Gallipoli evacuation

The evacuation of Gallipoli, page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement 1 April 1916

The evacuation of Gallipoli, page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement 1 April 1916

In November - December 1915, approximately 36,000 Anzac troops were evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula, bringing to an end a long and futile campaign. After the failure of the August offensive at Suvla and Anzac, Allied forces had little choice but to dig in and face a difficult winter. In October 1915 the British Government began to consider the need for evacuation, although debate around the issue delayed a decision for several weeks. Finally, Anzac and Suvla were relinquished on 19 December, followed by Helles on 9 January 1916.

With the 2nd LHFA at Gallipoli, page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement, 20 May 1916

With the 2nd LHFA at Gallipoli, page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement, 20 May 1916

Ironically, the evacuations at Anzac, Suvla and Helles were arguably the most successful aspect of the campaign, demonstrating considerable planning and ingenuity, and as a result, troops were effectively removed with negligible casualties. By the time of evacuation, around 46,000 allied troops had been killed from a total of 250,000 casualties. Turkish forces suffered even greater losses.

Closing scenes. The evacuation, page 28 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement, 22 April 1916

Closing scenes. The evacuation, page 28 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement, 22 April 1916

In Queensland, newspapers speculated for weeks leading up to the evacuation, and reported its success almost immediately:

Gallipoli evacuation, The Evening Telegraph (Charters Towers), 22 December 1915 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article213075689

Gallipoli evacuation, The Evening Telegraph (Charters Towers), 22 December 1915 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article213075689

Images of the evacuation were published later, in 1916, in The Queenslander Pictorial Supplement of The Queenslander newspaper, a weekly summary and literary edition of the Brisbane Courier (now the Courier Mail). To read more about the evacuation of Gallipoli, go to the Department of Veterans' Affairs website, and the Queensland Anzac Centenary website.

Last party of evacuated Australian soldiers at Helmia Siding Egypt, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg. 167030

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On the 18th of December 1915, my grandfather, Senior Signalling Sergeant William Peterson, Service number 7, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, was the last Anzac to walk off Destroyer Hill to head to Williams Pier to be evacuated by lighter to the waiting capital ships. His diary 1916 - 1917 records his misfortunes as he telephoned the final message to pick up the amassed troops awaiting to be evacuated. The details are copyright with the State Library for NSW but can be viewed online.

Dear Mr Avis,Thanks for sharing your family story. Here is a link to your grandfather's diaries at the State Library of New South Wales, so others may read about his experiences: http://www.acmssearch.sl.nsw.gov.au/search/itemDetailPaged.cgi?itemID=8…