4

Plugge’s Plateau

Plugge’s Plateau https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/plugges-plateau The newly landed soldiers hiked across unfamiliar land – never sure what they’d find. Ngā Tapuwae Trails https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/sites/default/files/stop/media/01%20anazc%20cove%402x.jpg

The newly landed soldiers hiked across unfamiliar land – never sure what they’d find.

GALL_Zone1_Loc_PluggesPlateau_48k24b.mp3
Read this story

Plugge’s Plateau

You are on the inland side of Plugge’s Plateau. New Zealand troops passed through here on the 25th of April 1915 on their way up to a hill called Baby 700, which is as far as they got on the day they landed. 

The distinctive clay point to your left is called the Sphinx and you can see why they named it that. It looks a bit like the famous sphinx in Egypt, where Anzac troops trained before they landed at Gallipoli

Beyond the Sphinx, if you look to the right along the ridgeline, you’ll see a pyramid-shaped Turkish memorial which marks the forward slope of Baby 700, which became the Turkish frontline for the Gallipoli campaign. 

If you look further along that ridge to the right, you’ll see a white stone marker in that copse of trees. This is the area of Quinn’s Post and if you continue further along the ridge you’ll see a flagpole with another stone memorial to its immediate right. That is the area of Courtney’s Post where Anzac troops spent months in trenches only a few metres away from the enemy.

Follow this round up onto the next small rise, and that’s the area of Steele’s Post.

If you then come round to those pine trees on the high ground, you can see an Anzac memorial. That is Lone Pine, held by the Australians, and where an epic battle took place in early August.

That entire ridge where all these posts are located, is known as Second Ridge. On the 25th of April 1915, by the time the New Zealanders arrived, the Australians were fighting all along this ridge, desperately holding back successive Ottoman counter-attacks. Most of the Australians had been drawn into fighting at Lone Pine. 

The New Zealanders tried to climb Walker’s Ridge, the spur that you can see beyond the Sphinx, to get to the higher ground from the beach. However, it was too steep so they were sent back in, up over Plugge’s Plateau, right here through this bush where we stand.

Imagine walking through this bush in single file thinking you’re going to go straight up to the ridge and suddenly – “oops” – you reach this spot and see the Razor Edge in front of you and it is far too steep to cross. 

Lieutenant Spencer Westmacott of the Auckland Infantry Battalion, the young platoon commander who was leading, had two choices. He either had to go left, which would’ve taken him back to where he started, or go right. 

Westmacott went right. He headed off down the path, winding along the cliff down into the valley junction that you can see to your right. He then headed up towards Baby 700. He knew that somewhere up there was the left of the Australian front line. By then, Westmacott was at the forefront of the Auckland Battalion. He picked up some Australians, and some of the Canterbury Battalion. His platoon was a hodge-podge of everyone who had come ashore and they were now trying to find out where they were and make their way up the valley to reinforce the Australian front line.

As they moved inland up the valley, they heard rifle firing and people yelling out ‘Stretcher-bearer!’ ‘Ammunition!’ ‘Reinforcements!’

Some of the stretcher-bearers and men who were carrying ammunition went and helped, so Westmacott’s men were drawn away up onto the high ground on the right.  

Westmacott finally got to Baby 700. He and his men were the first New Zealanders in action on the 25th of April and they were reinforced by other New Zealanders later that day. 

The memorial at Baby 700 marks the 57th Turkish Regiment cemetery. This is where the Turkish officer Mustafa Kemal, later known as Ataturk, attacked to drive the Anzacs back into the sea. Late in the afternoon of the 25th of April, the Turks pushed the New Zealanders back off the high ground and down the spur around the Sphinx, known as Russell’s Top. The Anzacs were also driven back into Quinn’s Post, Courtney’s Post, and Steele’s Post – those little gullies off the side of Second Ridge. Meanwhile the Australians hung on to Lone Pine and Second Ridge became the Anzac front line for the next nine months.

How to get here

Getting there

WARNING: Many locations at Gallipoli are potentially dangerous, and there are undercut cliffs and sudden drops. Go slowly and carefully - and never stand close to a cliff's edge.

From Beach Cemetery return to the paved coastal road, turn left and travel 100 metres to the dirt track on the right signposted for Shrapnel Valley Cemetery. Walk along the dirt track until you come to the entrance to Shrapnel Valley Cemetery.

To the left of the entrance to Shrapnel Valley Cemetery there is a path marked for Plugge's Plateau Cemetery. Follow the steep path upwards to Plugge's Plateau Cemetery and then follow the path that runs to the left of the cemetery for about 40 metres. This brings you to a clearing on the eastern edge of the plateau.

Where to stand

Stand facing inland so that the Sphinx is to your left.

GPS
40°14'16"N
26°16'55"E
Decimal GPS
40.2379
26.282
  • Australian troops advancing across Plugge’s Plateau, 25 April 1915.
    Australian troops advancing across Plugge’s Plateau, 25 April 1915. Credits

    Australian War Memorial G00907 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/G00907

  • View of the New Zealand sector from near the top of Plugge’s Plateau.
    View of the New Zealand sector from near the top of Plugge’s Plateau.Credits

    National Army Museum, NZ 2006.88 http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/9332

  • The rock formation known as`The Sphinx' is still visible today. This image shows dug-outs carved into the hillside.
    The rock formation known as`The Sphinx' is still visible today. This image shows dug-outs carved into the hillside.Credits

    The Sphinx and dug-outs of the 4th Infantry Brigade in Rest Gully, Gallipoli, Turkey during World War I. Ref: 1/2-055299-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23095282

  • Panorama of Plugge’s plateau
    Panorama of Plugge’s plateauCredits

    Australian War Memorial P02463.005 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P02463.005/

  • View from Monash Valley up to Quinn's and Courtney’s Posts:
    View from Monash Valley up to Quinn's and Courtney’s Posts: Credits

    National Army Museum, NZ 1992.742 http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/4290 

Stories & Insights

Wallingford was a rarity – a man in his element wherever bloody battle raged.

The New Zealand Field Ambulance Commander worked tirelessly as the wounded and dying poured in.

A sniper team - one soldier holds a rifle and the other a periscope

The terrain was rough, and the Ottoman soldiers frighteningly close.

Otago troops marching with Union Jacks flying in the crowd

Young – and hungry for travel and adventure – they had no idea what lay ahead.

New Zealand and Australian soldiers landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April, 1915

At Gallipoli, rivalry between New Zealanders and Australians turned to respect.

Engineers pump water ashore from a water barge. Ari Burnu is visible in the background.

Try as they might, the Anzacs could never source enough water.

Within days of landing, Bayne was dead.  His diaries reveal his last tough days.

Take the next trail

The next Ngā Tapuwae trail is Holding the Line. Proceed to Lone Pine.
Link to the first stop

Decimal GPS:
64.64624688065952
-83.47657796875001
Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS:
64.18951313588443
-60.05313640625002
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS:
62.64955646958989
-53.13280968749996
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS:
68.41482226488074
-66.13956218750002
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS:
68.4467764645027
-68.95206218750002
Sequence:
5

Stop Images

Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.23923
26.27684
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.2347
26.27743
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.23301
26.27637
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.2379
26.282
Sequence:
5
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.23816
26.28206