In April 1915, New Zealand soldiers, alongside those from Australia, Britain and France, invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula. This was to ensure an Allied naval force could break through the Dardanelles Strait and seize or threaten the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, and hopefully the Ottoman Empire might be forced out of the war.
The British landed at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula, while the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed half way up the peninsula, in order to cut off the Ottomans’ supply route to the south.
Neither force managed to achieve their primary objectives and the conflict soon turned into a stalemate of trench warfare.
|Ref: The Daily Telegraph picture map of the Dardanelles... , 1915,|
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 4866.
|Ref: Plan shewing defences at Apex... |
1915, Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 1277.
The map on the left is a hand-drawn plan, showing defences at the Apex, compiled from surveys made by Privates Walton and Elmes. The Apex was a knoll at the furthest point into the range the ANZACs were able to dig -- about 460 metres from the high point at Chunuk Bair. At the beginning of August 1915, the Wellington Battalion managed to take Chunuk Bair and hold it with desperate fighting until they were relieved by two British battalions. However, these were soon overrun by overwhelming Ottoman forces and the troops fell back to positions at the Apex.
The Gallipoli campaign would progress no further into the peninsula. The plan shows tunnels and trenches leading up to the front line at the Apex, including one called Cuba Street.
|Ref: ANZAC New Zealand Division trench plan: the Apex, 1915, |
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 5426.
The topographical map above is the first sheet of three showing the New Zealand positions at Gallipoli. This map shows the Apex, just below Chunuk Bair.
|Ref: The Daily Telegraph war map of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Sir George Grey |
Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 3037.
Author: Zoë Colling, Sir George Grey Special Collections. With information from the 'It'll be over by Christmas: World War 1914 -1918' exhibition labels by Ian Snowdon.