A national service will be held at the New Zealand Memorial on Chunuk Bair,
Gallipoli on 8 August 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the historic Anzac
battle, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced.
“I am pleased to confirm a national
service will be held on the Gallipoli peninsula next year for the centenary.
“While New Zealand troops initially captured the heights of Chunuk Bair on 8
August 1915, the Turkish forces were ultimately successful in the battle. More
than 90 per cent of the 760 New Zealand men who reached the summit of Chunuk
Bair were killed or wounded.
“As we reflect on the passing of 100 years since the First World War, it is
fitting we remember those who gave so much for their country,” Mr Woodhouse
Mr Woodhouse confirmed that no ballot will be held for places at the Chunuk Bair
commemoration. As such, anyone who is able to make it to the Gallipoli peninsula
will be able to attend the service.
“This commemoration provides another opportunity for anyone that missed out in
the Anzac Day Gallipoli ballot to be present for the 8 August service.
will also hold a service on 6 August
to commemorate the Battle of Lone Pine.
“We are grateful the Turkish Government has agreed to an additional service on
the Gallipoli Peninsula to commemorate New Zealand’s part in the August battles.
Turkey continues to be a very generous host to both New Zealand and Australia
around Gallipoli commemorations.
“This is further demonstrated by its recent gifting to New Zealand of 30 extra
passes for next year’s Anzac Day service at Gallipoli, alongside 120 further
passes for Australia, from Turkey’s VIP allocation,” says Mr Woodhouse.
The extra passes for both countries will be offered to the next applicants on
the respective waiting lists.
Details for the 8 August service are still being planned and will be made
available on this website.
The August Offensive and Chunuk Bair
The initial plan for the August Offensive was that two columns of troops, right
and left, would move up the Sari Bair Range and capture the high points of
Chunuk Bair, Hill Q and Hill 971 (Koja Chemen Tepe) during the night of 6-7
August. The Australians would create a diversionary attack which would distract
Turkish attention from the assault on Sari Bair. The Australians launched their
diversionary attack on Lone Pine at 5:30pm on 6 August, with another attack
taking place at Helles. The diversionary attacks achieved nothing positive.
During the night of 6/7 August the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the Māori
Contingent and British troops cleared the foothills in front of the Sari Bair
Range, but took longer than planned to achieve what was a very demanding task.
The plan for the right and left columns to take the Range however soon came
apart when the left column got lost in the darkness, and the right column never
properly formed. The right column’s two parts, including the New Zealand
Infantry Brigade, were supposed to meet at Rhododendron Spur before advancing on
to Chunuk Bair. At sunrise on 7 August the Brigade was still waiting for the
other part of the column to arrive. The attack went ahead nevertheless and the
Auckland Battalion managed to advance within 200 metres of the summit with heavy
casualties. The Wellington Battalion, led by Lt Col William Malone, were ordered
to follow, but Malone refused to sacrifice his men in broad daylight, instead
insisting on an attack under cover of darkness.
On 8 August the Wellington Battalion advanced to the summit of Chunuk Bair and
successfully captured it. Despite this success there were still Turkish forces
positioned in higher vantage points, and the casualties suffered by the
Wellington Battalion were enormous. It was very difficult to supply or reinforce
the troops on Chunuk Bair. By the time they were relieved only 70 of the 760 men
who went up came back unscathed, the rest had either been killed or wounded. Lt
Col Malone was among those killed. New Zealand’s only Victoria Cross of the
Gallipoli Campaign was awarded at Chunuk Bair, to Corporal Cyril Bassett of the
New Zealand Divisional Signal Company. Under relentless Turkish fire Bassett
continued laying the telephone wires which were essential for communication
between the summit of Chunuk Bair and headquarters below.
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