Newspapers across the nation report that Prime Minister Andrew Fisher yesterday made the following announcement to the House of Representatives. Remarks in Federal Parliament
Some days ago the Australian War Expeditionary Forces were transferred from Egypt to the Dardanelles. They have since landed, and have been in action on the Gallipoli Peninsula. News reaches us that the action is proceeding satisfactorily.
The Leader reprints an article from a Turkish newspaper claiming to have captured Australian troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula. War News
The Australian submarine, AE2, is sunk by a Turkish gunboat in the Sea of Marmara. The first allied warship to penetrate the Dardanelles, AE2 manages to disrupt Turkish shipping for five days, before exhausting her supply of torpedos. She is attacked by the Sultan Hissar, her crew captured and the submarine scuttled. AE2’s crew survive the attack, but four men would later die in Turkish prison camps.
The Leader reports that the Assistant Minister for Defence, Mr Jensen, confirms that members of the Australian Expeditionary Forces are now in the Dardanelles. Australian at The Straits
The Admiralty in London declare the troops in Gallipoli to be “making good their footing” on the peninsula, with 600 prisoners captured. Allies’ Troops Get Solid Footing
Map of the Helles war zone of Gallipoli, 1915. Image courtesy Rcbutcher, Wikimedia Commons.
The First Battle of Krithia begins as Allied forces attempt to break through Turkish defenses to take the village of Krithia, 24km south of Anzac Cove. Commander-in-Chief Sir Ian Hamilton plans to consolidate the Allied attack and link up with the remaining force at Anzac Cove. The advance is repelled with heavy loss of life; 3,000 of the 14,000 strong force are killed.
The International Congress of Women opens at The Hague. More than 1,200 delegates from 12 countries convene with two objectives: to discuss a peaceful outcome to WWI and to draft a new international legal system to prevent future wars.
Italy signs the Treaty of London, effectively joining the war on the Allied side. In 1914, Italy had been a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary.
The German armed merchant cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm is interned at Portsmouth, Virginia. The vessel had docked several weeks earlier, having run out of fuel and food supplies. The vessel would be seized by the United States on 6 April 1917.
Members of No. 2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers, land on the beach at Gallipoli, 6.30am 25 April 1915, Cyril Oscar Lawrence. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force consisting of 70,000 Australian, New Zealand, French and British soldiers invade the Gallipoli peninsula. Australians and New Zealanders account for 15,000 of the 70,000 troops. The peninsula is heavily defended by well-armed German-trained Turkish troops; a stalemate develops as the Allies fail to gain ground and the Turks attempt to drive out the Allies. The situation evolves into an eight and a half month long stalemate.
Total Australian casualties at the end of the Gallipoli campaign are: 7,823 killed, 19,441 wounded, 569 dead from disease and 31 dead due to accidents. It is estimated that about 70 men from Orange served at Gallipoli; 29 of them failed to return.
25th April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916.
In an attempt to deflect attention from the Allied invasion, Lieutenant-Commander of the Australian Navy submarine AE2, Henry Stoker, receives orders to penetrate the Dardanelles, sink any mine-dropping vessels encountered and ‘run amok generally’. The AE2 becomes the first Allied warship to successfully penetrate The Narrows and enter the Sea of Marmara. En route she torpedoes and sinks a Turkish gunboat.
Herbert Maurice Robertshaw at Broadmeadows army camp, Victoria, October 1914. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Herbert Maurice Robertshaw was born in Orange in 1887, the second son and fifth child of Henry Robertshaw and his wife Jeanie. By the turn of the century the family had relocated to Melbourne, where Herbert attended Moreland Primary School. In 1901 the Education Department awarded Herbert a scholarship to attend Brunswick College, and it was there, in 1906, that he passed his matriculation examination. In 1908 he completed his second year of a Bachelor of Arts degree and was awarded honours in Mental and Moral Philosophy.
The terms of Herbert’s scholarship stipulated that he proceed to the Ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria; by January 1914 he was the Reverend at Northcote Presbyterian Church.
Reverend Robertshaw was one of the first men born in Orange to enlist in WWI, doing so in Melbourne on 17 August 1914, just a week after voluntary recruitment commenced.
Herbert was given the rank of Corporal and assigned to the 6th Infantry Battalion. He embarked from Melbourne in October 1914 and joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Alexandria in early April 1915.
Corporal Robertshaw was part of the second wave to land at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. According to a fellow soldier Robertshaw hit the sands at Anzac Cove and advanced about two miles inland before becoming separated from his comrades. He was initially reported as missing in action however the proceedings of a Court of Enquiry held at Erquinghem in France on 24 April 1916 pronounced him to have been killed in action on 25 April 1915.
Two men from Orange lost their lives that fateful day: Robertshaw and Eric Martin Solling. Charles Herbert Cane was killed in action just two days later on 27 April. These three men were the first people from Orange to die in WWI.
Herbert Maurice Robertshaw is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey with others who have no known grave.
The grand parade of Australian troops pass the Mitchell Library and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, 24 April 1915, Samuel J Hood Studio. Image courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum.
Over 5,000 troops participate in a military parade in Sydney, witnessed by over 200,000 spectators; clearly unaware of the events that would unfold at Gallipoli the following day. The march was a highly successful recruitment drive; on the Monday after the march so many volunteers presented themselves at Victoria Barracks that officials were unable to cope, and many potential recruits were turned away.
The Leader reports that 63 Allied steamers carrying troops have left Alexandria for an unknown destination
Beginning of the Armenian genocide. Anticipating an Allied invasion, the Ottoman government attempts to secure the Empire by quelling any potential internal uprisings. 250 intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople are rounded up and deported. More than 1.5 million Armenian people would ultimately be killed. This date is now commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day or “Red Sunday” in Armenia.
Australian Navy submarine AE2. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Lieutenant-Commander Henry Stoker is ordered to navigate the Australian Navy submarine AE2 safely through the Dardanelles Strait to the Narrows at Chanak. The submarine runs aground on Sangrada Point at the entrance to the Dardanelles. Commander Stoker successfully frees the submarine and returns to Mudros for repairs.
The poet Rupert Brooke, dies of blood poisoning on a hospital ship anchored off the Greek coast while awaiting deployment in the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Brooke’s early war poetry expressed an idealism that would be at odds with poetry published later in the conflict. First Lord of the British Admiralty, Winston Churchill, penned Brooke’s obituary, published three days later in The Times.
The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Imperial Germany Embassy advertisement, Des Moines Register, 22 April 1915.
The Imperial German Embassy in Washington publishes the above advertisement in the Ocean Travel section of the Des Moines Register, warning travellers that they sail on British and allied ships in the war zone at their own risk
The Leader publishes excerpts of letters from Captain Edmund Osborn Milne to his father, the Superintendent of Railways in Orange. Captain Milne says that soldiers are being shipped out to an unknown destination, which he assumes to be Constantinople. Sidelights on a Soldier’s Life in Egypt
The Second Battle of Ypres commences as German soldiers launch a major assault on French, British and Canadian troops in northern Belgium. The German Fourth Army releases a green cloud of poisonous chlorine gas. Lacking any protection, the Allies quickly retreat. The German infantry advance behind the cloud is rapid, the Allied Front Line is broken and the way to Ypres is secured by the end of the day. Fighting continues until 25 May.