The Dardanelles – 1915

During 1915 the Navy were ordered to create an opening to the Black Sea, capture Constantinople and provide a supply route to Russia via the Port of Odessa.

The Navy failed to make the opening so the task was handed to the Army who were ordered to capture the small peninsula of Gallipoli, which guarded the entrance to the Black Sea and was being firmly held by the Turks.

In April, the 29th Division including 2nd Hampshire, landed on 5 beaches on the south of the peninsula; ANZAC troops made a separate attack to the north. 3 of the beach landings were met with little resistance, but on V Beach there was a very different story.

The plan was that the HMT River Clyde would ground herself on the beach and troops from the Munsters and the Hampshires would disembark and attack; while the Royal Dublin Fusiliers landed in small boats. The Dublin men were immediately met with catastrophic gunfire, the same punishment was then inflicted upon the Hampshires and the Munsters. After initial successes the ANZAC troops were pushed back in the north, whilst in the south the British advance had ground to a halt.

In July the 8th and 10th Hampshires joined the battle. At this time another attack was being prepared at Suvla Bay. The 10th landed at Suvla Bay with the 54th Division on August 6th, and were involved in a relentless series of attacks. These attacks were checked by the Turkish defenders leaving the 10th exposed in the scorching sun with dwindling water and supplies.

After the attack failed at Suvla Bay, a bloody stalemate ensued which would last the rest of the year. This deadlock would consist of prolonged trench warfare, which would become the hallmark of the war. Lord Kitchener eventually made the decision to withdraw the exhausted troops on 9th January 1916, and so they slipped away during the night under the cover of darkness. The campaign had cost the allies in excess of a quarter of a million casualties. No further attempts were made to capture the peninsula.