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Anzac Day 2015, 100 Years of Memories.

The Battle of Gallipoli will always be remembered as World War One Anzac Day 2015 marks 100 years.

The Battle of Gallipoli will always be remembered in history as one of the military campaigns, in World War One, that ended so disastrously for the allied forces. The battle which took place in the now famous Gallipoli Peninsula, lasted from 25th April 1915 to 9th January 1916. It was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, whose main strategy was to create a new battle front that could overwhelm the ottomans, hence bringing the war to an early end. However, Churchill’s plan went awfully wrong with the Gallipoli assault costing the allies a total of 142,113 soldiers while 195,000 fighters went down on the Turks’ side.

Australia and New Zealand were drawn into the war when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was hurriedly formed to fight alongside the allied forces as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. By the time the campaign came to an end, ANZAC had lost about 500 fighters on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It is due to this reason that the two countries celebrate ANZAC Day on every 25th of April every year. However, this year’s celebrations will be obviously different since they will be marking 100 years since the Gallipoli landings. It is for the same reason that RSL Art Union has seized the moment to organize a special lottery draw known as the Gallipoli draw in honor of the Australian fallen heroes who gallantly fought in the Gallipoli Battle.

The idea of the Gallipoli assault was hatched on November 25th 1914 when the then First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Winston Churchill proposed a plan, to the War Council of the British government, for a new battle front in the Dardanelles. The plan was given a nod by the War Council on 15th January 1915, which saw the British troops based in Egypt being put on high alert. The war waged by the Central Powers was majorly on two fronts – the Eastern and Western fronts. Coming up against strong armies as the French and the Russian armies was already taking its toll on the on the Germans. The smaller Austrian army’s input was almost insignificant when compared to that of the Germany army.

Churchill’s strategy was simple. Create another war front and force the Germans to divide their troops further since the seemingly weak Turkish army would need the Germans’ support. If this happened, the Germans’ lines in the East or West would be greatly weakened giving the allied forces an easier task of vanquishing them. Churchill regarded the Turks, who joined the Central Powers in the month of November 1914, as the soft underbelly of the allies’ enemies. He then moved with speed to contact Admiral Carden, who was by then heading the British fleet which was anchored off the Dardanelles, to get his views about the plan. Admiral Carden chose to be cautious on a naval assault directed at the Turkish troops in the Dardanelles. He suggested to Churchill that a gradual assault could bear more fruit for the allies. However, being the First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill went ahead and pushed Carden to draft a plan which was to be submitted to the War office. The speed with which Churchill was pushing an assault on the Dardanelles did not go down well with senior commanders of the navy. They expressed their concern that Churchill’s hurried plan could end up backfiring on the allies hence a long term plan was necessary. Eventually, Churchill’s enthusiasm carried the day as the War Council gave his plan a nod and February was marked as the month in launch the campaign. However, it is still not clear about what was actually decided the War Council meeting since even though Churchill believed that he had been given a green light to go ahead with the attack, contradictory statements came from some members of the War Council, implying that what was decided was actually just “Provisional to prepare, but nothing more.” Admiral Arthur Wilson, a naval member of the Council, was quoted saying that: “It was not my business. I was not in any way connected with the question, and it had never in any way officially been put before me." While Churchill’s own secretary believed that the navy top brass who were present had only agreed to a purely naval operation on condition that there was always the option of drawing back and the question of what came to be known as forcing the Dardanelles wasn’t on the table.

It is in such uncertainty on what the War Council believed that Churchill’s strategy was pushed through. It is obvious that there was a wrong belief that the Turks would be a walk-over which only needed minimal force to neutralize. Admiral Carden was then given the orders to prepare for an attack. It is so ironical that in the year 1911, Churchill himself had written that it was impossible to force the Dardanelles and nobody in his right mind would expose a contemporary fleet to such glaring risk! Nevertheless, he had been immensely awed by the sheer might and destructive capabilities of the German weaponry in the assault on Belgium strongholds in 1914. He was convinced that the Turkish forts in the Dardanelles were sitting ducks for the naval gunfire of the British. As ANZAC and British troops were being put on high alert in Egypt, Carden launched the assault on the Turkish forts in the Dardanelles on February 19th 1915.

The first attack went as planned as the frontline forts at Kum Kale and Sedd-el- Bahr were easily defeated by the allies. However, a more fierce opposition was encountered in channels. In the straits, the Turks had planted several mines which the mine sweeping trawlers couldn’t clear effectively. The ships in Carden’s fleet were all old except one named “Queen Elizabeth.” This coupled with a surprisingly fierce resistance by the Turks, than earlier anticipated, brought the assault to a sudden halt. Carden succumbed to ill-health and eventually his place was taken by a Rear-Admiral Robeck.

By then there was more input into the British plan from the military. Lord Kitchener’s former military secretary, Lieutenant-General Birdwood, was in full command of the newly formed ANZAC’s whose base was in Egypt. He suggested that a military boost for the navy was essential. This saw General Sir Ian Hamilton take charge as the man in command of the70, 000 soldiers picked from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, as well as from France, to constitute the newly formed Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. This was the beginning of the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the Gallipoli Battle. On February 13th General Sir Hamilton, with a hurriedly gathered staff, set out for the Dardanelles. He arrived on the 18th of March with very little knowledge about the military situation on the ground, besides having scanty information on the strength of the Turkish army. This was obviously a tactical error of judgment as, like many others, he probably must have underestimated the Turks’ ability in battle. This could cost the force under his command heavily.

On the same date of Hamilton’s arrival, the allied forces suffered an immensely humiliating naval setback, after three British battleships were sunk while three others were critically crippled. The British had lost about two thirds of their warships in just a single stroke. Robeck did not know what to do next since the trawlers used to clear the mines in the straits had proved to be disastrously ineffective while the Turks had taken charge of the higher ground which gave them a strategic upper hand. For a while the idea of employing destroyers to clear the mines in the channels was thrown around but it could take ages to organize. Finally the army recommended that they should take over.

On 22nd March, Robeck and Hamilton came to a decision that it would be prudent for the naval fleet to sail to Alexandria in order to give it enough time to regain as Hamilton organized his force for a ground battle. Winston Churchill would later admit that the decision was taken behind the government’s back, since there was no formal decision to launch a land assault reached or noted anywhere; neither in War Council nor in the cabinet records. He quipped that, “This silent plunge into this vast military venture must be regarded as extraordinary.” While all this was happening, the War Council never met and they would not for the next two months. The army’s exploits in the Gallipoli battle was a complete disaster. It must have been due to the fact that the army commanders on the ground wrongly underrated the opposition from the Turks who they considered below the standard of the ANZAC and British troops.

Sir Maurice Hankey, the then War Council secretary aptly described the whole debacle as a big “gamble” that was based on the false belief that the Turkish troops were a weak enemy. Even Sir John Maxwell, the General Officer commanding Egypt, wrote to inquire about the person that was supposed to lead the combined force of the ground and navy troops as well as the GOC Egypt, the main base of the troops. He inquired, “Who will co-ordinate and direct this great combine?” While Hamilton was in charge of the ground troops; Robeck commandeered the navy and Maxwell remained GOC Egypt, the base of the troops. Funnily, no person was given the overall command.

Hamilton chose to land on Gallipoli. The landing point was no big secret since the security in Hamilton’s headquarters as very weak. Hamilton had planned that:

  • The 29th Division would make their landing on five little beaches at the Southern part of the Peninsula.
  • The ANZAC was to land a little bit further north by a promontory known as Gaba Tepe.
  • The French would launch a ploy by landing at Besika Bay, but make a proper landing at Kum Kale to cover the 29th Division.

It is presumed that the biggest mistake made by allies in the straits was their underestimation of the Turks’ prowess at war. However, it is true that the Turkish army was not only actually weak in region but also poorly led. The command of the Turkish troops was handed to General Liman Von Sanders who was tasked to defend 150 miles of coastline with just 84,000 fighters. However the fighting capacity was just about 62,000 fighters. The troops were also not only ill equipped but the supplies were also poor. Sanders had not even a single plane that could come to his aid. However, much to the dismay of his officers, he positioned his forces away from the beaches. They knew that the number of beaches where the allied forces could land were not many hence the Turkish officers stood a better chance of defense if they were positioned on the beaches or even just above them.

When the Gallipoli landings commenced on April 25th, the British troops were the first to land undeterred on three beaches located at Cape Helles. The Turks fiercely resisted another landing but they were repulsed. However, the landing at Sedd-el-Bahr became the first major disaster. The British troops came under immense fire of well positioned Turkish machine guns, and a big number of British fighters could not make it to the shore alive.

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC’s) made their landing at Anzac Cove where they were met with very steep cliffs that they had to climb in order get off the beach. The fact that Anzac beach Cove was a small beach that was quickly congested did not make things any easier for the ANZAC troops. The Turks repulsed the initial ANZAC venture inland, in a bloody and costly fight. The Turks in this region were under the command of the little known Colonel Mustapha Kemel. When push came to shove, General Birdwood asked Hamilton to allowed to tactically pull back his troops, but Hamilton turned down he request. General Birdwood could write a few months later that “Hamilton should have taken much more personal charge and insisted on things being done and really take command, which he has never yet done.”

In Helles, the British forces had lost a whopping 20,000 men, out of the 70,000 who were in the initial landing, by May. 6,000 had been killed while the medical supplies were completely strained by the big number of casualties. Trench warfare took place with the fear of a dysentery outbreak while the heat made matters even worse. The conditions in Helles were captured by one British soldier who wrote that the place “Looked like a midden and smelt like an open cemetery.”

The next stage of the battle kicked off in August, with Hamilton ordering an attack on Suvla Bay which happened to be poorly defended. On August 6th, 63,000 allied troops landed on Suvla Bay. This time the operation was so discreetly planned that even some of the senior officers were not privy to what others were up to. These fighters were under instructions to take over the area around Suvla Bay, then go ahead to connect with the ANZAC’s at the Anzac Cove. However, a frenzied attack under the command of Mustapha Kemal held the British troops back and by 10th August Suvla Bay fell back under the control of the Turks.

However voices against the campaign were growing louder by the day back in London. Eventually Hamilton was recalled and his place was taken by Sir Charles Monro. The new man in command would recommend evacuation; a task that was given to Birdwood. The evacuation process, which was executed between 19th and 20th December, was a dazzling success since not even one casualty was incurred. Helles was also evacuated on January 8th and January 9th which was also a brilliant success as no life was lost. However these would be the only successes that the allied forces achieved.

The overall campaign has been touted as a complete disaster, with so many lives lost and several casualties. Many of those who died succumbed to disease. Ironically, before the Gallipoli campaign even kicked off, one Lloyd George had accurately predicted that the expedition would end in a disaster because of its poor planning. Though different sources give contradictory figures about the number of soldiers who lost their lives in the badly managed campaign, conservative figures put the British/French casualties at roughly 252,000 (52%) while the Ottoman Turks are believed to have suffered approximately 300,000 casualties (60%).

However the failed campaign did not end without interesting and heartrending tales coming from the battle field frontlines. Henry Hanna, a young Irishman, lived in Dublin at the time the war started in the summer of 1914. He together with a group of friends, signed into one of the “pals” brigades that constituted young men originating from the same neighborhoods, factories, football clubs, businesses and other organizations. After undergoing training Henry found himself, together with his pals, in ship headed to Egypt. After they landed in the Egyptian base, they were then directly taken to the battleground at Gallipoli. He documented his battlefield experiences of the 1917when he landed at Suvla Bay then moved inland for a few miles.

He writes that he was in reserve to the 6th Dublins together with 6th and 7th Munster’s. The enemy took a hill called “the pimple” which was more of huge stones and short scrub. “They took at around six in the evening. We took it back at around 8:30 o’clock,” he writes. During the day they were undercover about a mile back, from around 11.00 am and sun was really hot. They could easily see the Turks from their hiding place. He was keeping vigil together with his friend Jack Boyd. At about 11 p.m. they decided to have a bite since they had only eaten a bit of B.B plus a few biscuits and a few sips of water from their quart that was half gone by then, since that morning. They shared a tin of bully beef and proceeded to have a nice supper, after which they nearly gulped down all that was left of their water. That was to be poor Jack’s last meal.

By morning Henry and his friends bottles were empty and there were obviously no prospects of getting replenishment. The name’s counter-attack started at 3:30 a.m. A guy called Brown from Clontarf was opposite Henry, together with J.B. who had acquired a graze on the temple. It was indeed a hot moment! Then came their bombs and all hell broke loose. Henry couldn’t recall what exactly happened but the next thing was their Bayonet charge with Hickman in the lead. He was knocked down, followed by Jack Boyd, Young Kener, Willie Boyd and several others. Drummond and lax were also wounded.

Henry was among the last out and when he was about twelve yards out, he saw none of his pals except one who, as he thought, lay down. So he also lay down. While he lay there, he looked around but couldn’t see anybody to support. He finally figured out that if he continued to lie there, he would eventually get wounded or killed. He also knew that in the event that he was wounded, he would lie there all day without any water. So the only logical option was to make a dash for the allied forces lines, and if he got shot, well it couldn’t be helped, but he had a clear chance of getting in. while debating these thoughts over in his mind, he was lying very close to a friend known as Cecil Murray from the Bank of Ireland, who was badly wounded. When Henry asked him where he had been hit, he showed his left hand which was badly mutilated. But while they were still speaking, Cecil was hit in the body three times. The groans were agonizing.

Then a young fellow known as Elliot, who played football was shot right in front of Henry while running out; he was hit, he jumped about three feet; he tried to crawl back to our lines and when just got above Henry, he was hit again and in a few minutes he was no more!

Finally, came the dreaded time for Henry to make a dash for his life. He made two rushes for it while shouting to his comrades to stop firing in order to allow him in. Meanwhile, he got a fragment of a bullet in his side. It only pricked his skin and got stuck in his belt. The hole in the belt where the bullet stuck could be seen after a long time later. When he got behind the line, the first thing he saw was Lex, with a bandage all over the head and shoulder, and there was nobody else. With no stretcher bearers of any kind, he got a go ahead from Lieutenant Hamilton to help the Lex down the edge. Only then did Henry notice that he had a gaping cut on his knee which was swollen. He could barely walk. He writes that he will never forget the images that he saw along that place. Some of the allied forces’ fighters were catching the bombs thrown by the Turks, before they exploded, and then throwing them back at the Turks, with one of them catching them like one could catch a cricket ball. The dead and injured were strewn all over the place. The sun was sizzling hot; not even a drop of water to drink. The situation was not made any easier by the fact that there were no bombs to answer the enemy with.

Relief could come along at 8 o’clock as Henry and the remaining colleagues went back their dug-outs that were about one mile back. But just as they were having their dinner, two shells bombarded them and a fighter from ‘A’ Company had his head blown off while a sergeant Kenny of the “A” company too, lost a leg. The only ranking officer left, Hamilton, was badly wounded in the foot.

Henry’s and many more other heartrending stories from the war front in Gallipoli have been told over and over for the last 100 hundred years. But perhaps the most interesting is that of the war tortoise named Blake who survived all the horrors of the Gallipoli campaign was still alive 96 years on. The famous reptile which outlived its first owner by 30 years has a long history.

As they walked away from the infamous Gallipoli campaign, a lot of things were going on in the minds of diggers who were lucky enough to survive the vicious war. As many of them were preoccupied by thoughts about their loved ones, one of the soldiers in that battle had something different in his thoughts. Among his possessions was a small native tortoise that he had fondly taken care of even as missiles exploded around him while several bullets whistled by.

What became of this particular soldier, who was only known as Mr. Marris is unclear, but the man died long time ago but the spur-thighed tortoise, christened Blake, that he carried from the battle –field was still going strong four years ago. The story of the tortoise just came to the limelight when the current owner, a Marion Skinner, felt that she would no longer be able to take care of the reptile properly hence sought help from an animal charity.

The British-French led campaign which was aimed at capturing Constantinople,later renamed Istanbul, was meant to open a sea route all the way to Russia. However, the campaign ended disastrously with the Turks carrying the day even as over 400,000 lives were wasted on both sides. Mr. Skinner who has kept over 20 tortoises over the years advised that the most ideal place for the tortoise would be its original home in Turkey. However, getting the reptile through the immigration would be a problem. Alternatively, a British garden with lots of wild flowers and weeds would be appropriate too. However, wherever he ends, he will need a mate since, in spite of his advancing age, he still mates.

One of the handlers from the Tortoise Club, near Norwich in Bracon Ash, that is trying the find the war veteran tortoise a armament home quipped that many tortoises can live for centuries and hence they often outlive their owners by several years.

Maybe if Blake was to talk, the following would be the summary of what he saw in Gallipoli:

The allied forces make the Gallipoli landings in April 1915 at as the World War One raged on. Their main aim was to capture Istanbul, which was the Ottoman Empire’s capital. However, the allied forces underestimated the Turks as they came under heavy fire from the worthy opponents and got bogged down on the beaches. The campaign was finally called off in January 1916.

According to the Australian Department of Veterans’ affairs puts the figure of casualties of the Gallipoli campaign at around a half a million. Most of the soldiers succumbed to disease due to unfavorable environmental conditions which caused dysentery, enteric fever and diarrhea.

At the end of the campaign, opinions were sharply divided with some launching scathing attacks in their criticism. Lord Slim and Sir Edward Grey were among the most vocal. Slim described those who were in command of the Gallipoli assault as the worst in the British Army since Crimean War. But Churchill stuck to his guns and defended what had happened in Gallipoli just like Hamilton did.

RSL Art Union, which has been involved in taking care of the welfare of war veterans in Australia for several decades now, will be celebrating 100 years anniversary since the Gallipoli landings in style, as we approach the ANZAC’s day on 25th April. RSL Art Union has put up for grabs a whole waterfront complex for residency valued at $3, 100,000.00, in one of the most prestigious Australian neighborhoods, up for grabs in their Draw 25. The ANZAC’s day is normally celebrated annually, in both Australia and New Zealand, in tribute of the fallen heroes of the Gallipoli landings. However, this year’s celebrations will be totally different since they will coincide with 100 years since the ANZAC’s made the Gallipoli landings.

The lucky winner of RSL Draw 325 will not only win the coveted first prize residential complex, but will also automatically qualify for entry into a bonus draw where they stand a big chance to win a trip to the famous Gallipoli to attend centenarian celebrations in person. The bonus draw alone is worth $15,000 with a Flight Center voucher valued at $10,000 plus $5,000 worth of Gold Bullion.

The First Prize property features four magnificent homes which are complete with a stylish stand-alone five-bedroom house which is slightly bigger than most average Australian houses, in size, by about one third. The house also features its own private plunge pool as well as a lift. The entire complex offers breath-taking waterfront views from the dining and living areas or master bed-room of any of the brand new RSL-built houses. As that is not enough, the winner is at liberty to utilize the property the way they might wish, with several options at their disposal. If you win this much sought after first prize, you can:

  • Decide to sell the luxury apartment complex at its current market prize, all tax free!
  • Choose to live in the elegant stand-alone residential house while you still pocket an attractive annual income from the remaining investment portfolio OR
  • Rent the entire apartment complex and bank an unbelievable $165, 880 of estimated annual income from rent collection!

SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE FIRST PRIZE PROPERTY IN RSL ART UNION DRAW 325

The mouth-watering property situated in the much coveted neighborhood of 5054 Emerald Island Drive, Carrara QLQ4211 boasts of:

  • A designer two level home that is roomy enough for the entire family, together with friends since each of them features a guest bedroom as well as a bathroom on the ground floor.
  • An elegant stand-alone five-bedroom house that offers magnificent waterfront views.
  • A tranquil Al fresco area that comes with a BBQ with steps from a private plunge pool.
  • The property is situated just a short drive away from some of the world’s most famous beaches which are favorites of tourists in the Sunshine Coast.
  • Anybody who lives in the property will definitely be waking up to splendid lake views from the kingly master bedroom which comes with ensuite plus a walk-in robe.
  • Each of the four houses in the complex is a bit larger than the usual Australian house, with an attractive open plan living besides dining areas leading to spacious balconies where you can enjoy the wonderful water views as well as access the pool area.

EXTRA ENDOWMENTS

As if you are not already wowed enough by the above luxuries, the amazing first prize also comes with:

  • Very modern furniture as well as the latest electrical appliances valued at $316,195
  • A $2,000 travel voucher to be utilized as you would wish
  • The water rates and body corporate will all be paid for in the first one year

Whichever way the winner of this rare first prize property decides to utilize it, one thing is for sure. His/her life will never be the same again. If they choose to dispose of the four houses at the current market prize, one stands to make a cool $3,100,000 tax-free. However, if the winner chooses to rent out all the four houses in the property, then they will be banking one of the highest annual rental collections of $165,880 annually. But a good number of people might decide to live in the prestigious stand-alone house then rent the other three. In such a scenario, they will still be raking in a whole $122,200 each year from collection of rent! However, you can still choose the unlikely option of keeping all the four house, in which case you will be the sole resident of a property worth $3,100,000 in a coveted neighborhood.

However, it is good to know that all the listed values are just but rough estimations which might be adjusted to fit the current market requirements. The property sale values don’t include things such as furniture and electrical appliances that are found in them. One can significantly increase their chances of winning by buying as many tickets as possible, whereby you will not only stand a better chance of winning the much anticipated first prize but you will also stand a chance of winning the attractive bonus prizes that have been put up for grabs as shown below:

Buy Get Bonus Prize

SpendReceiveBonus Prize
$200 Book50 Chances to Win (40 + 10 Bonus)$135,000 Gold Bullion
$100 Book25 Chances to Win (20 + 5 Bonus)$135,000 Gold Bullion
$75 Book19 Chances to Win (15 + 4 Bonus)$105,000 Gold Bullion
$50 Book13 Chances to Win (10 + 3 Bonus)$85,000 Gold Bullion
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$10 Book2 Chances to Win$30,000 Gold Bullion

The location of the coveted first prize property, in the Gold Coast suburban area that is to be found inland from the Surfers Paradise, offers its residents a completely tranquil waterfront suburban life and still doesn’t compromise the location. The Emerald lakes surroundings come with a lifestyle to die for that can be very awesome to an entire family.

As many Australians jostle to get their tickets to RSL Art Union Draw 325, while the stocks last, one thing is for sure. Come April 25th, true to the spirit of mateship and patriotism of the Australian and New Zealand citizens, all people will be celebrating the ANZAC day in solidarity with the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Gallipoli 100 years ago. We will also continue supporting the noble endeavors of the RSL Art Union in their quest to make the lives of war veterans comfortable or at least manageable.

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