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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: James William Last Name: PITHERS
Date of Death: 19/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Walthamstow
Rank: Private Unit: Essex1
Memorial Site: Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:

Age-27

8, Albion Road, Wood Street, Walthamstow

Born-Woodford

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 Austro-Hungary from the south. None of these things were achieved despite nine months of hard fighting in terrible conditions. The fighting soon degenerated into trench warfare with the Allies unable to break out of their toe holds on the tip of the Helles peninsular and at ANZAC Cove. The Turkish soldiers were much tougher fighters than they 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 gullies made the fighting much more difficult  and during the hot summer of 1915, the flies arrived in biblical proportions. By January 1916, all British, Australian and New Zealand forces had left Gallipoli, leaving only behind the dead, over 56,000 of them.

After the Second Battle of Krithia, fought between the 6th and 8th May, 1915 and which was a costly failure, it was decided to wait for much needed reinforcements before trying to capture Krithia and  the heights of Achi Baba once more. In the meantime all units were ordered to hold and strengthen their positions and to make what inroads they could into the enemy positions.

An example of this took place during the night of 18th-19th May, 1915 when the 1st Essex battalion of 88 Brigade, 29th Division were in the line from Fir Tree Wood to Gully Nullah. At 10.15pm, X & Y Companies moved forward 200 yards and occupied Fir Tree Wood where they clung on despite being under constant fire. Casualties for 1st Essex amounted to nearly thirty men and included James Pithers.

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