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When Turkey joined the war on Germany's side during WW1, it became one of the central powers and caused a severe blow to the Allies. When the Turkish Navy closed the Dardanelles, the narrow straits linking the Mediterranean with the Black Sea, it had the effect of cutting off the supply chain of food and arms to Russia just at the time when it was needed most.


To help the Russian allies, the British planned a bold invasion of Turkey. British and French ships began the attack on Gallipoli in February 1915. The Turks had put mines in the water, and although the Allied mine sweepers cleared most of the mines, three Allied battleships were blown up when they sailed into the Dardanelles, the British ships HMS Irresistible and The Ocean and the French ship Bouvet. The rest of the allied fleet rapidly retreated.


Although Winston Churchill claimed that the whole operation could be carried out by the Navy, the Allies now decided to send an army to Gallipoli. A force of British and Anzac troops was gathered together and put under the control of Sir Ian Hamilton.


The diary you are about to read, written by our grandad Mr A W Stone, contains facts about that extraordinary time when ship crews were the unsung heroes of the campaign. These 'unknown heroes' crewed the many transport ships, which were the only way to carry troops, horses, ammunition and general stores to the soldiers fighting this horrific campaign.


Not only were they carrying the necessary stores needed to fight this battle, but they were also tasked with carrying the wounded and dying back to Alexandria in Egypt, in seas which brought their own hazards. These sailors were facing danger every day from the enemy warships, mines and the more deadly submarines of the German and Turkish Navies.

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