This month marks the 100th anniversary of the British evacuation of Gallipoli ,one of the worst episodes of the Great War.
A good idea on paper, it was a disaster: Gallipoli cost 34,000 British dead, 90,000 wounded, and nothing gained. Only the withdrawal went well. Australia and New Zealand were left with contempt for British leadership and began heading for effective independence. The Turks found a hero in Mustapha Kemal, who as Kemal Ataturk went on to found the Turkish Republic.
Seven Battle men were there: four died at Gallipoli and two of the three who survived were killed later in the War, explains George Kiloh, author of “The Brave Remembered: Battle at War 1914-19”.
Philip Fuller of Netherfield, a professional soldier, 29, died on land at Gallipoli on 7 May 1915. He was with the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Charles Goodsell, 39, a Netherfield wood merchant; and Richard Pook, 29, a coal carman from Beanford, both in the Royal Engineers, were in the Hythe. Their ship approached Gallipoli on 28 October 1915, without effective lights, to avoid the attention of Turkish artillery in the hills above. But, colliding with another unlit ship, the Hythe sank. Goodsell and Pook drowned with 129 comrades. Goodsell is listed on the Netherfield Memorial.
On 19 November, another Battle man died, this time when a Turkish shell hit his ship, HMS Scourge. He was the stoker John Sharp, 32: when the boiler exploded he had no chance.
Two other local men survived Gallipoli but were killed later. Albert Thomas Abrey, 26,
was one of three brothers who served. They were all sons of the butler to Beauport Park. Albert arrived at Gallipoli early in 1915. He was to be wounded in France in the next year; a second wound there in 1917 finally killed him.
Frank Ling , 18, went to the Battle and National School. His father managed the Star Hotel (now Costa) and later moved across the Green to manage the Abbey Hotel. Just before the War, Frank emigrated to Australia where he worked as a barman, before volunteering and arriving at Gallipoli in August 1915. He was seriously wounded in the shoulder in December and invalided out. But fate caught up with him in August 1916 when he was killed in France.
Our sole survivor of the Battle men who went to Gallipoli was Percy Batten, 32, a Captain with the Manchester Regiment . He had been a journalist - then living at The Hammonds on Caldbec Hill. He arrived at Gallipoli in July 1915 , returning unscathed, with the Military Cross. He married in London in 1926 and he and his family later went to Australia where he died in 1958.
Memory has not been kind to the dead. Of the six who died in battle, only Goodsell is on the local memorials.
“The Brave Remembered: Battle at War 1914-19” can be obtained from the Old Post Office in Battle price £12.50 or by emailing George direct on firstname.lastname@example.org