The Australians landed at what became known as Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, and they established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. The Gallipoli campaign would become the birthplace of a national psyche that prides itself on perseverance in the face of all odds, and most of all mateship. The spirit of the Anzac’s will never be forgotten.
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The Australian involvement in the Gallipoli campaign in World War I began with the deployment of the Australian Imperial Force to Egypt where they were to assist in protecting British interests in the Middle East, such as the Suez Canal, against the Ottoman Empire.
The Australian and New Zealand forces spent around four months training in Cairo before departing by ship to the Gallipoli Peninsula with the aim of assisting a British naval operation to force open the Dardanelles strait and capture the capital Constantinople, knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war and creating a supply route through to allies in Russia.
During the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through the Turkish lines and the Turks tried to drive the Allied troops off the peninsula. Concerted but unsuccessful Allied attempts to break through in August included the Australian attacks at Lone Pine and the Nek. All attempts ended in failure for both sides, and the ensuing stalemate continued for the remainder of 1915.
The unsuccessful campaign ended in a successful evacuation of the allied troops on 19-20 December under the cover of a deception operation distracting from the withdrawal of troops from the Peninsula. This allowed the Anzac forces to escape with minimal losses during the retreat.
The whole Gallipoli operation, however, cost 26,111 Australian casualties, including 8,141 deaths. Despite this, it has been said that Gallipoli had no influence on the course of the war.
What it did do, however, is show that Australia and New Zealand were prepared to fight for what they believed in and their loyalty to the British and Allied cause. It showed that the Anzac's were willing to do whatever it took for their country in the face of stacked odds and do so displaying larrikinism, loyalty and mateship. This created a standard and pride that Australia holds itself to now and long into the future.