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WW1 SCHOOL WORKSHOP

BRING THE HISTORY OF WW1 TO LIFE IN YOUR SCHOOL

By the Spring of 1915, the Allies, headed by Great Britain, were looking for a new tactic to fight the war against Germany that didn’t involve trench warfare, so they decided to invade the country of Turkey to distract the Germans and make them move their armies there.  

 

As well as this, Turkey was a major force of the Central Powers so if the Allies were able to defeat them it would have made a big difference to the outcome of the war.

 

The Allies decided to land this force at a place called the Dardanelles strait, which is a narrow length of water connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara, near an area called Gallipoli.  However, after they sent some ships to investigate the defences in the Spring of 1915, the defenders knew that an invasion was coming and so they strengthened their defences, including two forts at the end of the strait, which was only 1.2 to 6km wide.

25th April 1915

ALLIED TROOPS INVADE GALLIPOLI

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Without realising this, the allies landed a massive invasion force on the 25th April at a place called Cape Helles, which immediately ran into difficulty as the Turkish defenders kept the soldiers pinned down behind a range of high cliffs all along the coast.  This very quickly settled into the same trench warfare of the Western Front, which was even more difficult because of the rocky ground.

 

A large part of the Allied invasion force was made up of Australian troops called ‘Anzacs’ (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), and one of the most remarkable stories of the Gallipoli campaign was the story of a donkey that was used to save the wounded.

 

His handler was an Australian stretcher bearer called John "Jack" Simpson Kirkpatrick, and over a three week period, Jack and the donkey went up and down the rocky cliff paths to bring back wounded soldiers, saving many people’s lives.  

 

Sadly, Jack was eventually killed himself, but even now the legend of him and his donkey is still spoken about by Australians as they remember their dead of the First World War, with many statues, plaques and tributes paid to him and his donkey all over Australia on ‘Anzac day’ on 25th April each year.