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So GCR has left Gallipoli, by all accounts one of the last off the peninsula. Clearly he wasn’t upset to be leaving. The campaign was a failure; although the original plan was sound the execution was disastrous. One of the ongoing effects was a reluctance for further amphibious operations on enemy coastlines such as Alexandretta and Aqaba. No campaign medal was struck by the British for the troops who served on the Dardanelles.

By contrast the Gallipoli campaign became legendary as a defining event in the developing Australian and New Zealander national psyche. This was also true of the Turks; the story of the stalwart defense of their homeland and of Mustafa Kemal, the future Ataturk’s role in the campaign was key to their post war recovery. The Turks did issue a Gallipoli medal to recognize their troops valiant efforts.

This medal my grandfather GCR took off a Turkish prisoner later in the war. He had no problem killing Turks, it was why he was there. I remember him telling me, as I sat on his knee, that the WW1 bayonets were long enough for seven Turks. However he developed a respect for the Ottoman soldiery and for the rest of his life regretted taking this medal from that prisoner saying that that young man had deserved his medals just as much as he had.

MJR

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