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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: Henry John Last Name: PURSE
Date of Death: 13/08/1915 Lived/Born In: Chalk Farm
Rank: Private Unit: Hampshire2
Memorial Site: Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:


52, Crogsland Road, Chalk Farm


Gallipoli 1915

On 25 April, 1915, 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.


Before the war the Royal Edward was a passenger ship of the Canadian Northern Steamship Company but in 1914 she was requisitioned as a troop ship. On 10th August, 1915 she arrived in Alexandria from Avonmouth with 1,367 officers and men of various regiments and units, all bound for Gallipoli. The next stage of the voyage took the ship through the Aegean Sea and it was there, on 13th August, that she was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine, UB14. HMT Royal Edward was hit in the stern and sank within six minutes. Despite the assistance of the hospital ship Soudan and other vessels that rushed to the scene, nearly one thousand of the troops on board lost their lives, including Henry Purse on his way to join the 2nd Hampshire battalion of 88 Brigade, 29th Division. An explanation given for this high loss of life was that the men had just finished a safety drill and were below decks putting all the equipment back.

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