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At 4.30am Sunday April 25th 1915, the first soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed near Ari Burnu on the Gallipoli  Peninsula.

On the same morning, soldiers from Britain, France and their colonies launched assaults at nearby Cape Helles and Kum Kale. The Allies wanted to destroy the forts overlooking the Dardanelles to allow a fleet to enter the sea of Marmara and bombard the Ottoman (commonly known as Turkish) capital, Constantinople. They hoped Turkey would surrender, easing the pressure on Russia and depriving Germany of an Ally.

Men of the 3rd Australian Brigade were the first ANZAC  troops ashore, the first wave boarded thirty six rowing boats and were towed towards the beach until they were close enough to row to shore. Mostly landing at the place that became known as ANZAC Cove, the Australian troops came under heavy fire before they had stepped ashore.

Under increasingly heavy Turkish machine gun and rifle fire, the ANZACS raced inland to a warren of steep ground, razor-backed ridges and scrub filled gullies that caused formations to either bunch together or separate into small groups

The following waves of ANZACS came ashore as Turkish shells began bursting over the landing area. Turkish troops were responding to the ANZAC landing in force. The battle ebbed and flowed, with the ANZACS taking, losing, and then re-taking ground in the face of Turkish counter attacks. In some places the ANZACS were forced off key locations, such as the hill known as Baby 700 which they would not re take during the entire campaign.

By the end of that first day, the Turks threatened to force the ANZACS in to the sea. The situation was so precarious that the ANZAC Commanders considered Immediate evacuation, however they were ordered to dig in by their superior, General Sir Ian Hamilton.

Historians estimate some 2000 Australians were killed or wounded on 25thApril, but there are no precise casualty figures for that day, the fighting was too confused and casualties were widely dispersed across the battlefield, the beach and on board hospital ships. The ANZACS were evacuated in December 1915, and by then some 8700 Australians and 2700 New Zealanders had been killed, in total the Gallipoli campaign cost the lives of around 44,000 Allied and 86,000 Turkish  Soldiers.

During the ill fated campaign eight Australians and two New Zealanders showed such self sacrifice, heroism and tenacity that they were honoured with the Empires highest military honour – The Victoria Cross.

Albert Jacka- First Australian to be awarded the VC – Courtney’s Post 19th May 1915
Alexander Stewart Burton – Lone Pine 9th August 1915
William Dunstan – Lone Pine 9th August 1915
Frederick Harold Tubb – Lone Pine 9th August 1915
John Patrick Hamilton – Lone Pine 9th August 1915 youngest Gallipoli recipient aged 19yrs
Leonard Maurice Keysor – Lone Pine 7th August 1915
William John Symons – Lone Pine 9th August 1915
Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell – Kaiakij Aghala (hill 60) 3rd August 1915 only VC awarded to the Light Horse

Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett – The first New Zealander to win the VC, Chunik Bair Ridge 7th August 1915

Alfred John Shout, New Zealand – Sasse’s Sap, Lone Pine 9th August 1915

Source Australian War Memorial, Dept Vet Affairs ANZAC  Centenary websites