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Twelve Tree Copse

Twelve Tree Copse https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/twelve-tree-copse Anzac troops were deployed here to fight alongside their allies at Krithia. Bones of the dead are still scattered through these fields. Ngā Tapuwae Trails https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/sites/default/files/stop/media/04%20cape%20helles%402x.jpg

Anzac troops were deployed here to fight alongside their allies at Krithia. Bones of the dead are still scattered through these fields.

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Twelve Tree Copse

You’re at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery. At the back of the cemetery is the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing, which commemorates those whose bodies were never found or identified in the battle at Krithia on the 8th of May 1915. You are standing just north of where the New Zealand Infantry Brigade attacked. 

If you look towards the village you can see the minaret of the mosque that was the New Zealand goal. The Turkish frontline was perhaps 300 to 400 metres from where you are standing and stretched across the front of this village. 

An Australian and a New Zealand Infantry Brigade were brought down from Anzac. The New Zealand attack took place on the 8th of May at 10.30 in the morning. After a 15-minute artillery bombardment, three New Zealand Battalions with one in reserve attacked either side of where you are standing. They went through these open fields, which the soldiers referred to as the Daisy Patch because of the wild daisies and poppies that grew in profusion. 

The New Zealanders started their attack well behind the British frontline and many men were killed before they even got to the front trenches. As they approached the area where you stand they came under intense fire. The Wellington Infantry Battalion, which was to the left of you advanced the furthest. They got about 300 metres beyond the frontline. 

Because of the intense fire everyone took cover. The living lay among the dead. They dared not move because Ottoman snipers shot at any sign of life. Many men spent all day in the hot sun absolutely still, listening to the moans of their mates nearby, yet they were unable to do anything to help. 

Men went to ground and if they had their entrenching tool, they put the shovel part over their head to give them some protection. 

General Hamilton ordered another attack at 5.30 p.m. and so the Otago Battalion, which had been in reserve, came up and linked up with the Canterbury, Auckland and Wellington Infantry Battalions. After 15 minutes of artillery bombardment, the New Zealanders attacked again. This time the Australians on your right also attacked and both brigades were cut to pieces. 

On the 8th of May 1915, New Zealand had over 800 casualties. This attack marked the end of any further offensive action on the part of the New Zealanders at Krithia. They dug in and remained here manning the trenches. 

They then went into reserve and worked as a labour force at the beaches. Finally they were taken back to Anzac Cove in late May, where they reinforced the defences and played their part in the August offensive.

Some of the New Zealand dead are buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, but most are missing, with no known graves. They are commemorated on the wall of this memorial. In fact, of the 2,779 New Zealand dead from the Gallipoli campaign, there are only 341 graves. Some are buried at sea but most are missing. 

There are still bones scattered through the fields where this New Zealand attack took place. Though they could be Turkish or British, they could also be the bones of New Zealand soldiers.

How to get here

Getting there

From W Beach return to the paved road and turn left, continuing to travel west away from the village behind you.

After the road passes Lancashire Landing Cemetery it curves to the north, running parallel with the Aegean coast, passing Pink Farm Cemetery on the right after some 3 kms.

Another 2.5km drive brings you to Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery on the left of the road.

Where to stand

Stand just inside the gate of the cemetery.

GPS
40°5'16"N
26°12'53"E
Decimal GPS
40.08778
26.2149
  • The scene after an attack by the 2nd Infantry Brigade. Several bodies are lying on the ground and a rifle is in the left foreground.
    The scene after an attack by the 2nd Infantry Brigade. Several bodies are lying on the ground and a rifle is in the left foreground.Credits

    Australian War Memorial C01079 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C01079/ 

  • A trench at Helles. Krithia is seen on the left. The New Zealanders occupied the heights beyond, 9 May 1915
    A trench at Helles. Krithia is seen on the left. The New Zealanders occupied the heights beyond, 9 May 1915Credits

    Australian War Memorial G00966 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/G00966/

  • A group of soldiers in the trenches at Gallipoli, playing cards and relaxing
    A group of soldiers in the trenches at Gallipoli, playing cards and relaxingCredits

    Soldiers playing cards in the trenches at Gallipoli, Turkey. Gresson, Kenneth MacFarlane, 1891-1974 :Photographs of the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I, and photographs of ships in a bay. Ref: PAColl-3604-13. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23224173

  • View looking towards Krithia from the front line in May 1915
    View looking towards Krithia from the front line in May 1915Credits

    © IWM Q 44327 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205278683

  • Troops from Australian and New Zealand infantry brigades about to embark at W Beach to return to ANZAC Cove.
    Troops from Australian and New Zealand infantry brigades about to embark at W Beach to return to ANZAC Cove.Credits

    Australian War Memorial H16478 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H16478/

Stories & Insights

The night before April 25, Freyberg made an epic swim around the coast – lighting flares to distract the Ottomans.

Soldiers graves, Shrapnel Gully

Public anguish and uncertainty grew in New Zealand, as official lists of Gallipoli casualties slowly appeared in newspapers.

British soldiers at Anzac Cove marching along North Beach.

While trans-Tasman relationships warmed at Gallipoli, new tensions emerged between the New Zealanders and the British.

The Bouvet was one of three Allied battleships sunk by mines during the naval attack on the 18th of March 1915

The Gallipoli campaign's land operations are well known, but Allied warships and submarines also played key roles.

Gasparich fought with the Auckland Battalion alongside the British at Krithia – coping with sparse and confusing orders.

Wounded being brought along side an unidentified hospital ship off Gallipoli. A good view of the barges and the lighter towing them. There look to be a number of walking sick and wounded as well as stretcher cases

Gallipoli was - in the end - just a very small part of the First World War story.

Leadley was a qualified telegraphist, so was given a signaller’s role when he enlisted.

Take the next trail

The next Ngā Tapuwae trail is The Defence. Proceed to Hill 60.
Link to the first stop

Decimal GPS:
40.14096
26.37536
Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS:
40.09741254106555
26.25176380859375
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS:
40.04212
26.18528
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS:
40.05153
26.16718
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS:
40.08778
26.2149
Sequence:
5

Stop Images

Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.14096
26.37536
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.09699
26.25241
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.04212
26.18528
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.05153
26.16718
Sequence:
5
Decimal GPS Real Location:
40.08778
26.2149