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The untold true story of the ANZACS & Allies escape from the Gallipoli Peninsula – a life or death gamble which concluded the treacherous 9-month Gallipoli campaign.

July 15, 2020 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email


In the midst of COVID-19, battlefield tour operator, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours has branched into publishing with its Living History podcasts, YouTube channel and now, the launch of its first book – The Gallipoli Evacuation by historian and battlefield guide for MMBT, Peter Hart – generating new revenue streams for the travel company.

Mat McLachlan is available for interview to discuss.

“While Australians unfortunately are unable to visit the key battlefields where Australian soldiers fought and died this year, we are continuing to bring these sites and stories to life through Living History, and we invite all Australians to join us on the battlefields with our acclaimed historians through our podcasts, YouTube documentaries and this exciting new book,” said Mat McLachlan.

“We are also inviting Australians to join us for the free Live Virtual Launch of The Gallipoli Evacuation, on Sunday 26 July 2020 at 8pm AEST, including a live conversation with author, historian and battlefield guide Peter Hart, plus some special guests,” added Mat McLachlan.

Available for pre-order now for delivery September 2020 (soft-cover book $35.99+postage and handling, e-book $16.99), all orders made by 31 July 2020 will receive an exclusive audio conversation with Peter Hart including recorded interviews with Gallipoli veterans. To register for the free virtual launch event or pre-purchase the book, visit: https://livinghistorytv.com/book/the-gallipoli-evacuation-by-peter-hart/

The Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915 are perhaps the most legendary wartime event in Australia’s history. Less spoken about, is the 9-month campaign that followed, in which the Anzacs and their Allies on the Peninsula – which included British, French, Canadian and Indian troops – faced battles against not only the enemy forces of the Turks (later supported by the Germans), but also against the impassable and unprotective terrain and the elements. This is the story of the final days of this long and treacherous campaign.

Narrated by acclaimed historian Peter Hart, who spent 39 years as the oral historian at the Sound Archive of the Imperial War Museum in London interviewing thousands of veterans about their experiences, this incredible true story is told in the words of the soldiers who served at Gallipoli themselves.

“After nine months on Gallipoli, the Allies’ greatest achievement was the way they left”

Mat McLachlan, Battlefield Historian and Founder of Living History.

The evacuation of Gallipoli was a life or death gamble. The expedition to wrest the Narrows from the Turks had failed, Constantinople remained an impossible dream. Now in December 1915, some 135,000 men, nearly 400 guns and 15,000 horses/mules were collectively trapped in the bridgeheads at Anzac, Suvla and Helles. The invaders found themselves caught in a nightmare scenario: they could not advance, but how was it possible to retreat from trenches overlooked by the Turks? Who would take the responsibility for the hard decisions to be taken? The soldiers? Or the vacillating politicians busy ‘passing the buck’ back home in London? With every day that passed the Turks moved up more guns, threatening to blast to pieces the flimsy piers, breakwaters and blockships that acted as makeshift harbours to feed and supply tens of thousands of men. And winter was coming. But the evacuation plans were brilliant, especially the early introduction of ‘silent periods’ to confuse the Turks. But it was still a damn close-run thing. A spell of bad weather in the final days might have destroyed the flimsy piers, leaving thousands trapped helpless should the Turkish guns open up and their infantry swarm over No Man’s Land. This then is the story of how the Gallipoli garrison escaped to fight another day.

Bringing the story to life, Peter Hart weaves in quotes from his interviews with the soldiers who served at Gallipoli until the very end:

Major-General Sir Charles Caldwell, Director of Military Operations, War Office

We have four enemies to contend with – the Bosches, the Turks, the Bulgars and His Majesty’s Government – and the last is the most deadly. It is deplorable that it should be so.

Corporal Harry Askin, Portsmouth Battalion

Great big howitzer shells that came down on us at an angle of about 60 degrees and which made a noise similar to an express train dashing at full speed through a station. Every other noise was swallowed up in that great terrifying roar. ‘Whizz-bangs’ kept bursting on the parapet, but we never heard them and then, when these big ones burst, it was more like an earthquake and an eruption at the same time. The earth would tremble and shake and where the shell had burst a great column of earth and smoke would shoot up a hundred feet into the air. Long after they had burst, huge lumps of earth and iron casing kept whizzing down to earth at a terrific speed.

Private George Scott, 4th (New South Wales) Battalion

We were resting in Victoria Gully, till then untouched by Turkish shellfire, when I was called away to watch a ‘Two-Up’ game and maybe hoping to try my luck as well! Suddenly a newly arrived howitzer battery dropped one amongst the five or six I had just left. All died.

Lance Corporal William Scurry of the 7th (Victoria) Battalion

It occurred to me that if we could leave our rifles firing, we might get away more surely. The sand of the hourglass was the first germ of the idea. If the sand could be made to trickle from above into a container attached to the trigger, the increased weight would finally release it. Next day I started on the idea, but it wouldn’t work. The sand wouldn’t run, and the trigger wanted a jerk to pull it. The jerk was easily got over by the cartridge box full of dirt, but water was the only thing that I could think of to replace the sand.



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