In April 1915, as part of plans developed by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, an attack on the Dardanelles peninsular was launched. The aim was to expose Istanbul and open up a supply route to Russia. The tragic events that followed led to huge numbers of casualties, prisoners and loss of life.
Members can see in the display cases in the Library a number of items to mark the events. Of particular interest is Norman Wilkinson’s book ‘The Dardanelles’ which includes his beautiful and moving pen and ink drawings which depict his experiences at Gallipoli. Wilkinson went on to paint for the War Artists Advisory Committee during the Second World War, and one of his paintings ‘Convoy’ hands in the stairwell at RUSI.
Also on display are a number of items from our ‘Personal Experiences’ sections. These books capture the individual soldiers’ and sailors’ involvement, and include photographs, maps and drawings. They provide a special insight into some of the horrific events that took place and show how limitless the human capabilities of strength and bravery can be. These books include ‘Gallipoli’ by John Masefield (1928), and ‘Ashmead-Barlett’s despatches from the Dardanelles’.
From the RUSI Special Collection, one of six aerial reconnaissance photographs of the Peninsular taken by British aeroplanes from HMS Ark Royal. These photographs provide a unique vision of the theatre of war and the campaign in general and are an unusual addition to the RUSI collection.
And finally, open to April 1915, the display includes a volume that lists of all the members of the Institute killed during the First World War, a reminder of the dreadful human cost of this campaign.
The next battle we will be marking is the Battle of Loos, September 1915.
For a full list of items from the RUSI collections on Gallipoli, please click here.
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