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Gallipoli - The first day

Some historians say it was the day two nations forged their own, distinct identities. On April 25, 1915, New Zealanders followed Australians on to a small, faraway beach in Turkey.

It was the beginning of an ill-fated eight-month military campaign.


Anzac Cove.

The battleships, destroyers, and transport ships stop at sea, and a contingent of troops begin the landing process in the dark - but no New Zealand battalions will land for hours.

Due to an error in calculating tidal effects and a spot of bad luck, the troops land about one mile north of their intended target. Instead of facing gentle slopes and a wide beach, the troops arrive at Anzac Cove, with a tangle of steep cliffs and gullies up to 91m in height rising up above them.

Anzac Cove map. Anzac Cove map.


Turkish sentries open fire on ships.

Turkish sentries begin to open fire on the landing ships.


Lutzow at Gallipoli, Turkey.

With an estimated 8000 Australians already ashore, the first Kiwis begin disembarking the TS Lutzow after a night sleeping on the deck and a nervous breakfast.

ANZAC Landing vessels.

This group of Aucklanders ride in already bloodstained ‘lighters’ - converted lifeboats towed by a steamboat. Turkish machine gun fire begins almost immediately, injuring Private Charles James Skinner before he makes it to shore.


Walkers Ridge map. Walkers Ridge map.

Aucklanders continue to land on the narrow beach, with orders to reinforce the Australians, who are struggling to hold a position on the narrow Walker’s Ridge. Their aim is Baby 700, an inland hill that overlooks the entire area.

More troops landing. More troops landing.

Back on the ships, the first Canterbury soldiers begin to disembark, one or two hours behind schedule.


Around 1500 New Zealanders are now ashore - 3100 will land in total today.


Plugges Plateau map. Plugges Plateau map.

The Aucklanders have been told to change course, as the narrow goat track of Walker’s Ridge will necessitate single-file. Their new route takes them over Plugge’s Plateau to the south, named for Lt-Col Plugge, then onto Shrapnel Valley. They are easy targets for Turkish snipers and artillery from higher ground.

The Cantabrians have been told to join them, but they become confused over the plateau, mixing up with the Aucklanders and Australians.


The Baby 700 map. The Baby 700 map.

New Zealand troops are spread out across the front. Two Waikato platoons make it to the slopes of Baby 700 before retreating under heavy sniper fire, with 39 deaths and many more wounded.

New Zealand troops spread out across the front.


The Nek map. The Nek map.

The Otago troops come ashore. Lt-Col Stewart has rushed forwards with a unit mostly made up on Cantabrians, making it to an inland sector of Walker’s Ridge known as The Nek - it is extremely narrow.

Lt-Col Stewart photo.


Malones Gully map. Malones Gully map.

Canterbury soldiers left confused on Plugge’s Plateau have regrouped and travelled further north up the beach. They climb through Malone’s Gully and rush a Turkish trench near Battleship Hill. After three tries they take it - but the Turks behind the line continue to fire upon them.


The Nek map. The Nek map.

Returning to The Nek with a larger force, Lt-Col Stewart is shot dead. Anzac troops push past it slightly, then dig into their position at The Nek. Both sides make Bayonet charges.

Australian troops charge with Bayonets.


Wellingtonian troops land ashore under heavy fire.

The Wellingtonians make it ashore under heavy fire.


New Zealand Headquarters. New Zealand Headquarters.

The New Zealand Infantry Brigade HQ arrive on shore, far too late to direct the Kiwis to do much. Throughout the dusk the hard-won positions are dug in, and the fighting continues.


Hot fighting in Gallipoli.

A conference to discuss the disastrous day is held. At least 153 Kiwis have died, while around half a thousand have been seriously injured. Auckland has lost 100, as they came ashore earlier than most. The horror is far from over.


  • Developer: Lewis Barron
  • Words: Henry Cooke
  • Maps: Arie Ketel
  • Project editor: John Hartevelt
  • Design: Based on the work of James Ford

Sources: National Library, Australian War Museum, Alexander Turnbull Library, Fairfax NZ archives.