Field Marshal Kitchener inspecting Anzac Cove from Russell's Top, accompanied by General William Birdwood, November 13th 1915 (Image: © IWM Q 13596)

100 years Ago: UK War Minister backs Gallipoli pull-out & Churchill resigns

Posted on on 19 November 2015
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Britain's War Minister, Lord Kitchener, visited Gallipoli in November 1915 amid fading support for the Dardanelles campaign.

Sir Charles Monro, the General sent to replace Sir Ian Hamilton as Allied commander in October, recommended a pull-out after six months of deadlock. 

Kitchener shifted towards backing calls for withdrawal after touring front line positions.

His visit coincided with Winston Churchill's resignation from the British Government. 

Churchill, a supporter of striking at Turkey through the Dardanelles, had already been demoted from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty, the minister in charge of the Royal Navy. 

Blamed for the early failures at Gallipoli, he was moved to a lesser role in May 1915 when Prime Minister Herbert Asquith formed a coalition with the opposition Conservatives.

Churchill finally quit in the autumn, after he was dropped from a committee overseeing the campaign, and went to serve in Flanders with the British Army.

In December, ministers agreed to the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was completed in January 1916.

Lord Kitchener, who joined the Government at the start of the First World War, died in June 1916 when the navy cruiser taking him on a visit to Russia struck a mine off Orkney.

Winston Churchill returned to office as Munitions Minister in July 1917.

Sources: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of Imperial War Museums (© IWM Q 13596)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News