6. Evacuation | Service Eligibility Assistant, Additional Information, Historical Information, Part 1 Military History, Ch 1 World War I, S 2 Gallipoli

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6. Evacuation

Even before London made its decision, preparations began at Gallipoli for the evacuation. The forces at Anzac Cove were reduced to 36000 men and 97 guns and those at Suvla Bay to 41000 men and 91 guns. The troops were told that preparations for winter and the severe blizzard in late November were responsible for these reductions while the Turks were deceived by the seeming normality. Once the order to evacuate was received, troops, stores and guns were withdrawn each night with the number of troops at each front being reduced to 20000 men. These men, 10000 on each night, were to be withdrawn on the nights of 18/19 and 19/20 December. The evacuation on 18/19 December was successful without the Turks being alerted and just 10000 men remained for the last day at both Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay. The final evacuation began after dark on 19 December with 4100 men leaving their posts at nightfall. In order to deceive the Turks it was decided to hold all the front line posts, however lightly, until the last possible moment which at Anzac Cove was 1.30 am after which the front was gradually uncovered. The last party left Anzac Cove at 4.10 am and Suvla Bay at 5.10 am. Two Australians were wounded at Anzac Cove and casualties at Suvla Bay were negligible. On the night of 8 January 1916, the British withdrew from Helles, also with negligible casualties.

During the campaign 7600 Australians and 2500 New Zealanders were killed and 19000 Australians and 5000 New Zealanders wounded. French casualties were nearly as great as the Australians and British casualties were three times as great.