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Gallipoli: 14 Interesting Facts

At dawn on April 25, 1915, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli. But did you know Attila the Hun invaded the same peninsula nearly 1500 years earlier? Here are a few facts you may not know about Gallipoli.

1. Attila the Hun successfully invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in 443AD, partially destroying the Eastern Roman Army in the process.

2. During the Crimean War in 1854, the Ottoman Empire allied with France and Britain against Russia; Gallipoli was used as a major base by the British Army.

3. Following the allied disaster at Gallipoli in 1915, Churchill, whose political career was significantly damaged as a result of the failed campaign, would be subjected to cries of “What about Gallipoli?” during his speeches.

(Image credit - Australian War Memorial)

4. Soldiers from Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland and India (including the Gurkhas from Nepal) were operational on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

5. The Australian and New Zealand troops were initially known as the Australasian Army Corp. However, following protests by New Zealand, the name was changed to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and subsequently shortened to ANZAC.

6. Jack Simpson and his legendary donkey passed into Australian folklore during the Gallipoli campaign. Simpson was actually an Englishman who signed up in Australia in the hope of being posted back to Britain so he could see his mother. Instead, he found himself on the beaches of Gallipoli on April 25 and was shot in the back and killed by machine gun fire less than a month later.

7. The ANZACs were all volunteers. 35 per cent of the recruits were first-generation Australian and New Zealanders born in Britain.

8. Historians still dispute whether the ANZACs landed at the wrong beach, or whether the location of the landing was changed at the last minute to preserve secrecy. ANZAC cove was afforded more shelter from Turkish fire than the original open beach planned landing position.

9. While records vary, the Australians lost between 8 and 11,000 troops during the campaign, which lasted just eight months. 2779 New Zealand troops were killed at Gallipoli.

10. A number of ingenious inventions were conceived at Gallipoli, including the periscope rifle invented by Australian builder's foreman Lance Corporal William Beech, which allowed soldiers to aim their guns without putting them in the direct line of fire.

(Image credit - Australian War Memorial)

11. While records vary, the Australians lost between 8 and 11,000 troops during the campaign, which lasted just eight months. 2779 New Zealand troops were killed at Gallipoli.

12. A number of ingenious inventions were conceived at Gallipoli, including the periscope rifle invented by Australian builder's foreman Lance Corporal William Beech, which allowed soldiers to aim their guns without putting them in the direct line of fire.

(Image credit - Wikipedia)

13. ANZAC Day became a national public holiday in 1921. The first dawn service was held in 1923.

14. The last surviving veteran of Gallipoli, Alec Campbell, died in 2002.

(Image credit - Exisle Publishing)

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