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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: Thomas Henry Campbell Last Name: GIBSON
Date of Death: 06/08/1915 Lived/Born In: Beckton
Rank: Private Unit: Worcestershire4
Memorial Site: 1. East Ham, Central Park Memorial 2. Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:

New Beckton

Born-Sunderland

Enlisted-East Ham

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. It was an heroic failure.

By July, 1915, and after much fierce fighting, stalemate had set in at Gallipoli both at Cape Helles where the British and French had landed and at Anzac Cove where the Australian and New Zealand Corps were unable to break out of their beach head. Fresh troops were needed and they were on their way in the shape of four divisions from Britain and things were put on hold until they arrived.

The plan for August was for a landing at Suvla Bay to the north of Anzac Cove whilst at the same time, the ANZAC Corps, reinforced by some of the new British troops would effect a breakout from Anzac Cove and establish a line across the peninsula. Whilst this was going on the troops in the south at Helles would stage a number of diversionary attacks. But it all went horribly wrong and much of the reason for this can be explained by inadequate planning and leadership. Nobody seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing and Lieutenant-General Stopford, in charge of the Suvla landings was particularly out of his depth. The landings at Suvla failed to link up with the forces at Anzac and the breakout from there did not happen despite valiant efforts by all concerned. The loss of life on all fronts was again enormous. L.A. Carlyon’s excellent book “Gallipoli” gives a superb yet chilling account of the events.

The diversionary attack at Helles on 6th August, 1915 was made by the 4th Worcestershire, 2nd Hampshire and 1st Essex battalions, all of 88 Brigade, 29th Division. Things did not go well from the start. When the British bombardment began in the afternoon the enemy immediately replied with their own artillery barrage which targeted the crowded British jump off trenches, killing and wounding many of those waiting to attack. At 3.50pm the troops went over the top only to find that their own barrage had been wholly inadequate and that the Turkish defences were still very much intact. Within a few minutes after zero hour, 88 Brigade had been shattered with two thirds of the attacking force becoming casualties and the few gains made were soon relinquished.

4th Worcestershire attacked on the right of 88 Brigade’s front where no-man’s-land, at 300 yards, was at its widest. To try to deal with flanking fire from the right, 5th Manchester from 42nd Division advanced at the same time to capture two small Turkish trenches on the right bank of West Krithia Nullah. They took them but could not hold them and when 4th Worcestershire advanced they were hit by machine gun fire from the front and the flanks. Just thirty men and a sergeant made it to the Turkish trenches and there were only twelve left when they withdrew back to their own lines in the evening. One of their many casualties was Thomas Gibson.

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