Probus hears of Gallipoli landings

editorial image

AT the Ellon Probus Club meeting on 26 January President Alistair Sinclair introduced fellow club member Alan Barker as speaker for the day. Alan, a well known local military and war history enthusiast, gave an account of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign undertaken by Britain and her allies in 1915 and, in particular, the involvement of Ellon man George Clark.

The Gallipoli campaign was aimed at opening up a sea link with Russia via the Dardanelles to divert German attention away from the Western Front. The allied invasion of Gallipoli was thwarted by the dogged resistance of Turkish troops led by Kemal Ataturk. Allied success was measured in yards over nine months with around 395,00 men (132,000 Allies, 263,000 Turks) being either killed or wounded before the campaign was eventually halted. Thousands of British, French, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and Canadian troops still lie unidentified in war cemeteries on Gallipoli. In Britain the campaign received little publicity, as it was a major defeat and would have been bad for public and military morale.

George Clark was an Ellon loon who emigrated to Australia in 1911 and in 1914 joined the Australian army to fight the Germans; his name is listed on the War Memorial at Ellon. After spending six months training in Egypt, George and his fellow Anzacs were sent to Gallipoli where, sadly at age 23, he was killed in week one during an attack on an area of high ground known as Lone Pine Ridge. This ridge is now the location of the main Anzac war cemetery on Gallipoli. In Australia the role played by the Anzacs is commemorated with honour, while in Britain the Gallipoli campaign is largely forgotten.

Alan finished by indicating that he would greatly appreciate any further information on George Clark - can any readers help out here? The vote of thanks was given by Fred Crawford.

The next meeting is on Thursday February, 9.