The Battle of Lone Pine was fought between the Anzacs and the Ottoman Empire, from 6 August 1915 to 10 August 1915. Part of WWI’s historic Gallipoli campaign, the Anzacs sought to draw Ottoman attention away from the main assaults being conducted by British, Indian and Allied troops around Sari Bair, Chunuk Bair and Hill 971, which became known as the August Offensive.
The Lone Pine attack was launched by the 1st Brigade, Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in late afternoon. Advancing Australian infantry soldiers came up against entrenched Turkish positions. When the Australians reached the Ottoman line, they found timber roofs covered many of the trenches. At this point, they split up and either:
- fired, bombed and bayoneted from above;
- made their way inside the trenches; or
- charged past to the open communications and support trenches behind.
Australian soldiers nevertheless managed to quickly secure the main Turkish trench, but would suffer over 2,000 casualties in the days of fighting that followed. According to the Australian War Memorial website, Turkish losses were estimated at 7,000.
The Ottoman troops were supported by waves of reinforcements and launched a series of counterattacks in an attempt to push back the Anzacs.
The fight that ensued over the course of the four days was bitter. Private John Gammage of 1st Battalion wrote:
"The wounded bodies of both Turks and Anzacs were piled up 3 and 4 deep … the bombs simply poured in but as fast as our men went down another would take his place."
On 9 August, however, the Ottoman forces withdrew, leaving Australian troops in control of the area. Victory was declared on 10 August.
Today, the Lone Pine Cemetery marks the location of the Memorial to the Missing in the Anzac area of Gallipoli and is situated on the ground captured by the Australians during the battle. A total of seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross for this battle.
It commemorates 4,224 Australians who have no known grave. There are 652 Australians buried at Lone Pine cemetery.