Topic: Battle of Sari Bair, Gallipoli (August 1915) by Justin Hobson

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By Cadet Justin Hobson in 2004 (WBoPCU). Justin’s entry was the winning essay in a local Cadet history competition. It was published in the August 2004 Regimental Newsletter.

Does this article look wrong? Click here for an archived version.

First phase of the Battle of Sari Bair, showing the British attack, 6–8 August 1915 (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1909, 4 military districts were formed in New Zealand. Auckland District consisted of 1st Battalion Auckland Infantry (renamed 3rd Auckland March 17th 1911), 6th Hauraki Regiment, 15th North Auckland Regiment and 16th Waikato Regiment. On August 4th 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. New Zealand offered to send troops to help Britain. The Auckland Battalion (consisting of the above regiments) sailed from Wellington on October 16th 1914. En route to Europe the troops were diverted to Egypt arriving in Egypt December 3rd 1914.

 As Turkey had joined the war on Germany’s side the British government decided that they needed to take the peninsula that became known as the Gallipoli Peninsula, to allow for their allies, Russia, to be able to get their ships through the Dardanelles Straits.

 On April 25, 1915, the Auckland Battalion were the first New Zealanders to land at Anzac Cove (10am) to reinforce the First Australian Division. Tuesday April 27, 1915, "We gathered in all the Hauraki men we could find and mustered 99 out of our original 227 (taken from Colvin Algies diary, Auckland Battalion).

 Sari Bair was a huge mountain range on the Peninsula, which the Turks controlled. For the next 4 months the Anzac troops tried to take this high ground but conditions were extremely treacherous with sheer cliffs. The Turks had dug themselves in on top of the ridge and continuously pounded the New Zealand Battalion as they tried to get farther up the hill.

On August 7/8th 1915 the Auckland Battalion was decimated on Rhododendron Spur white trying to capture a place called Chunuk Bair which was in the Sari Bair mountain range. In just twenty minutes there was a casualty count of 300 men. "We had a run of about 200 yards to the Turk trench and of course directly we appeared over the crest the machine guns opened on us and mowed us down" also taken from Colvin Algies diary, Auckland Battalion.

Second phase of the Battle of Sari Bair, showing the Turkish counter-attack, 9–10 August 1915 (wikimedia commons)

 In spite of this tragedy before dawn August 8th the Wellington Infantry Battalion seized this vital high ground of Chunuk Bair. Unfortunately when they were relieved by British troops on the night of 9/10th the hill was retaken by the Turks.

November 1915, a massive blizzard covered New Zealand positions in ice and snow.

December 1915, order given to evacuate Gallipoli.

Roll of Honour (6th Hauraki)

  • Private Frank Bower Baine, killed in action 8th August 1915, age 19
  • Private Aubrey Horotiu Black, killed in action 8th August 1915 age 72
  • Private Theophilis Gemming, killed in action 8th August 1915 age 22
  • Private Walter Greenslade, killed in action 8th August 1915 age 37
  • Private Robert Harvey, killed in action 8th August 1915 age 23
  • Private Sydney Elliot Skeltem (sic, correct spelling actually Skellern) killed in action 8th August 1915 age 20  

 

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A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC https://perma.cc/7TY7-PJQC.

 

 

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Battle of Sari Bair, Gallipoli (August 1915) by Justin Hobson


Year:1909, 1914, and 1915
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Battle of Sari Bair, Gallipoli (August 1915) by Justin Hobson by Tauranga City Libraries Staff - HC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License