General Hamilton (right) with Admiral John de Robeck on board HMS Triad on the afternoon of his departure for England (© IWM Q 13547)

100 Years Ago: Gallipoli commander Sir Ian Hamilton ordered home

Posted on on 16 October 2015
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General Sir Ian Hamilton, British commander-in-chief at Gallipoli, was recalled on October 16th 1915 amid arguments about the future of the campaign.

The invasion of the Turkish peninsula, conceived by Britain and France as a way of regaining advantage over the Central Powers, had itself become a stalemate.

Hamilton resisted calls for an evacuation, despite the failure of new offensives in August to achieve a breakthrough, and growing pressure on the Allies as winter approached.

Britain's War Minister, Lord Kitchener, had put Sir Ian Hamilton in charge of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force after it was decided that ground troops were needed to take control of Gallipoli.

But six months after the landings in April 1915, Allied forces remained largely confined to the beachheads where they'd come ashore.

Turkish troops still commanded the heights above the Dardanelles Strait and access to the Ottoman capital Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).


Demands grew on the Allies in the autumn, with the redeployment of troops to Salonika to support Serbia, Bulgaria's entry into the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, and more offensives on the Western Front.

Against the background of political and military differences over fighting on at Gallipoli, and the emergence of criticism in the press, General Sir Ian Hamilton was dismissed.

His successor, General Sir Charles Monro, recommended withdrawal, a call endorsed by Lord Kitchener after his visit to Gallipoli in November 1915.

The pull-out started in December, involving troops from Australia, Britain, France, India, Ireland, Newfoundland and New Zealand.

It was completed in just a few weeks with none of the feared major losses.

Sources: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of Imperial War Museums (© IWM Q 13547)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff