Hill 60 last major Gallipoli assault

  • Breaking
  • 24/04/2015

The last major battle that took place in Gallipoli was at a place called Hill 60, in late August, 1915.

ANZAC and British survivors from earlier battles were cobbled together, and sent over the top again in one last effort before the Allies abandoned the peninsula four months later.

At the northern end of Anzac Cove there's a cemetery that lies quieter than most - an almost forgotten corner at the end of a dirt track, impassable in winter. But this site is among the most significant of the Gallipoli campaign. The battle of Hill 60 was an ambitious plan to create a safe link along the coast between ANZAC and British positions.

"These were terrible attacks," says historian Dr Ian McGibbon. "They were just mainly to straighten a line and make the link with the Suvla Bay landing force."

The first attempt to take the hill from the Turkish defenders was on August 24 by the men of the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles.

It's really not much of a hill at all; in fact historians describe it as more of a mound. But to get up to the Turkish trenches, New Zealanders had to cross 400 metres of open ground. And all the diversional attacks on either side had done was alert the Turks, so they were waiting for them.

In a diary entry, Bill East of the Wellington Mounted Rifles writes of Major Henry Percy Taylor giving the signal to go.

"He blew his whistle and pulled his sword out and yelled 'Charge!' That's all he said. The next thing he was flat on his face, shot through the head. I didn't know whether to go back or forward and all the rest were coming at me across an open piece of ground. We were just anyone's mutton."

The New Zealanders did manage to seize a small section of the trenches. But it would be another week of futile attacks - essentially all they were doing was adding to this list of names of Kiwi soldiers who died there.

The New Zealand memorial to the missing commemorates 182 men killed in the area - just 12 New Zealanders are named on the graves.

"For the Mounted Rifle Brigade, that was the end of their campaign. By the time they'd finished there they'd lost most of their personnel," says Dr McGibbon.

With little left to give, mercifully there would be no more lives to take in battle. Hill 60 would be the last major assault of the campaign.

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source: newshub archive