able to be moved among the hills, and can be used to attack the warships from unexpected spots".
An expeditionary force will be required, with many field howitzers, to occupy Gallipoli.
Battleship Triumph in the straits
A Reuters correspondent aboard the British battleship Triumph reported that the ship had entered the Dardanelles and was fired on from trenches at the western end of the Gallipoli Range by 7.5in guns.
After half an hour the Triumph changed her position, and a howitzer battery on the Asiatic shore then dropped 16 shells in a quarter of an hour, of which three struck the Triumph, inflicting... damage and wounding two sailors. The Triumph silenced the howitzers in a few minutes, and resumed the bombardment of the trenches.
Allied warships brought down two Turkish aeroplanes which were flying over the island of Tenedos. The bombardment of the straits continues.
Wednesday April 28, 1915
A report, dated April 26, is published. This is the first official report of the Gallipoli landings.
Landing of army on Gallipoli Peninsula
The Admiralty and the War Office have issued a combined communiqué stating that an attack on the Dardanelles by the fleet and army was resumed yesterday.
The disembarkation of the army, covered by the fleet, began before sunrise at various points on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and in spite of serious opposition from and enemy behind strong entrenchments and entanglements, it was completely successful.
Before nightfall a large force had been established ashore. The landing of troops still continues.
Thursday April 29, 1915
A more comprehensive account of the situation at Gallipoli is reported:
Fight at Dardanelles — Troops on both sides — 500 Turkish prisoners
It is officially announced that allied troops have been landed on both the Asiatic and European sides of the Dardanelles. French troops have occupied Kum Kale at the entrance to the straits on the Asiatic side. Seven night counter-attacks by the Turks, who were supported by heavy artillery, were repulsed, and 500 prisoners were taken. The troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula have been engaged in hard fighting, but are thoroughly making good their footing with the help of the fleet.
An official message from Cairo states that the allies, under General Sir Ian Hamilton, have effected a landing on both sides of the Dardanelles under excellent conditions. Many prisoners have been taken. The allies continue to advance.
Friday April 30, 1915
New Zealanders are praised for their efforts in the Dardanelles; landing points are identified; reports from Australia indicate discontent over censorship issues; New Zealand Prime Minister William Massey addresses the public in Wellington.
Splendid gallantry — New Zealanders praised
Intimation that New Zealand and Australian troops have been transported to the Dardanelles, and have been engaged in action, is conveyed in cable messages from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, received yesterday in New Zealand and Australia.
The messages refer to the "splendid gallantry" and "magnificent achievement" of the New Zealand and Australian contingents "in the successful progress at the Dardanelles," and convey the congratulations of the Imperial Government.
The War Office announces that the allied troops have established a line across the north-western extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula, in spite of continual opposition by the enemy. Formidable defences in the form of barbed-wire entanglements on land and along the coast, and hidden pits containing spikes at the bottom, were successfully overcome by the troops.
The allies' success at the Dardanelles is reported to have caused much excitement in Greece.
Allies overcome formidable defences
The Prime Minister has received the following cable from the High Commissioner in London, date April 29: "The War Office announces that in the face of continual opposition the allied troops established themselves across the Gallipoli Peninsula at points north-east of Easki Hossarlik to the mouth of a stream on the opposite side. They beat off attacks from Sari Bair, and are steadily advancing."
Troops disembarked at four points
The four principal points of debarkation were Suvla Point on the west coast of the Gallipoli Peninsula, north of Cape Helles; the extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Sedd-el-Bahr, at the entrance to the straits on the European side, Kum Kale, at the entrance on the Asiatic side, and on the coast of the Gulf of Saron, below Ghennikos, which stands in line with the town of Gallipoli. The majority of the troops debarked at Sedd-el-Bahr.
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps organised
During the long period of training in Eygpt, the soldiers of the Commonwealth and of the Dominion were organised into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, which was placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir William Birdwood. The corps consist of two divisions, the Australian Division under Major-General Bridges and the New Zealand and Australian Division under Major-General Sir Alexander Godley, with the Second Light Horse Brigade acting as corps troops.
An announcement that the Imperial authorities had accepted a further contribution of troops was made by the Prime Minister on April 18. Mr. Massey stated that this supplementary force, which is in addition to the regular reinforcements, will comprise 2000 infantry and 500 artillery. The Prime Minister stated that in all 17,000 men have been sent from New Zealand, including the force of between 1100 and 1200 sent to Samoa.
Action of Australian censor criticised
In the House of Representatives Mr. Anatey hotly protested that the deputy-chief censor, acting under instructions of the chief sensor in London, had for three days suppressed cable messages relating to the landing of Australian troops at the Dardanelles. He complained that the censor gave the information to the Governor-General, who withheld it from the public.
New Zealand's part — Meeting in Wellington
The cable from the Secretary of State for the Colonies congratulating New Zealand on the effort of the Dominion's troops in the Dardanelles, was read by Mr. Massey at a public demonstration at 12.30 to-day in front of Parliament Buildings. A half-holiday was declared in Government Departments for the occasion. Despite the short notice there were 4000 or 5000 people present.
After mentioning that he had yesterday congratulated the Canadians and little thought that it would be our turn to-day, Mr. Massey added: 'We have sent out on active service 17,000 men, the best and brightest in this community... In a few months, if the war lasts — and I believe it will last because the end does not appear to be in sight — New Zealand will have 25,000 men on the other side of the world fighting for their King, for the Empire, and for their country. (Cheers) I feel absolutely certain of this, that if another 25,000 men are required from New Zealand - and they may be required — they will be forthcoming from the manhood of this country...'
On the web: The Auckland War Memorial Museum has a Book of Remembrance on its website where people can post messages to remember those who served and died in war.