Gallipoli Battlefields

Every April 25 thousands of people participate in a memorial service for those who fought at Gallipoli with Anzac. At this particular location roughly 4,000 seats are set up for the ceremony.
If you were to turn around from facing the ocean and the Anzac sign you would see this landscape. To the left of Chris is a rock formation the Australians nicknamed the Sphinx because it somewhat resembled the Sphinx in Egypt where the men trained prior to their arrival in Turkey.
This is Anzac cove which at the time of the attack during the First World War was not known as that, but since then the Turkish government officially changed the name to honour the soldiers and the nine month battle. Today there is a road cutting through the middle of the hill thousands of Australians scrambled up in hopes of securing the high points of the Gallipoli area.
This is one of the many Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries in Gallipoli National Historic Park for the soldiers of Anzac. I was surprised to find the headstones are a different shape than all the other Commonwealth War Cemeteries I have visited in Canada, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. I am not sure why they are different.
In some areas of the battlefield the Anzac and Turkish trenches were only nine meters apart. One day, around this area, an Anzac soldier was wounded. He started yelling for help. He kept yelling. Neither side wanted to risk leaving his trench in fear of getting shot. Hours passed. The wounded soldier kept yelling. Then a Turkish soldier climbed out from the safety of his trench. He picked up the wounded man and carried him to the Anzac side before returning back to the Turkish side. Miraculously no one fired at the Turk. In a battle where millions of bullets were shot, so many that in the Gallipoli museum you can see two bullets that hit each other in the air, it is truly amazing that the two men commemorated in this statue were not hit. The possibility of two bullets hitting each other in the air is about a 1 in 160 million chance. It happened more than once. I see this Turkish mans actions as one of the rare occasions of what human kind could be, but unfortunately we are creatures who will never live without war.
The entrance to the the largest Turkish memorial and cemetery in the part of the Gallipoli National Park that we toured. It was very interesting to see the difference of the Turkish cemetery compared to Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries. The stone used to construct the memorial and walls is yellow painted cider blocks, the headstones are flat, and there is an out door prayer area with provided prayer rugs.

Each Turkish soldiers headstone in the First World War Gallipoli cemetery has the symbol of a cresent moon which symbolizes life, and the symbol of a star which symbolizes death. Together they symbolize that life will continue. The same symbols are featured on Turkeys flag. The headstone of the Turkish soldiers has the name of the town he was born, his first name, his fathers first name, the year he was born and the age he died. This particular soldier was from Gallipoli. His first name was Ismah. The "oglu" means, "son of". His father's first name was Ahmet. "Dogum", means "born in", and "Yasinda" means "years old". Before 1934 Turkish people did not have sir names. This is why we only find the first name of the soldier and the first name of his father. This makes it incredibly hard for people today to find the graves of their relative. Standing in one spot in the cemetery our guide pointed to five graves of different soldiers all with the same first name, Mehmet. Imagine if more than one of them was from the same city or town and around the same age.
This statue is of the oldest First World War Turkish veteran and his great-great-granddaughter. According to Turkish belief, if you see your great-great-grandchild you are going straight to heaven. He was 110 years old when he passed away. When he was 109 years old he came to the Turkish memorial and cemetery to unveil this statue of himself.
This grave belongs to young man named John who climbed up and down the rugged hills with his trusty mule, during the Gallipoli battle, retrieving wounded or killed soldiers. With the help of his mule he saved the lives of some 300 soldiers. All the soldiers new about him weather they were allied soldiers or Turkish soldiers. One day, on May 19, 1915, some new Turkish recruits were on duty for their first time in the Gallipoli area. They saw John and his mule. Recognizing him as the enemy, they shot him. They didn't know the story about John like all the seasoned veterans of the Gallipoli battlefield.Â
The view of the Aegean Sea from the First World War site, the Nek, one of the highest points in Gallipoli National Park.
This statue of Mustafa Kemal, more widely known as Ataturk, was erected beside the Commonwealth memorial on the highest point of the Gallipoli battlefields. Mustafa Kemal was the divisional commander for the Turks. Under his command, the Gallipoli battle which went from near disaster to unaquivical success. Following the war Mustafa Kemal traveled throughout Turkey gaining the support of the people and earning the name, Ataturk. Today, in every town, city, building, restaurant, hotel and park you can be sure to find either a statue or photo of Ataturk. One day on the battlefield while Ataturk stood probably very much like he is in the statue, binoculars around his neck, he was shot. Luckily the bullet was stopped by his pocket watch. On the statue you can make out the faint shape of a pocket watch in his breast pocket. Today Ataturk's pocket watch can be found in Berlin, because as a plea for help he mailed it to the German commanding officer as a visual of the desperate times they were in.


6 responses to “Gallipoli Battlefields”

  1. dede inan Avatar
    dede inan

    shown in the seventh photo….. and writen under it… ” His first name was Ismah. The “oglu” means, “son of”. His father’s first name was Ahmet.” it is just the opposite… the grave belongs to 22 year old man from gelibolu (gallipoli) called Ahmet.. son of Ä°smail…

  2. who are you im looking for a painting of the first turkish man

    1. Uh, can’t really help you there. Sorry.

  3. Jon Roe Avatar
    Jon Roe

    A journalist of my calibre? You mean one that’s still working at a student newspaper? 😉 I’m pretty good. Just finishing up the semester and doing IT support still. Nothing much new.

  4. Jon Roe Avatar
    Jon Roe

    Slowly catching up on the blog.

    Really moving stuff. Great shots and stories.

    1. Thanks Jon. That’s a great complement coming from a journalist of your calibre. How the hell are you these days?

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