A hillside at Gallipoli with dozens of dugouts, many covered with canvas. The hillside has been terraced to create level ground (Photo: courtesy of Wairarapa Archive 14-50/4; WW100 New Zealand)

100 Years Ago Today: Gallipoli truce to bury the dead

Posted on centenarynews.com on 24 May 2015
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A brief truce took place in the fighting between Anzac forces and Turkish troops at Gallipoli on May 24th 1915.

Much less well known than the Christmas truce on the Western Front, this ceasefire was motivated by an urgent need to bury the dead from an Ottoman assault on the Australian and New Zealand defences.

Several thousand Turkish soldiers were killed in the attempt to recapture the Anzac Cove beachhead, their bodies left lying in the narrow 'no-man's land' between the opposing trenches.

Much of the fighting on the perimeter took place at close quarters, with the front lines just metres apart in places.

Faced with warnings of disease, there was a tentative halt in the violence on May 20th followed by a more formal ceasefire four days later to allow both sides to bury their dead and recover the wounded.

The agreement was reached at talks between the Allied and Turkish commanders on the ground, the negotiations taking place with envoys who were led blindfolded through the lines.

Burial parties moved onto the battlefield after the start of the truce at 7.30am on May 24th, working alongside each other to complete their task before the shooting resumed nine hours later.

Sources: Wikipedia; New Zealand History; various 

Images courtesy of Wairarapa Archive (14-50/4) WW100 New Zealand

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News