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V Beach Cemetery, Helles, Gallipoli V Beach Cemetery, Helles, Gallipoli
First Name: Walter Last Name: BYRNE
Date of Death: 30/04/1915 Lived/Born In: Regent's Park
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Royal Dublin Fusiliers1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Carlow, Ireland

Gallipoli 1915

On 25 April, British, Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. The plan was that these forces would soon defeat a demoralised Turkish army, knock Turkey out of the war, open up the Mediterranean to the Russian navy and threaten Austo-Hungary from the south. None of these things were achieved despite nine months of hard fighting in terrible conditions. It was an heroic failure.

The 29th Division and the Royal Naval Division landed at five separate beaches around Cape Helles.  Some were not defended, others were fiercely contested. Some ground was gained but within days the familiar pattern of trench warfare had set in. A similar pattern emerged further north where the ANZACS landed. The Turkish soldiers were much tougher fighters than had been given credit for and they were of course fighting an invasion of their homeland. The terrain, a series of steep rocky ridges and deep gulleys made the fighting much more difficult  and during the hot summer of 1915, the flies arrived in biblical proportions. Another seven British divisions were sent to Gallipoli during the summer but little or no progress was made. In the end, a new Commander was appointed and plans to evacuate the entire force were drawn up. By January 1916, all British, Australian and New Zealand forces had left Gallipoli, leaving only behind the dead, over 56,000 of them.

First Battle of Krithia   28th April 1915

During the two days after the successful but costly landings at Helles on 25th April, the soldiers of 29th Division consolidated their foothold and pushed the line forward, in preparation for an assault on the village of Krithia. At 8am on 28th April, naval guns began the bombardment of Turkish positions and the long line of infantry began to move forward in a long left wheel. But things did not go to plan. Orders arrived late so there was no time to prepare. The terrain , crisscrossed by gullies and ridges hampered progress so some units advanced quicker than others. The men were all dog tired after three days with precious little sleep and many of the senior officers had become casualties, creating a problem with leadership. The strength and whereabouts of the the Turks was entirely unknown but eventually they were able to put in nine battalions against the advance and rather than a battle the day developed into a series of skirmishes until it was final called off at 6 pm. The British suffered 3000 casualties on this day.

86 Brigade were in reserve for this attack but as the day progressed and the troops got bogged down they too were brought into action. The remnants of 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers moved up to support the right of 88 Brigade. Many of 1st Royal Dublin Fusilier’s casualties are recorded as being on 30th April, a day when little fighting took place, and they were likely to have occurred earlier, on the 28th April or even on 25th April, the day of the landings.

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