Thousands of young Irishmen lost their lives Gallipoli as part of the Allied failed invasion of Turkey during WWI. Today, many lie in unmarked graves which are strewn across this foreign rugged landscape. RTE’s Gallipoli – Ireland’s Forgotten Heroes, which aired on RTÉ; One, on Tuesday 21st April at 10.15pm, looked at this story of this brutal battle and disastrous campaign from the Irish perspective one hundred years on.
Appearing on the programme was Professor Of Modern European History John Horne, who, along with other historians and relatives of the soilders, revisited this heartbreaking story of bravery, tragic loss and forgotten history. The programme was presented by RTÉ;’s Political Correspondent David Davin-Power whose grandfather fought in the battle.
Professor Horne, Director of Trinity’s’ Centre for War Studies, has conducted extensive research into the Irish at Gallipoli as well as the French at Gallipoli. Professor Horne said: “The campaign, which lasted eight months (April 1915-early January 1916) involved a million soldiers from Britain and Ireland, the British Empire, France and the French Empire (on the Allied side) and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The Ottoman army included Turks but also Arabs and even some Armenians, and had a large number of senior German advisers. Ultimately an Allied failure, in the sense that the invading troops never got further than the beachheads, and thus did not take Istanbul, some 300 kms away, it was a major campaign in 1915.”
“Though a national myth in Australia and Turkey (Attaturk gained his reputation as a brilliant commander at Gallipoli), Gallipoli has been ignored in Ireland despite a significant involvement by Irish soldiers, over 3,500 of whom were killed there. Trinity College graduates were especially involved in the Irish Tenth Division, the first Irish volunteer division raised in the war, and which took part in the landings at Suvla Bay in August. Among others, Ernest Julien, the Reid Professor of Law, was killed there.”
Photo Credit: RTE