Today is the 70th Anniversary of the end of the war in Europe. Above is the front page of the Enfield Gazette for the 11th May 1945. On VE day a crowd had gathered in the market place in Enfield to hear Churchill’s VE Day broadcast. Afterwards the bells of St Andrews Church were rung in celebration. Below is the message from the Chairman of Enfield District Council
The Gazette reported that the overwhelming mood of the people of Enfield was one of relief. In Green Dragon Lane someone hung a life like dummy of Hitler from one of the buildings. The highest flag in the area was hung from the crane in Halsey’s timber yard in Baker Street. There were celebrations in Durants park with dancing on the tennis courts. There were street parties across the three districts. Although the mood was one of celebration for many families it was still a very anxious time. Servicemen and women were still been killed in the Far East. In the same edition of the newspaper that reported the end of the war in Europe there was a report of a local man being killed in Italy.
Although Gallipoli is thought of as mainly involving Australian and New Zealand troops many other nations took part. One local man described to the Southgate Recorder that the troops were truly international with English, Irish, Welsh, Scots, French, Jews, Indian and Senegalese as well as the Anzacs.
Wounded & missing
British Empire *
* excluding Anzacs
By 1915 the situation on the Western Front was a stalemate. Churchill hoped to break the stalemate by forcing Germany to fight on two fronts. By capturing Gallipoli on the western side of the Dardanelles the Allies hoped to remove Turkey from the war and possibly persuade some of the Balkan states to come in on the Allies side.
It was originally intended to be a naval operation. The attack began on the 19th February 1915. Bad weather caused it to be abandoned after three battleships were sunk and others damaged.
The delay allowed the Turks time to prepare defences and re-inforce the troops.
On 25th April troops started to land. The Australian and New Zealand Troops forced a bridgehead at Anzac Bay. The British tried to land at five points around Cape Helles but were only able to establish a foothold on three before having to call for re-enforcements. French troops landed at Kum Kale after launching a feint at Besika Bay.
After this very little progress was made. Anzac Bay was surrounded by steep cliffs which kept the Australian and New Zealand troops penned up on the beach at the mercy of Turkish shells and sharp shooters.
Conditions were appalling. In summer it was extremely hot and in the winter months freezing cold. There was an inadequate supply of fresh water. It was difficult to bury the bodies of the dead due to the rocky terrain and the constant shelling of the Turks. Hot weather and putrefying bodies produced swarms of flies. This and the lack of clean water contributed to the spread of diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, and enteric fever. Of 213,000 British casualties 145,000 were from disease.
The end came with the evacuation of the ANZAC bridgehead and Suvla Bay (10th-19th December 1915) and the evacuation of Cape Helles(10th December 1915 – 6th January 1916).
We don’t know exactly how many local men were at Gallipoli. We have the names of some of those who died there:
Private John Robert Akers, 2nd Royal Fusiliers
Albert Howard Andrews, 6th Lincoln Regiment
Frank Gilderoy Batters
Sergeant Garnett Arnold Baughan, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Private WP Bryant of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers from Edmonton
JM Findlay Dickson son of RS Dickson of Palmerston Road
Geoffrey Frangcon-Davies, Honourable Artillery Company
Sergeant Austen Campbell Dent
Lance Corporal AG Dring, 2nd Royal Fusiliers
Victor Gadd went down with the ‘Goliath off the Dardanelles
Private WH Hartridge
Private SV Loveday, 21st battalion Royal Fusiliers
Jack Maller, New Zealand Army
Corporal William Ernest Miller, son of Daniel & Emily Miller of 6 Allandale Road, Enfield Wash
Ernest Verrill Nunn
Sergeant WJ Piggott, 1st London Field Company
Corporal Gordon Robinson, RAMC son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Robinson of 160 Chase Side, Enfield
Sub Lieutenant Eric Vyvyan Rice son of Sir William Rice of Grasmere, Bowes Park (one of six brothers serving in the armed forces)
Herbert James Wigg
If you know the names and stories of any others who took part in the landings at Gallipoli we would love to hear from you.
There will be a commemorative event to mark 100 years since the start of the Gallipoli campaign in the War Memorial Garden at Broomfield Park, Aldermans Hill on 26th April from 15.00- 17.00