Projectiles and shrapnel balls : Battleship Hill, Gallipoli

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Sari Bair Area, Battleship Hill
Accession Number RELAWM07828.002
Collection type Technology
Object type Munition
Physical description Lead
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Collection of four .303 inch calibre projectiles and nine lead shrapnel balls. Six of the balls balls are 12.5 mm in diameter, two are 15 mm in diameter and one is 18 mm in diameter. All are misshapen in varying degrees due to impact.

History / Summary

These projectiles and shrapnel balls were found at Battleship Hill on 18 February 1919 by members of the Australian Historical Mission (AHM). They were attempting to find the positions reached by a group under Captain Eric William Tulloch of the 11th Battalion.

Tulloch's group reached the northeastern slope of the hill, the furthest reached in this direction by any Australian soldier. The men fought the Turks for half an hour before they were forced to retreat under increasing Turkish fire.

In his diary for 18 February, Bean refers to collecting the bullets at Battleship Hill. They were found by Bean among Turkish cartridges, indicating where the Turks had fired on Tulloch's men, and where the Australians had fired on them in return.

Originally called Big 700, the hill became known as Battleship Hill due to the bombardments the area received from the British naval ships, usually intended to disrupt Turkish advances or to shell the Ottoman reservists sheltering behind the inland slope.

Among the shells fired on the position, were shrapnel shells. These shells contained small round shrapnel balls or 'bullets'. The balls in this collection are mostly small and may come from land artillery, as smaller gauge artillery pieces used smaller shrapnel in their shells. Larger guns used larger balls. Thousands of shrapnel balls could be contained in one shell. For example, a ship's 15-inch shrapnel shell contained 15,000 shrapnel balls.