Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

15 join Princes for Gallipoli event

Published 03/04/2015

A British soldier pays his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place
A British soldier pays his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place

Fifteen descendants of veterans who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign will join the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry at a centenary commemoration event in Turkey.

The Churchill-backed attack in 1915 attempted to knock one of Germany's main allies, the Ottoman Empire, out of the war.

But it failed, despite more than half a million Allied servicemen pouring in to the area, at a cost of around 58,000 lives either in battle or from disease.

The debacle led to Churchill being sacked from the War Cabinet, and was at the time the most deadly campaign of the First World War.

The descendants who will pay tribute at a ceremony at the Helles Memorial on April 24 are members of the Gallipoli Association.

Its chairman, Captain Christopher Fagan, said: "It is a great honour for the Gallipoli Association to have been invited by the UK Government to assist with this opportunity for British descendants to attend the service at Cape Helles."

Charles and his youngest son will be at the ceremony, and a dawn service the following morning, Anzac Day.

The Gallipoli Campaign is of great historical importance to Australia and New Zealand, and stories of their soldiers' heroics in the face of horrific conditions including heat, flies and lack of supplies have become part of their national identities.

But the British contribution - not least the 29,500 British and Irish lives lost - must be honoured in the Gallipoli commemorations, the descendants felt.

Lyn Edmonds, from Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, will trace the journey of her grandfather, Private Benjamin Hurt, who landed on April 25 1915 and remained there until January 1916, despite being injured only weeks into the campaign.

The Derbyshire soldier had joined up at the age of 17 and fought with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Of the 1,012 members of his battalion who landed that April, fewer than 100 remained on the peninsula when the unit was withdrawn early the following year.

Mrs Edmonds said: "It will be a privilege and emotional experience to be there to remember my grandfather exactly 100 years later and on the very spot where he landed under fire.

"He was so fortunate to have survived the terrible campaign and I will naturally be thinking of his many friends who did not return."

Another who will travel to Turkey is John Hartshorn, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

He said: "My very existence is due to my great-grandfather surviving from April 29, when he went ashore at Anzac Cove, to August 22, when dysentery finally got the better of him."

His great-grandfather was Able Bodied Seaman Thomas Otto Hartshorn, of Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division.

Two of the group are descendants of Victoria Cross heroes.

Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith, from Findhorn, Moray, will commemorate his father, Lieutenant-Commander Martin Nasmith RN.

He received his VC as a submarine commander who led three patrols through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara and Constantinople Harbour, in the course of which he sank 97 Turkish ships, blew up a railway viaduct, and fought a troop of Turkish cavalry on a cliff.

Sarah Kellam, from Taunton, Somerset, will be honouring her grandfather, Lieutenant William John Symons, who served with the 7th Battalion Australian Imperial Forces (Anzac) and was awarded the VC for defending Jacob's Post on his own in the thick of the fighting during the August offensive at the Battle of Lone Pine.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) worked with the Gallipoli Association to offer the opportunity to 15 of its members to attend the Commonwealth and Ireland Service on April 24.

Many members of the Gallipoli Association were interested in attending and the 15 selected will be paying for their own travel to Turkey.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph