The outbreak of war in 1914 was greeted in Australia, as in many other places, with great public enthusiasm. Most of the men accepted into the army in August 1914 were sent to Egypt to meet the threat which a new belligerent, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), posed to British interests in the Middle East and the Suez Canal.
After four and a half months of training near Cairo, the Australians departed by ship for the Gallipoli peninsula, with troops from New Zealand, Britain, and France. The Australians landed at what became known as Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 and established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. During the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through Turkish lines, while the Turks tried to drive the allied troops off the peninsula. Attempts on both sides ended in failure and the ensuing stalemate continued for the remainder of 1915. The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation of troops on 19 and 20 December, under cover of a comprehensive deception operation. As a result, the Turks were unable to inflict more than a very few casualties on the retreating forces.
Where to find more
Use these resources on our site to learn about the Australian experience of the First World War.
Volume I – The Story of Anzac from the outbreak of war to the end of the first phase of the Gallipoli Campaign, May 4, 1915
Volume II – The Story of Anzac from 4 May, 1915, to the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula
Volume IX – The Royal Australian Navy, 1914–1918