Helles Memorial Gallipoli

This article on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli is one of a number of articles I’ve written on the campaign. In addition, I have also written guides to help you research those who served in the British and Indian Armies during the First World War:

The Helles Memorial GallipoliHelles Memorial Gallipoli

The Helles Memorial at Gallipoli has a dual function in that it serves as both a memorial for the Gallipoli Campaign while also commemorating servicemen who died and have no known grave. The memorial bears the names of more than 21,000 men, listed by unit, on the panels around the stone wall. Arranged by regiment or corps, the panels record names by rank and then alphabetically. Commemorated on the panels are all the British and Indian soldiers with no known graves who died throughout the campaign while the 249 Australians died on the Helles front. Australians who died elsewhere during the campaign are commemorated on other memorials to the missing, including at Lone Pine.

The Helles Memorial was designed by Sir John Burnet who also designed the majority of memorials and cemeteries on the peninsula. At its centre is a 32.9-metre high obelisk which looks out over the Dardanelles Strait to the Plains of Troy. The memorial was sited on the edge of a cliff so it would be clearly visible to all passing shipping. Helles Memorial GallipoliAs well as carrying the names of the fallen on its panels, the memorial records all of the units which fought at Gallipoli. The panels on the memorial also record the names of battleships, battlecruisers, cruisers as well as other ships which fought during the campaign. On three panels on the obelisk are lists of divisions and brigades which fought at Helles, ANZAC and Suvla. The Lancashire Fusiliers have the most men of any regiment to be commemorated on the memorial, 1,362, followed by the Manchester Regiment with 1,186.Indian Soldiers Helles MemorialThe above panels record part of the 1,506 dead of the Indian Army commemorated on the memorial. The two panels show part of the dead of the 6th and 10th Gurkha Rifles and all those of the 45th Rattray’s Sikhs. Where possible, the remains of Gurkhas, who are Hindu, and Sikhs were cremated in keeping with their religious traditions. This is why there are only two graves to Sikhs and one to a Gurkha on Gallipoli. The 45th Rattray’s Sikhs didn’t serve on Gallipoli but supplied drafts to the 14th King George’s Own Ferozepore Sikhs. One of the Sepoys in the 45th Sikhs, Sundar Singh who was from Lyallpore (Faisalabad), Punjab, was awarded the Indian Distinguished Service Medal for gallantry. This is why the post-nominal letters I.D.S.M. appear after his name. Also shown are two Followers of the 1/6th Battalion Gurkha Rifles, Dhanraj Gurung of Murao, Nepal who died on 29 November 1915 and Jai Ram from Rahiwa, Punjab, India who died on 9 December. Followers were hired by Indian Army units to provide water carriers, dhobis, sweepers, cooks, barbers, personal servants etc. Hundreds of followers died while serving with the Indian Army during the war.

Hawick Memorial Helles MemorialNext to the main entrance to the Helles Memorial, by the car park, you will find the Hawick Memorial. Hawick is a small town in the Scottish Borders and the Territorial Force 4th Battalion, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Before the war, the Battalion recruited its B Company and part of its C Company from the town. On the 12 July 1915, the 4th Battalion was part of an attack to capture the hill of Achi Baba on the Helles Front during which it suffered over 500 casualties. Many of these soldiers were from Hawick and the surrounding area.

In 1926, the Hawick Memorial was taken out to Helles and laid on the memorial by Margaret Patrick, whose son Second Lieutenant John Bonthrone Patrick 4th Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers was killed in the attack. A letter from David Smith, senior master HMS London, published in the Hawick News and Border Chronicle on 10 October 1930 describes the memorial:

Sir, The citizens of Hawick will be pleased to know that the memorial tablet which they placed at the foot of the Gallipoli Cenotaph [Helles Memorial] in memory of the men of Hawick who lost their lives at Gallipoli rests there in perfect condition. A visit to the Peninsula, the battlegrounds and cemeteries, was made on September 23rd. The French and British cemeteries are all beautifully arranged and kept in a very good condition, no doubt a result of endeavours of the War Graves Commission. Turkish law prevented my taking photographs. I was most impressed with your tablet, laid in a most conspicuous place.

There are two cemeteries located close to the memorial, as is the solitary grave of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie VC. The closest is V Beach Cemetery. which is just below the memorial and can be seen from the clifftop. Lancashire Landing Cemetery is further away and can be found by taking the road in front of the memorial and walking away from Seddulbahir. It is about a mile away. If you continue up the road you’ll pass Pink Farm Cemetery before reaching Alcitepe.