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Photograph of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli

Date: c 1915-1920
Dimensions:
Overall (Photograph only): 196 x 298 mm
Medium: Paper, ink, wood, cardboard
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00051784
Related Place:Gelibolu,

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    Description
    Photograph of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, some time after the allied landings on 25 April 1915.

    The landing site of the Australian and New Zealand troops was renamed Anzac Cove and was under serious shrapnel shelling on that first day which was having a devastating effect. The landing area thus became a bottle neck as the numbers of wounded increased and the support troops were struggling to land.

    On the evening of 25 April the beach at Anzac Cove was covered with men wounded in the battles from the inland hills, awaiting evacuation to the hospital ships. The landing of supplies such as food, water and ammunition was complicated and at first did not keep up with the demand. The Anzacs dug in as best they could and the period between the initial landings and 3 May was marked by a number of largely unsuccessful sporadic counter attacks in an attempt to push in allies back into the sea. Towards the end of May it was clear that the defence of the Anzacs as well as that of the Turkish troops was too strong to be broken and it developed into the trench warfare the allied commanders had been trying to avoid.
    SignificanceThis is an image relating to the Gallipoli campaign, the first major military offensive undertaken by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps fighting under the flags of their own nations. This image particularly highlights the steep terrain, the small narrow beach, and the difficulties of landing supplies at the cove where the Anzac troops landed.
    HistoryThe Gallipoli campaign was conceived with the intention of forcing Turkey out of the war. It began as a naval offensive with British battleships sent to destroy Constantinople. Under heavy fire from the Turkish defences and unable to force a way through the straits of the Dardanelles a new plan was devised for the army to occupy the peninsula and take the Turkish shore defences, allowing the allied navies safe passage to the Turkish capital.

    In the early hours of 25 April 1915 the British landed at Helles on the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula with the aim to capture and move northwards. Just prior to these landings on the same day the ANZAC contingent was to land on the western coast of Gaba Tepe and French troops on the Asiatic side of Gallipoli near the town of Kum Kale. However, the ANZAC troops landed almost two kilometres too far north. The Turkish forces were underestimated, and the enemy, whilst smaller in numbers, was prepared for the allied landings in treacherous terrain that supported their position. Errors of judgment made by commanding officers, lack of clear orders, and the early and significant losses of officers and men compounded the already extensive difficulties of the landings.

    Two battleships and a cruiser were responsible for covering the Anzac landing by gunfire while three other battleships landed the initial force of 1500. The Australian and New Zealand troops were landed in 36 small unprotected vessels, such as row boats, that were towed by 12 picket boats to within 50 yards of the shore. A further five destroyers carried 500 troops apiece. The initial force landed at 4.20am and by 7.20 am nearly 8000 troops had landed. The original plan was for the initial troops numbering 4000 were to fan out in three groups to capture Chunuk Bair to the north-north-east, Scrubby Knoll on the third inland ridge to the east, and Gaba Tepe to the south. Despite arriving at the wrong location the troops quickly headed inland to capture the high ground. By 6am the Anzacs had complete possession of the first ridge, were moving across the second and reached the third ridge by 7am. However they small party of troops were forced back as the Turkish defences scrambled and Turkish Regiment 27, based at Maidos, arrived at Ari Burnu. At 10am the renamed Anzac Cove where the troops had landed, was under serious shrapnel shelling that was having a devastating effect. The landing area thus became a bottle neck as the numbers of wounded increased and the support troops were struggling to land. By 2pm, despite having three times as many troops as the Turkish forces, the Anzacs were coming under severe counter attack along the whole front, with the northern flank under serious threat. There was little support from the navy, unable to tell friend and foe apart, or from artillery fire on land.

    On the evening of 25 April the beach at Anzac Cove was covered with men wounded in the battles from the inland hills, awaiting evacuation to the hospital ships. The landing of supplies such as food, water and ammunition was complicated and at first did not keep up with the demand. The Anzacs dug in as best they could and the period between the initial landings and 3 May was marked by a number of largely unsuccessful sporadic counter attacks in an attempt to push in allies back into the sea. Towards the end of May it was clear that the defence of the Anzacs as well as that of the Turkish troops was too strong to be broken and it developed into the trench warfare the allied commanders had been trying to avoid.

    Small advances along the ridges of the peninsula occurred through the fighting but there was little progress over the following eight months until the allied evacuation.

    Walter Ernest Dexter, to whom this photograph is attributed, was born in 1873 in England. He was indentured at age 14 for five years on the barque BUCKINGHAM. He ran away on the first voyage, reached New York where he worked for awhile, and returned to the sea in 1890 aboard the PYTHOMENE. In the following years he progressed through the ranks of mate, fought in the Boer War, and became master of the AFGHAN. In 1902 he joined the Freemasons and in 1906 entered Durham University with the intention of joining the Anglican ministry. He was ordained in 1908 and in 1910 sent to Victoria, Australia. He enlisted in the AIF as a chaplain in September 1914 and sailed with the first convoy to Egypt. He later tended the Anzac wounded aboard a hospital ship and joined the troops in Gallipoli. He was also entrusted with surveying the cemeteries before the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In April 1916 he went on to France where he remained until August 1918 with only a brief respite to London. In 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross and became the most decorated chaplain in the AIF. He returned to Australia in 1920 and after a try at managing a soldier-settler's block returned to the Anglican Ministry. He died in August 1950.
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