The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Gallipoli in Winter


When most Australians think about the fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, they think of sun, unrelenting heat, dust and flies. This might be because the original landings, always the trigger for ANZAC Day commemorations, occurred in the Northern Hemisphere Spring. Most mass media films dealing with Gallipoli focus on the landings and subsequent bloody major battles, such as Lone Pine and the Chessboard. The scene above, Light Horsemen and their dugouts at Ryrie's Post on the front line, is not untypical - soldiers in shirt sleeves, slouched hats turned down for shade, bare rock and parched earth.

However, the picture changes dramatically with the onset of late Autumn and Winter. Temperatures on the Gallipoli Peninsula plummeted; blue skies and sun gave way to lowering, stormy clouds and high winds; and the ground became frozen and covered with snow. The troops, not ideally equipped for the heat, dust and sun were woefully ill-equipped and under prepared for Winter's freezing conditions. Problems keeping them supplied in such conditions was one of the many reasons for the eventual evacuation and the end of a disastrous campaign.

Light Horse dugouts at Ryrie's Post in the Winter of 1915

The Museum has an extensive collection devoted to the 1st Light Horse in WW1, from the Gallipoli and Beersheba charge diaries of Light Horsemen who fought there, pine cones from the original lone pine, completely destroyed during the bloody battle, an internationally rare example of the world's very first anti-tank gun and, oh yes, if you've never seen a period copy of the Treaty of Versailles (the infamous treaty that ended WW1 and started WW2), come along and take a look at the Museum's copy.

Ian Hawthorn, 2020

New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881; Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
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