GALLIPOLI 100: Honouring Buxton’s fallen heroes

Wayne Taylor lays a wreath on behalf of the Buxton branch of the Royal British Legion and local residents.
Wayne Taylor lays a wreath on behalf of the Buxton branch of the Royal British Legion and local residents.
  • Buxton resident pays tribute to those who lost their lives at Gallipoli
  • Today, April 25, marks 100 years since the start of the ill-fated campaign
  • Around 141,000 soldiers lost their lives, in what was one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War One

On April 25 1915, troops from Britain and France landed on the Gallipoli peninsula on the Turkish coast.

There, alongside soldiers from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC), they fought Ottoman forces in a bid to secure the sea route to the then Russian Empire.

Ataturks message.

Ataturks message.

The campaign was not successful for the Allied forces and led to the death of tens of thousands of men.

But despite this, it is perhaps one of the lesser remembered battles which took place during the First World War.

Buxton resident Wayne Taylor, himself a former military man, is keen to ensure the sacrifice of the British troops who lost their lives at Gallipoli are not forgotten.

Indeed the battle is so poignant to Wayne that he has visited Turkey to pay his respects to the town’s fallen heroes.

Gallipoli seems to be the forgotten war. Everyone remembers things like France but 800,000 people in total including Turks died at Gallipoli over eight or nine months.

Wayne Taylor

He said: “Gallipoli seems to be the forgotten war.

“Everyone remembers things like France but 800,000 people in total including Turks died at Gallipoli over eight or nine months.

“Turkey is lovely and Gallipoli is a lovely place but nobody ever goes.”

A member of the Buxton branch of the Royal British Legion, Wayne wanted to make sure he left a lasting impression of his trip there.

The Sedd el Bahr Fort.

The Sedd el Bahr Fort.

“I took a wreath to lay on behalf of the Buxton people for the men from our town who never came home,” he said.

And describing being at the site of such bloody battles, he said: “It was eerie because we were the only ones there.

“When we went to Suvla there was only one person on the beach. At Helles, where six Victoria Crosses were won, we were the only ones there.

“You can see the remnants of the barges so you know you’re in the right place but it’s quite surreal because it’s so beautiful and peaceful.

A cross Wayne placed in memory of Buxton man Ernest Garside, who died at Gallipoli on August 7 1915.

A cross Wayne placed in memory of Buxton man Ernest Garside, who died at Gallipoli on August 7 1915.

“If you didn’t know what had happened there, you’d just think it was a lovely beach.

“In the field that (Buxton man) Ernest Garside walked over there are still a lot of human bones. We even found bits of metal shrapnel and a bullet. It’s just surreal.”

He added: “In the height of summer, the stench would have been outrageous with thousands of bodies just lying there decomposing. And there were so many flies. People said it was like a sea of black and as soon as someone moved there would be like a black cloud which moved and then it would settle down again.

“That is what’s fascinating about it. We just wouldn’t put up with it now. We’d just down tools and walk off. It was inhumane living conditions and inhumane dying conditions.”

The sacrifices of the men who died at Gallipoli are marked each year in Australia and New Zealand, where ANZAC Day is celebrated on April 25.

But the UK has no such commemoration, though a service is taking place at the Cenotaph in London on Saturday to mark the centenary of the landings.

The remnants of one a boat can still be seen on one of the beaches today.

The remnants of one a boat can still be seen on one of the beaches today.

And as to why he feels Gallipoli isn’t remembered in the UK to the same extent as other battles during the war, Wayne said: “It was a defeat. It was the making of Australia and they have ANZAC Day but they only lost half of the people that Britain did and the British don’t remember.”

Eventually, in January 1916, the Allies retreated from Gallipoli - perhaps one of the most successful operations of the whole campaign with only a handful of casualties.

Buxton man Ernest Garside's final resting place.

Buxton man Ernest Garside's final resting place.