There was an excellent turn out of some 60 members of the Western Front Association (WFA) at their monthly talk at Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on 18 July 2016. It was also nice to see a few Gallipoli Association members in the audience at the excellent Royal Naval Association club venue. The occasion was to listen to a talk from Stephen Chambers, Gallipoli Association historian and author who has made his first visit to this WFA branch to present a talk which looked at the final days of the disastrous campaign in the Dardanelles. Stephen did a similar talk for the Kent branch earlier this year.
There has been a lot of focus on the centenary in 2015 but it is easy to forget that the evacuation concluded on 9 January 1916. Gallipoli has come to symbolise all that that went wrong in the First World War, poor leadership by both generals & politicians, insufficient supplies of basic provisions such as food, water and medical facilities, a lack of artillery support and ammunition to name but a few. Lloyd George who had in effect written the epitaph on the Gallipoli Campaign before it had even begun when in December 1914 he wrote in a memorandum to the War Council, "Expeditions which are decided upon and organised with insufficient care generally end disastrously”. That cannot be said of the ‘Evacuation’ which ranks among the most impressive, imaginative and audacious operational successes of the entire war.
To learn more about the evacuation do not forget to book early for our next event which is on 22 October at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, see: http://www.gallipoli-association.org/events/annual-gallipoli-conference-2016/
Image courtesy of WFA / Imperial War Museum © IWM Q13662 that shows the build up of stores at Kangaroo Beach, Suvla during the late summer of 1915. This important port became key to the evacuation of Suvla in December 1915.