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Remembered Today:

'KRITHIA - Gallipoli' by Stephen Chambers


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Stephen Chambers is well known on the GWF, and appropriately, hereabouts he goes by the pseudo-name 'Krithia.'

It has been my great pleasure to walk this battlefield on many occasions in the company of Steve and another enthusiastic researcher, Mike Crane. The latter has asked me to post here his review of Steve's latest book in the Battleground Gallipoli series of Pen & Sword and it gives me great pleasure to do so.


Krithia - Gallipoli

Battleground - Gallipoli

Author: Stephen Chambers

Soft cover: 239 pages

Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (2021)

ISBN: 978-1-47387-547-0

RRP: £14.99 (US $29.95)


Krithia - Gallipoli is the sixth and final volume in the author’s Battleground Gallipoli series and for me one of the best and most useful, covering as it does the main theatre of operations for the campaign.

The book follows the authors established approach; combining official historical sources and maps, with fascinating personal accounts, both brilliantly illustrated with many rarely seen photographs. Divided into two parts, the first part provides a clear and concise account of the campaign at Helles, brought to life by numerous eye witness accounts. The second part, includes six detailed tours of the Helles area and is packed with practical information for the traveller and battlefield visitor.

The first and larger part of the book covers all the major battles and actions fought at Helles from the landing to the evacuation. Clarity and directness are brought to these oft told events by the use of diverse personal accounts from both the higher and lower ranks. The author’s description of the Action of Gully Ravine in particular, is one of the most detailed and moving I have read. As the title suggests the main focus of the book is the British campaign at Helles, and in this the author skilfully weaves together the naval and military realities against an invariably adverse political backdrop. The French involvement is also covered in detail with all the major French actions being described, and these are brought to life by personal accounts from French soldiers of all ranks. Equal attention is given to the opposing forces with numerous Turkish and German poignant vignettes, throwing light on the ‘enemy’ perspective both at the higher command and personal levels. The dispositions of the Turkish units facing the British and French troops during the major engagements are provided adding context to the huge task that faced the Allied force at Helles, and give substance to an often anonymous, albeit highly regarded enemy.

However, only by walking the actual ground can an action or battle to be fully understood, and this is the aim and substance of the second part of the book. Comprising of six walks or tours, which vary from two hours to half a day in length, they cover many of the most noteworthy locations associated with the campaign together with those lesser-known, harder to find parts.

Tour 1; Behind the Turkish lines, guides the reader around some of the more important monuments and locations set in the Turkish rear areas. Tour 2; The Helles Landings, covers ‘S’, ‘V’, ‘W’ and ‘X’ Beaches and takes in most of the more significant sights and locations in between. Tour 3; Gully Ravine, takes in Gully Beach, the lower part of Gully Ravine and Pink Farm. Tour 4; Krithia Nullah, explores this much fought over central section of the British line. Tour 5; The Royal Naval Division’s Sector: Kanli Dere, deals with the far right of the British line, so crucial to the outcome of all three battles of Krithia and to the action of Achi Baba Nullah. Tour 6; The French Sector: Kereves Spur, guides us around the key locations and gives fascinating insights into the challenges faced by the French who held what was arguably the most demanding sector at Helles.

All the tours are peppered with additional insights and make frequent reference back to the main text, providing valuable context for each walk. And throughout both sections of the book the author provides a thought-provoking commentary posing questions as to the state of mind of certain individuals or to potential outcomes of events, had alternative actions been taken.

I took the authors excellent Gully Ravine walking guide on my first visit to the peninsula in 2012 and it proved an invaluable ‘companion’ guiding me around some of the wilder and more inaccessible parts of the zone. At the time I remember thinking there was a need for a similar guide to cover the rest of the Helles area. Krithia-Gallipoli meets that need. For the independent visitor and armchair traveller alike, it will supplement the author’s earlier book Walking Gallipoli and provide a fitting companion to Gully Ravine for explorers of the peninsula.

In short, Krithia-Gallipoli is the Gully Ravine for the whole of the southern zone and if I could only take one book to that part of the peninsula - this would be it.

Mike Crane


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