Publisher: Australian War Memorial
2014 © Research Centre, Australian War Memorial. All rights reserved.
Title: Gallipoli Aerial Photograph Collection.
Date range of collection: 1915
Extent: 3 folders.
Repository: Australian War Memorial
Provenance: Unknown, either acquired during the war or in the 1920s by the Australian War Records Section (later the Australian War Memorial).
Access: Open. The collection is accessible in the Research Centre Reading Room on the lower ground floor of the Memorial during the Reading Room opening hours. The opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm. The Reading Room is closed on Sundays and ACT public holidays. Researches can contact the Research Centre to plan a visit. To access the collection the user will need to register as a client and agree to the Reading Room’s conditions of use. To contact the Information Services department or to make an appointment to visit the Reading Room call 02 62434315 or send an email to email@example.com
Restrictions on reproduction: Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections.
Preferred citation: Gallipoli Aerial Photograph Collection, Australian War Memorial.
Related materials for Gallipoli Aerial Photograph Collection are held at the Australian War Memorial in the following collections:
In 1915, after four and a half months of training near Cairo, Egypt, Australian troops departed for the Gallipoli peninsula, together with troops from New Zealand, Britain, India and France. Australian, New Zealand and Indian troops landed at what became known as ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and they established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. During the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through the Turkish lines and the Turks tried to drive the allied troops off the peninsular.
Before March 1915 the British had six seaplanes and two aeroplanes. These aircraft were very unsuited for the environment they were expected to work in, there were insufficient suitable landing grounds and the seaplanes could only take off in calm waters, which could not be guaranteed. Their engines were weak so they flew at very low altitudes and were often hit by the enemy. Wireless equipment was primitive, maps were inaccurate and there were no up to date cameras available. They had no trained observers, so naval officers were requested to volunteer as observers.
At the beginning, Lord Kitchener had no plans to have planes used during the Gallipoli military campaign. When Sir Ian Hamilton's newly appointed chief of staff, Major-General Walter Braithwaite asked Kitchener that they have a contingent of up to date planes, pilots and observers for Gallipoli, Kitchener refused.
However, luckily for Hamilton, Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty had been kept in ignorance of Kitchener's intentions and had already made arrangements to send Commander Samson's Royal Naval Air Service Squadron, then operating in France, to the Dardanelles. On 24 March the advance party of No. 3 Squadron of the Naval Air Service arrived, reinforcing the aircraft already in the Mediterranean. The rest of the crew arrived a few days later.
Aerial photography was still experimental. Most of the early photography at Gallipoli was taken by Flight Lieutenant CH Butler, from 4 April until the end of June when he was badly wounded. Initially he used a small folding Goertz-Anschutz camera, but eventually borrowed a better camera from a French Squadron. During his time photographing, he exposed approximately 700 plates, piecing them together to create photomosiacs for the creation of maps. From time to time these maps were passed to army headquarters. It was the end of August before a regular photographic section was organised.
Initially aerial photography for intelligence and map revision involved low flying and using improvised photographic equipment. However anti aircraft defences led to the need for aircraft to fly higher to avoid being shot. This meant cameras needed to be able to take photos at greater heights and so needed to have greater focal lengths.
The early cameras used glass plates and dark slides. Images were obtained by holding the cameras over the side of the aircraft. The cameras were fitted with simple sighting devices to identify the area to be photographed. The cameras started being mounted to the side of the aircraft, rather than hand held and eventually they created magazines, that allowed for a series of photographs to be taken by the observer activating a lever to change the plates.
The strength of defensive positions at Gallipoli meant that attacking troops needed detailed information on enemy defences, including positions of artillery, fortifications, ammunition dumps, trench lines. It was too dangerous to map from the front line, so the army turned to aerial photography as a way of adding to, or creating new maps.
The use and interpretation of aerial photographs was still relatively young, and did not always work as hoped. At the attack on Lone Pine in August 1915, the attacking soldiers were confronted with Turkish trenches covered in heavy pine logs. The interpretation of aerial photographs of these trenches to identify this feature and it caused great probelms for the attacking forces.
Aerial photographs continued to be taken throughout the campaign. The photographs that survive today record the changing face of the Gallipoli landscape as trench lines and support bases extended and became more complex, new fronts opened and positions were captured or lost.
Chasseaud, Peter, 2002, Official history of the Great War: military operations, other theatres,1914-18 : maps, CD-Rom), Naval & Military Press in association with the Imperial War Museum, Uckfield, England.
Collier, Peter, 2002,The impact on topographical mapping of developments in land and air survey: 1900 – 1939, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Vol 29 No. 3.
Dowson, Ernest, 1921, Further Notes on Aeroplane photography in the Near East, Geographical Journal, Vol 58.
Hamilton, Ian, Sir, 1920,Gallipoli diary, E. Arnold, London.
Jones, H.A.,1928, The war in the air: being the story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force Voll II.Clarendon Press, Oxford.
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