The Gallipoli Campaign took place on the Gallipoli peninsula between 17 February 1915 and 9 January 1916. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles (the continental boundary between Europe and Asia).
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire had the reputation of being the “sick man of Europe”, weakened by political instability and military defeats. In 1908, a group of young officers, known as the Young Turks, seized power in Constantinople (Istanbul). The new régime implemented a program of reform to modernise the outdated political and economic system. Germany was an enthusiastic supporter and provided significant investment and sent a German Military Mission in 1913 to Constantinople. The Germans found increasing influence in the region, despite Britain and France previously being the predominant powers.
On 30 July 1914, two days after the outbreak of the war in Europe, the Ottoman leaders agreed to form a secret Ottoman-German alliance against Russia, although it did not require them to undertake military action however, in September the German Navy took over command of the Ottoman navy and bombarded the Russian port of Odessa sinking several Russian ships. The Ottomans refused an allied demand to expel the German Military Mission and on 31 October 1914, entered the war on the side of the Central Powers.
By late 1914 the war on the Western Front had become a stalemate with all overland trade routes closed. Lines of trenches had been dug by both sides, running from the Swiss border to the English Channel as the war of manoeuvre ended with trench warfare.
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles creating a new front to draw Bulgaria and Greece (both formerly ruled by the Ottomans) into the war on the allied side and maintaining access to Russia through the Black Sea. On 2 January 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting an offensive in the Caucasus.
On 19 February 1915, the first attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French naval task force which began a long-range bombardment of Ottoman coastal artillery batteries, Royal Marines were landed to destroy guns at Kum Kale and Seddülbahir. The main naval attack (18 March 1915) comprising of 18 battleships with support of cruisers and destroyers engaged the forts. The French battleship Bouvet struck a mine in the straits, HMS Irresistible and HMS Inflexible were damaged with other shipping damaged or sunk. The minesweepers manned by civilians retreated under constant fire leaving the minefields largely intact.
After the failure of the naval attack, troops were assembled for an amphibious landing (25 April 1915) on five beaches at Cape Helles (British, the French initially landed at Kum Kale on the Asiatic shore) and along the Ari Burnu coastline on the peninsula (Australian and New Zealand troops formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps creating the ANZAC Corps). Resistance at some of the beach landings was strong (6 Victoria Crosses won at W Beach, 3 at V Beach) and the Ottoman infantry made many counter attacks at Helles and ANZAC until they eventually disengaged themselves under the cover of darkness.The allied attack had lost momentum, only a few inland advances were made the next day and Y Beach was evacuated. As the Ottomans brought up reinforcements a swift allied victory disappeared and the fighting became a battle of attrition.
On 6 August reinforced with three New Army and two Territorial Divisions, landings were made at Suvla Bay as part of a new offensive. Diversionary attacks at Lone Pine, the Nek and Chunuk Bair in the ANZAC sector and at Krithia (now Alcitepe) in the Helles sector by the British were made. After failed attempts to take the Anafarta Plain (Suvla) the Newfoundland Regiment landed in September but after eight months’ fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was over.
General Sir Ian Hamilton, (commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) was sacked in October and plans for an evacuation were made. Gradual withdrawals of troops were made first at Suvla then at ANZAC during December with no casualties suffered.
At Helles the garrison was attacked on 7 January at Gully Spur but later that night 7/8 January, under the cover of darkness troops began to fall back to the beaches under a naval bombardment. The Newfoundland Regiment was formed as part of a rearguard and withdrew with the last remaining troops on the 9 January 1916.
STORRINGTON AND DISTRICT VILLAGES
CASUALTIES IN THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN
36242 Gunner Holden, the Royal Garrison Artillery (90th Heavy Battery), died on 28th May 1915. He is commemorated at Skew Bridge Cemetery (Gallipoli)
on the Storrington War Memorial, Storrington Roll of Honour and in the Storrington Book of Remembrance. He is also commemorated on the gravestone of his sisters Ethel (who died on 8th April 1926, aged 29) in St Mary’s Churchyard, Storrington.
Ralph Holden was born in Sompting in 1893 the fourth child (of 5 and only boy) to George and Georgina Holden. The family had moved around over the years, George working variously as a gardener, groom or cowman. Both Ralph and his younger sister (Ethel) had been born in Sompting and were still there in 1901 at the time of the census. By the time of the census in 1911 all 4 girls were in service and only 17 year old Ralph was living with his parents at the Abbey Dairy in Storrington. Ralph was working as a groom /gardener and George as a cowman.
Ralph was still living in Storrington when he enlisted at Pulborough into the Royal Garrison Artillery. He arrived in Egypt on 2nd April 1915, part of the Commonwealth forces in the campaign to force Turkey out of the war.
The Allies landed under fire from the Turks at Cape Helles (the tip of the peninsula) on Gallipoli on 25-26th April 1915. With no proper landing craft, the men were offloaded from the troop ships into rowing boats towed by steam launches with the intention of landing on five beaches. The delay between the failure of the naval engagement and the landings had allowed the Turks to reinforce and reorganise their troops under German command. The landings were met by heavy machine gun and rifle fire and the landing on one beach alone (“V” Beach) resulted in over 1200 casualties. By nightfall on 25th however the troops had a foothold on all 5 beaches. The first attack was mounted on 28th April, but fell short of its objective as fresh Turkish forces joined the battle. The Turks counter attacked but were repulsed. The assaults were renewed after reinforcements arrived but there were heavy casualties. By 8th May it was said that “the deadlock at Cape Helles was as complete as that on the Western Front”. The Turks tried to force the Allies to withdraw. By May 24th there were numerous men of both sides, dead or dying, lying in no man’s land in the heat. With decaying bodies making the position insufferable, a nine hour truce was called on 24th to enable wounded men and bodies to be retrieved. After that the attacks and counter attacks continued. Ralph Holden died in action aged 21 years.
Skew Bridge Cemetery was named for the wooden bridge just behind the line occupied by the Allied forces at the start of the campaign. It was begun during the fighting in early May and was used throughout the occupation. At the Armistice it contained only 53 graves but was enlarged when further burials were brought in from the battlefields and some smaller cemeteries. There are now 607 WW1 servicemen buried or commemorated in the cemetery – 351 are unidentified. The “special memorials” commemorate the men “known or believed” to be buried among them but whose graves cannot be identified.
Ralph Holden was awarded the 15 Star and the Victory and British War Medals.
JOHN CUNCLIFFE PICKERSGILL-CUNCLIFFE
Captain with the 6th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, John C Pickersgill Cunliffe died on 4th June 1915 in the Dardanelles and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, the Storrington and Haileybury War Memorials, The Storrington Roll of Honour and in the Storrington Book of Remembrance.
John Cunliffe Pickersgill Cunliffe was born on 27th January 1884 and baptised on 1st March in the same year at St Mary, Oxted Surrey, the son of Charles Pickersgill Cunliffe and Evelyn Audrey Pickersgill Cunliffe nee Masters, the first of their 4 children.
John was given the same name as Charles’ father and their second son, who was born in Sullington, was given the name Evelyn Edward Pickersgill Cunliffe. The 1891 census shows that the 3rd child, a daughter called Valentine, was also born in Sullington. By the time of the 1891 census the family (with their servants) were residing in Burgate, Godalming, Surrey although Charles was not present on the night of the census as he was visiting the Felton family at Sandgate House, Sullington. On the 1891 census his occupation was shown as “brewer” although by 1901 he was describing himself as being of “independent means”. The 1901 census shows Charles and Evelyn and their two daughters were living at Beacon Park, Frensham (near Farnham) Surrey (where Charles died on 26th September 1905 aged 42) while both boys were at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire.
Haileybury was originally built by the East India Company as a training college for civil servants to staff India. It had closed in 1854 but re opened 4 years later as a public school. The school’s records of the men listed on its War Memorial show that John was at the school from 1896 until 1902, although De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918 says that John joined the Sussex Militia in 1898 (aged14?) and served with them in the Boer War 1901-02. The Roll of Honour site for Sussex says that the 3rd Battalion volunteered for overseas service and embarked for the Cape on 29th March 1901 where it undertook duties on lines of communication, security and as convoy guards, returning on 11th September 1902. De Ruvigny also states that John was gazetted to the 2nd Worcestershire Regiment on 4th July 1903 as Lieutenant. The 1911 Census shows him as being with that Battalion in India aged 27 years.
The 1911 census also showed John’s mother (who dropped the “Evelyn” and was enumerated as Audrey) living at Cobb Court Cootham with her daughter Valentine; It is this address that is shown as his residence on the Probate Calendar of 1915.
De Ruvigny’s Roll says that John retired from the Army on 1st July 1913 and took part in the Cape to Cairo Motor Expedition. On the outbreak of war he rejoined his old Regiment and embarked for France on 27th August 1914. He was promoted to Captain on 1st September and was injured on 24th October near Lille, being invalided back to England. He had recovered by 12th May 1915 and embarked to rejoin his Regiment in the Dardanelles where he was shot in the head on 4th June while exhorting his men to advance.
John was awarded the 1914 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.
The Helles Memorial
HAROLD LUNN FERRIER AUSTIN
Second Lieutenant with Worcestershire Regiment died on 6th January 1916 aged 34. Harold Austin is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery Cape Helles Gallipoli and is commemorated on the Storrington War Memorial, the Haileybury Roll of Honour, the Worcestershire Regiment Roll of Honour, The Storrington Roll of Honour and in the Storrington Book of Remembrance.
Born on 21st May 1881 in Kew to Walter and Agnes Austin, Harold was a second child and only son. The 1881 census describes Walter as a mathematics tutor and by 1891 Walter and Agnes are in Mount Lodge, Church Street, Storrington where Walter is described as a captain in the Militia and a School Army tutor, probably at The College in Church Street but this is not specified.
The entry in De Ruvigny’s Roll says that Harold was educated in “The Wick” Brighton (a prep school in Furze Hill, Hove, which may have been parodied in Dickens’ Dombey & Son) before attending Haileybury from 1895 to 1899. The entry says Harold had secured a place at Sandhurst before being medically rejected for poor eyesight. Instead he went to Valparaiso, South America where he worked for the business firm of Williamson Balfour and Co. He married Margaret Eve Llewellyn on 16th December 1910 in Chile.
At the outbreak of war he obtained a commission as Second Lieutenant with 12th (Service) Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment on 12th December 1914, which was posted as part of the Mediterranean Force in the Dardanelles in September 1915. On arrival he was attached to the 9th (Service) Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
Following the landings in Gallipoli in April 1915, little change had occurred in the frontline throughout the summer. The Allied forces, living in crowded trenches, were ravaged by inadequate food, flies and dysentery. The High Command chose to reinforce rather than withdraw (which would have been difficult in the short summer nights) and a further landing of troops took place in August 1915. Due to a combination of factors this too did not succeed and, although the failure ended the Allies hopes in the Dardanelles, the decision to withdraw was not taken until early December. On 19/20th December 1915 the men were evacuated from Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay and on 7th/8th /9th January 1916 it was the turn of the men on Cape Helles: Harold Austin was killed in action on January 6th 1916
Due to the conditions at the time many of the bodies lay where they had fallen over the preceding 8 months of the campaign. It was only after the Armistice that any attempt could be made to recover the dead, by which time many could not be identified. CWGC website states there are 3,360 servicemen buried or commemorated at Twelve Tree Copse, 2226 are unidentified.
Howard Austin was awarded the 15 Star as well as the Victory and British War Medals.
Leonard Jupp had a very different war to his brother Clifford. The 4th son of William and Marion Jupp he was born during their time at Wisborough Green in 1893. Leonard enlisted on the same day as his brother Clifford (31st August 1914) at St Johns in Newfoundland (not at that time a part of Canada) His enlistment papers describe him as a single man, 5 foot 11 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes – a description similar to his brother. They both embarked on the “SS Florizal” for England in October 1914 and re embarked at Devonport for Alexandria where they arrived on 31st August 1915. From Alexandria they sailed for Gallipoli on 13th September landing at Suvla Bay on 20th September.
Although they arrived near the end of the campaign conditions in the area were still poor. By the end of November Leonard had been admitted to the 26th Casualty Clearing Station with dysentery and in December he suffered from frostbite which was sufficiently severe to have him readmitted and invalided back to England the day after Christmas. It was not until March of 1916 that he was re-assigned to the Company Depot in Ayr. This was not the end of his health problems though. In 1917 he was admitted to Dundee War Hospital (where the Regiment was then based) with scabies and later in the same year in September he was admitted into 1st Scottish War Hospital at Aberdeen with Laryngitis. It was around this time that TB was discovered which they tried to treat with an operation. Finally, on 21st March 1918 he was permanently discharged as being unfit for service – he was discharged into a Sanatorium, and eventually (via Ashford in Kent) transferred to one in Brighton by May 1919. The Army Medical Board determined that although the TB was of unknown origin it was exacerbated by his wartime experience, that he would not recover within twelve months and awarded him a pension – the equivalent of $50 a month for 1 year.
Leonard’s death was registered locally in the March Quarter of 1922 – the army records say it took place on 31st January 1921(sic). Leonard was 28 years old.
Leonard (as well as his brothers Claude and Clifford) are listed on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Of the other brothers, the eldest, Leslie Thomas (born 1887) died in 1959 in Pulborough, Percy (born 1889) died in Canada in 1942 having sailed there in 1911 and Stuart Harry (b 1897) died in 1960 resident at Westwick Fryern Road Storrington.
According to the Medal Rolls Index Card, Leonard was a sergeant with the Regiment. He was awarded the 15 Star as well as the Victory and British War Medals.
Private 1944 Duke, 1/1st Battalion, Sussex Yeomanry attached to the 42nd Division on Gallipoli. Died of wounds and buried at sea 21st December 1915. Born in Amberley and enlisted in Brighton. Next of kin, residents of Amberley. Commemorated on The Cape Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
JOHN LIONEL CALVERT BOOTH
Lieutenant 12th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Austalian and New Zealand Army Corps. Gallipoli. Killed in action 1st May 1915. Commemorated on The Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli
Private 1817 Goode, 15th Battalion, Australian Infantry. ANZAC Corps, Gallipoli. Killed in action 7th August 1915. Buried in Lone Pine Cemetery Gallipoli.
Private 790 Nicolls, 5th Battalion, Australian Infantry. ANZAC Corps, Gallipoli. Killed in action 26th April 1915. Buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli.
Lone Pine Cemetery