Saturday, November 28, 2015

Centenary of WWI: Gallipoli 1915

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of World War I that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles, a strait that provided a sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during the war. Intending to secure it, Russia's allies Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, with the aim of capturing the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (modern Istanbul). The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

The campaign was one of the greatest Ottoman victories during the war. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the nation's history: a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey eight years later under Mustafa Kemal (Kemal Atatürk) who first rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli. The campaign is often considered as marking the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand and the date of the landing, 25 April, is known as "Anzac Day" which is the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in those two countries, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).

This Australian stamp issue is the second in a five-year series commemorating World War I and focuses on Gallipoli, a campaign that would in time be seen as crucial in shaping Australian national consciousness. The Gallipoli campaign falls into four phases: the landing, the Turkish counter-attack, the British offensive and the withdrawal. These events spanned from 25 April 1915 to 8 January 1916, and are represented on the stamps on the Miniature Sheet shown above, along with field medicine.
The Landing. In the early hours of 25 April 1915, ground forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in an effort to secure the Dardanelles. Anzac troops landed on the beach at what became known as Anzac Cove. Charles Bean, the Australian official correspondent, took the photograph shown in this stamp design. He photographed Divisional Headquarters staff coming ashore as he himself landed.
LCPL Albert Jacka VC. This stamp design shows Lance Corporal Albert Jacka of the 14th Battalion, who here represents the Turkish counter-attack phase of the campaign, which occurred in May 1915. Jacka became the first Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the war, a distinction gained for his bravery in recapturing a trench at Courtney’s Post taken by seven Turkish soldiers, five of whom he killed and two he wounded.
Lone Pine. In this stamp design, Australian troops of the 1st Brigade are shown in Turkish trenches seized during the fighting at Lone Pine, carried out under the command of Brigadier General Harold ‘Hookey’ Walker. Lone Pine was taken on the afternoon of 6 August 1915, and was one of the diversionary attacks during the failed August offensive.
Field Medicine. Englishman Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick of the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance represents field medicine at Gallipoli in this stamp design. He and his faithful donkey (possibly more than a single donkey) – variously known as Duffy, Abdul and Murphy – recovered many wounded soldiers from the frontline. Simpson was known at Gallipoli for his bravery and independence in rescuing the wounded. He was killed during service on 19 May, just three weeks after landing at Gallipoli.
The Evacuation. Men of the 9th Battery, 3rd Artillery Brigade load an 18-pound field gun from their sandbagged position. They are firing on Turkish positions in the hours before their evacuation from Gallipoli on 19 December 1915.

Thank you Merja for this wonderful miniature sheet.

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