The Dunlop’s of Gallipoli
Andrew Dunlop, Bungarby, NSW Australia.
In August 1914, British Naval units based at the Mediterranean port of Gibraltar were instructed to hunt down and sink two cruisers of the Imperial German Navy. The SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau could threaten French transport ships ferrying French soldiers from her colonies in North Africa to Marseilles, France as part of the French mobilization plan. The German cruisers, on the run, managed to evade the Royal Navy and escape through the Dardanelles to Constantinople in Turkey. Turkey was still neutral and both the UK and Germany were vying for an alliance with Turkey due to her controlling the only ice-free sea passage to Russia.
Turkey had purchased 2 capital ships from the UK and these were still under construction when confiscated by the British Admiralty at the outbreak of war, enraging the Turks. Being gifted 2 warships, the Goeben and the Breslau by Germany, amongst other factors, convinced Turkey in November 1914, to align with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire rather than with the British, French and Russians (their perpetual enemy). French and British naval units attacked Turkey from the Mediterranean from late 1914 on culminating in the attempt to force The Narrows on March 18th 1915 which resulted in the loss of three obsolete French and British battleships due to mines. Opening a passage to Russia via the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, past Constantinople into the Black Sea would have to be a combined operation with significant land units involved.
Frustrated by the stalemate on the Western Front, in 1915 the Allies decided to open a new front against the Ottoman-Turkish Empire in the Dardanelles. It was thought that this would support the Russians which were under pressure and it might be easier to knock one of Germany’s Allies out of the war than to attack Germany head on.
The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) under General Sir Ian Hamilton was formed and in April 1915 began by landing a force on the Gallipoli Peninsular. The MEF landed in three places; the Australian and New Zealand Army (ANZAC) Corps' at Z Beach on the west coast near Gaba Tepe, the French at Kum Kale on the Asiatic side and the British at Cape Helles on the toe of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The objectives of the land forces was to take the heights, destroy the Turkish forts protecting the Dardanelles straights and facilitate the movement of heavy naval units into the Sea of Marmara to bring about the exit of Turkey from its alliance with Germany.
Before dawn on April 25th 1915, British, French and ANZAC troops landed commencing the land battles. By the end of the campaign in January 1916, almost half a million allied soldiers had served including troops from Great Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, British India and Newfoundland. Of these almost 58,000 were killed and a further 123,000 wounded and a similar number sick due to the unsanitary conditions on the battlefield and the shortage of fresh water.
There were nine Dunlop’s killed in the campaign and remembered in Cemeteries or on Memorials on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Another died of wounds and is buried in Mudros, Greece. Five of those killed served in British infantry units, three served in Australian infantry units and 2 served with New Zealand units. In 2018, I made my second pilgrimage to Gallipoli where I was able to locate all of the graves or sites where these distant relatives were remembered and the battlefields where they served and fell. Following my return to Australia, I researched each of them and was able to piece together a little of their lives and sacrifices to share. It was a truly moving experience to visit the battlefields, cemeteries and memorials where these men lay or are remembered. I elected to stay at the ANZAC Hotel Chanakale which is a small city on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles straits and hired a car with driver for the week of my pilgrimage. Chanakale was the Headquarters of General Liman Von Sanders, the German Military Advisor in command of the Turkish defence of Gallipoli.
Towards the end of the week, the driver explained to me that his grandfather had fought at Gallipoli and had been killed but they knew not where nor when, I explained to him the my grandfather, on my mother’s side, had landed on Gallipoli in April 1915 before being evacuated (twice), survived and returned to Australia in 1919. By the end of the week we were travelling the battlefields together and he was equally excited as I was at each discovery.
Contemporary photo below taken from the River Clyde, the barge filled with dead and wounded and survivors huddled under the embankment in front. A total of 218 Dunlop’s serving in British and Commonwealth Forces were killed in the Great War including one Dunlap and two that had Dunlop as one of their hyphenated family names. Of that total, nine were killed at Gallipoli and are remembered or buried there, one died of wounds and is buried in Mudros, Greece after being wounded at Suvla Bay Gallipoli and another died in 1921 at a stationary hospital in Turkey
Captain George Malcolm Dunlop was 26 when he landed at V Beach, Gallipoli April 25th 1915. He came from Saint Helen’s, Holywood, County Down, Ireland not far from where the SMS Titanic had been built. His father, Archibald Dunlop was a doctor, his mother was Bessie. As a Captain, he would have led a company of four platoons, around 200 men. He was killed on the day of the landing and buried at Helles Beach, Gallipoli, Turkey.
The British landed at beaches on the toe of the Gallipoli Peninsula in the early hours of April 25th 1915. General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston split his 29th Division at Helles over 5 beaches denominated S, V, W, X and Y. V Beach was on the s southeast of the tip of the peninsula and the right of the beach was under the ancient fort Sedd El Bahir which allowed Turks with machine guns to enfilade the beach and approaches. The left of the beach was equally treacherous being covered from the heights of hill 138 and the nearby redoubt. One could not imagine a more easily defended position. Troops were to be landed in small boats on the left side of the beach and the SS River Clyde was to be driven aground on a small shoal immediately in front of the Sed El Bahr fort.
The 1st Battalion (Bn.) Royal Dublin Fusiliers (less 1 Company) landed by boat on V Beach but were badly cut up by machine gun fire from well-placed positions overlooking the beach. Worse was to come for the rest of those ordered to land here from the Trojan Horse steamer SS River Clyde. The River Clyde had been modified with rampways leading from exits in the hull down to where barges were to be placed in position, the theory being a large number of troops could be disgorged and landed in a short space of time. The first Bn. Royal Munster Fusiliers, 2 Companies (Co.) of the second Bn. Hampshire Regiment plus 1 Co Royal Dublin Fusiliers were to land from the River Clyde but repeated attempts were thwarted by well-placed Turkish machine guns.
It is not known whether Captain George Malcolm Dunlop had landed from boats on the left of the beach or if he had been with the 1 Company of Royal Dublin Fusiliers that had attempted to land from the SS River Clyde. He could be amongst the dead and wounded on the barge in front of the River Clyde, or as a survivor under the embankment in front, or on the beach.
V Beach from SS River Clyde shoal, V Beach Cemetery in the centre, the Helles Memorial on the skyline with the Redoubt strong point to the right of the memorial. Photo; Andrew Dunlop.
V Beach Cemetery Cross of Remembrance.
Dedicated to the Memories of
Captain George Malcolm Dunlop, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Killed Gallipoli 25th April 1915;
Private George Alfred Dunlop, 10th Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force, Killed Gallipoli 2nd May 1915;
Private John Edgar Dunlop, 16th Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force, Killed Gallipoli 2nd May 1915;
Private Norman James Dunlop, 2nd Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force, Killed Gallipoli 2nd May 1915;
Trooper Cyril Charles Dunlop, Wellington Mounted Rifles, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Killed Gallipoli 30th May 1915,
Lance Corporal Thomas Dunlop, 1st/5th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Killed Gallipoli 12th July 1915,
Private David G Dunlop, 5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, Killed Gallipoli 16th August 1915;
Private Gordon Dunlop,Otago Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Killed Gallipoli 21st August 1915;
Sergeant John Dunlop, 8th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, Killed Gallipoli 7th September 1915;
Walter Dunlop, Royal Field Artillery, Served Gallipoli at Suvla, Died of Wounds 17th August 1915,
Staff Sergeant Kay Dunlop, 31st Stationary Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps, Died 7th June 1921, Istanbul, Turkey
Where the ground is hallowed by their blood,
and their actions upon it!
To You, the Red-Eagle Veterans,