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PLAQUE NO.
5 ... Lone Pine          

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Plaque Text
In this vicinity were concentrated the largest numbers of defensive positions in the Turkish line. It was considered a key position because the Turkish lines directly overlooked their rear positions stretching from Quinn's Post, on the far left, to well beyond Lone Pine on the far right. Turkish artillery support was strong here, and this fairly flat piece of land on which you are now standing was known as 400 Plateau.


The Allied command decided to mount a major offensive in early August 1915 in order to capture the Sari Bair mountain range (which includes Baby 700, Chunuk Bair and Hill 971). Part of the strategy was to draw vital Turkish reserves away from this range by launching multiple attacks both at ANZAC and on the distant Cape Helles front. A major new Allied force was also to be landed behind Turkish lines at Suvla Bay, 8 kilometres north of here.

Text from Gallipoli Plaques Book*
The importance of the Lone Pine area prompted the Allies to mount, on 6th August, a major attack on these positions. At 1730 hours the New South Welshmen of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions charged across 60 metres of open ground (now covered by the graves in the cemetery) to reach the Turkish trenches which were in the area now occupied by the Australian Memorial. The Turks had covered their trenches with pine logs to reduce casualties from Allied shelling.

Entry to these trenches for the Australians was not easy, but eventually they found their way down into a labrynth of dark, dank and dangerous pits. The Australian trenches, which are still visible in the area to the right beyond the cemetery, had been well prepared for the attack with tunnels dug out into NoMan's-Land in order to minimise exposure to Turkish fire during the action.

In five days of bloody fighting the Australians managed to penetrate most of the Turkish trench system and hold the area against valiant, but hopeless, Turkish counterattacks. Within these trenches occurred some of the fiercest fighting of World War I, with men often reduced to using bayonets and bare fists. The combat was so ferocious that seven Victoria Crosses were won by Australians in this small area (only two other VCs were awarded to Australians during the Gallipoli Campaign and one to a New Zealander).

At the end of the five days both sides were exhausted. The Australians had lost 2,273 men killed whilst the Turks, who did not always keep accurate casualty records, are believed to have lost over 4,000 dead. All this in an area of two hectares.

Lone Pine was consolidated, with no further advances, after this battle and the position was retained by the Allies until the evacuation. The battle did successfully draw Turkish reserves from the Sari Bair area, but whatever early advantages were gained were soon squandered by the Allies through poor direction and leadership at Suvla Bay and on Chunuk Bair.

The cemetery is located centrally on 400 Plateau and its memorial is the main Australian memorial on the Peninsula. it commemorates the 3,268 Australian and 456 New Zealand soldiers who died on Gallipoli and have no known grave, and 960 Australians and 252 New Zealanders who died later because of service here and were buried at sea. From the memorial doors, looking north, you can see the cemeteries of Quinn's Post and The Nek. The road winds its way towards Baby 700, and then 1 kilometre further to Chunuk Bair, over the old front line. The solitary pine tree that grows within the walls of this cemetery grew from a seedling of the original pine after which this area was named.

Plaque No. 6 at Courtney's and Steele's Posts can be reached by returning to the main road and proceeding north for 500 metres.

* - - This text is taken from "Gallipoli Plaques, A Guide to the Anzac Battlefield", by R.J.Bastiaan. 2nd Edition Published by ANRAB Pty. Ltd. 1991.  

 



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