The Lone Pine operation was planned as a diversion to draw Turkish resources away from a major Allied attack at the northern end of the Australian and New Zealand position on the Gallipoli peninsula. The “August Offensive” – as it was known – was an attempt by the Allies to break the three-month long stalemate that had developed since their invasion of the Turkish peninsula on 25 April 1915.
The Battle occurred in an area of Plateau 400 known as Lone Pine. The plateau had been dominated by the Pinus halepensis tree, commonly known as the Aleppo Pine. The Turks had cut down all but one of these pines and used them to cover their trenches.
The operation was launched late in the afternoon of 6 August 1915. Units of the 1st Infantry Brigade took the main Turkish trench within 20 minutes of the initial charge, but the Turks were quick to respond, launching a series of fierce counter attacks. Intense hand to hand fighting lasted a further four days. The ANZACs managed to hold the Turkish trenches, and even gain a few hundred yards ground, which they controlled until their evacuation of the peninsula in December 1915.
Seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of bravery during the Battle of Lone Pine, including Orange born John Patrick Hamilton.
There were 2,227 Australian casualties at Lone Pine. Eight men from the Orange district were killed in action at Lone Pine: George William Lawson Cooper, Bernard Patrick Dawson, Joseph George Thew, Henry George Eardley Rotton, Edric Albert Davies, John Michael Paul Woodbridge, Henry Hodder and Edwin Hercules Fardell.
Turkish casualties numbered over 5,000.
The Lone Pine Cemetery was constructed during the campaign and initially contained 46 graves. The Cemetery was expanded following the Armistice to incorporate other cemeteries in the area. 1,167 Commonwealth servicemen are buried or commemorated in the cemetery; 504 of the burials are unidentified.
The Lone Pine Memorial is located within the cemetery. It commemorates the 3,268 Australians and 456 New Zealanders who have no known grave and the 960 Australians and 252 New Zealanders who were buried at sea after evacuation through wounds or disease.
Battle of Lonesome Pine by Sergeant John Cravey Lawson of Mullion Creek