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Published: June 13th 2009
Lest We Forget
No more following orders, no more having to wait for others, no more hassles. We are on our own. We get up when we want and eat when we want!
We eat breakfast with the last couple still remaining in Istanbul, Ray and Wendy who are staying to visit with their daughter.. Then we take a taxi to the bus station and off we go to Eceabat.
On our travels we pull into a bus station along the way for a break. There is a bus next to ours. We get out to stretch our legs. Angie goes to the bathroom. Francine notices people looking at the front of the other bus. The windscreen is badly cracked and there is dry blood all across the front and two bloody hand prints on the side near the front. It is time to get back on our bus. Francine tells Angie and she sees the hand prints, it is too late to get a photo. You had to see it to believe it. We don't know what was hit, hopefully it wasn't a person.
Eceabat is a small village in the Gallipoli area.on the European side
rather than the Asian side with the more touristy area of Canakkale. We are very happy with our choice as the sleepy little village is a pleasant change from Istanbul and the prices are much cheaper and the Hotel Crowed House was recently renovated and the staff very nice. Back to the room to blog, email and check on what's happening in the world.
We decide to snorkel in the Aegean Sea today. They have a small group going out to ANZAC Cove to see a sunken ship named the Milo. It is right off shore and yes you can see the hull of the ship and some scattered marine life. But nothing really exciting. Our leader then takes us along the shore line in waters that are only about 1 meter deep. Then he shows us a bullet that he just found. NOW the emphasis has changed from looking for water life to looking for sunken treasurers from the battle of Gallipoli, in WWI. Angie gets really lucky and immediately finds 4 bullets, 2 with the casing. Francine looks and looks but not able to find any. One of the leaders finds a pottery crock spout
Poor amount of marine life
from a rum jug. All of these things are from the battle of l915. Angie was able to sweet talk him out of it and gave it to Francine as the ANZAC forces were from the British Commonwealth and only one American participated in this battle as moved to Australia as a child and he joined the Australian Army. What a great morning from snorkeling to a treasurer hunt.!
A quick shower and off to discover and learn on a tour of the battlefields.
By early 1915, with a deadlock on the Western Front and the Russian army struggling in the east, first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill became the driving behind a grand scheme to strike at the Central Powers on a new front in south-eastern Europe, knock Turkey out of the war and open up a much needed relief route to Russia through the Dardanelles.
The attack was launched on 25 April 1915 but the combination of unexpectedly hostile terrain and ferocious Turkish defence soon stopped any potential advance and the campaign degenerated into the familiar deadlock of trench warfare.
The Anzacs overshot their planned landing beaches at Gaba Tepe and instead came
Sunken WWI ship
ashore at Ari Burmu(Anzac Cove), two miles to the north, a narrow beach which was swept by heavy Turkish gunfire, instead of the low foothills they had expected they were faced with sheer cliffs. Their advance to the heights of Sari Bair was halted by a division led by Turkish Colonel Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) and driven back to the beach they dug in, first earning their nickname “diggers”.
The battles continued and in October General Sir Ian Hamilton was relieved of his command. He was replaced by Sir Charles Monro who immediately recommended that the Allies should evacuate. The proved to be the most successful part of the entire operation. Anzac Cove and Sulva Bay were evacuated in December 1915 and the Helles area was emptied of troops by 9 January 1916. Only a handful of lives were lost, an ironic end to a campaign which had cost he lives of almost 36,000 Commonwealth, 10,000 French and around 86,000 Turks.
The entire area has been preserved as a memorial to the men who died there, It contains 21 cemeteries and three memorials. There are grave stones for identified soldiers, soldiers believed to be buried (may have found dog
tags or other remains) unknown soldier (remains not identified).
The Helles Memorial stands on the tip of the peninsula. It is the battle memorial for the entire Gallipoli campaign and the place of commemoration for missing Australians who died at Helles and British and Indian servicemen who died throughout the peninsula and have no known grave. The memorial walls bear 21,000 names.
The youngest soldier was 14 years old, he enlisted under another name. There are names on the wall of other soldiers with their name and then underneath the enlisted name. Usually because they were underage and required their parents permission to enlist or were too young.
We visited the grave of Simpson who was 22 years old who was part of the Field Ambulance Corp. He somehow acquired a donkey and courageously trekked to the front lines and brought back the wounded on the donkey. He rescued hundreds of men in the twenty some days that he participated and was mortally wounded doing his herotic deeds.
We also visited the Turkish Museum and memorial. It has only been in recent years that the Turkish have had memorials at Gallipoli. The 80,000 Turkish soldiers killed
were buried in 2 mass graves. The Turkish people who visited Gallipoli asked where the memorials for their soldiers were and the government has now erected them. The English erected the commonwealth monuments and memorials following the end of the war when the were in control of the area.
The road that runs between the memorials and cemeteries is actually along “no mans land” and either side we visited some of the trenchers and tunnels of both armies. They were so close to each that they used to throw food to each other. The Turks knowing that the Allies had little fresh food.
It was an eerie feeling standing on the site where so many men lost their lives. Francine is truly moved as it such a part of her countries history. Australia commemorated and remembers the Anzac and all others involved in the military on Anzac Day, 25 April. The Nation comes to a halt. Many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders make their way to Gallipoli each year for the Anzac Day dawn service.
Turkish Colonel Mustafa Kemal later became the first president of Turkey, know as Ataturk, or father of the Turks. He was
shot during one of he fiercest battles and was saved by his pocket watch in his pocket over his heart. He did not spill a drop of blood. His words are inscribed on a memorial at Anzac Cove: “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives; You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Melmets to us where they lie side by side her in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on the land they become our sons as well.
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