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Pic of the week: Solemn tribute on Gallipoli centenary


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Our picture of the week

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Our picture of the week

Thousands of people around the world will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign today.

The former Turkish battlegrounds, where the scene of mass devastation took place in a doomed First World War battle which claimed the lives of 56,000 allies and an almost identical number of Turks, will become a solemn spot of remembrance.

Corporal Andrew Barnett of the Australian Army Band, who played the bugle at the dawn service commemoration ceremony to honour Australian and New Zealand soldiers killed in the Gallipoli, stands at Anzac Cove - officially named Anzac Cove by the Turkish government in 1985 - near Eceabat.

The Anzacs fought valiantly alongside British soldiers supported by the Royal Navy on the banks of the Dardanelles Strait in northern Turkey for eight months only to gain a few miles of territory.

The allies wanted control of the narrow and strategically important Dardanelles stretch of water that dissects former Constantinople (now Istanbul), so that they could get supplies through to their ally, Russia.

They also wanted to provoke Turkey into joining the war so that Germany would be forced to divert troops there from the Western Front, which had quickly fallen into deadlock.

Unfortunately, a combination of poor leadership, resolute Turkish defences and under-resourced armies proved their undoing and they were forced to concede defeat.

More than 650 of the fallen are buried at the Lone Pine Cemetery, on the hill overlooking the bay.

The British are mainly honoured at the Cape Helles Memorial, at the mouth of the Dardanelles, while bronze monuments pay homage to the Turkish soldiers.

Grisly reminders of the fearsome fighting still litter the peninsula, including ivy-covered trenches so close to each other that you could easily throw something across from one side to the other.

And across the water at Canakkale, on the Asian side of Turkey, remnants from the battles are respectfully laid out in outdoor and indoor museums, alongside a fully operational replica of the minelayer, Nusret, that claimed three British battleships at the outbreak of the conflict.

Belfast Telegraph

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