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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: John Last Name: CURSON
Date of Death: 17/08/1915 Lived/Born In: Homerton
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Royal Army Medical Corps 1/3rd East Anglia Field Ambulance
Memorial Site: Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:

Born-Shoreditch

 

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 a 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.

John Curson was killed in action on 17th August, 1915 while serving with the 3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps. This unit was part of the 54th Division that had arrived at Suvla from 10th-15th August, 1915, and was then engaged in the fighting around Suvla Bay.

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