The cost

Hill 10 Cemetery, Gallipoli

Hill 10 Cemetery, Gallipoli. Photo: R. Clutterbuck

Nobody knows exactly how many people went to fight at Gallipoli, and how many of them were killed and wounded.  The figures on this page are the best estimate from recent research by the Gallipoli Association.

The Allies sent about 559,000 personnel during the whole campaign, of whom 420,000 were British and Empire troops, 80,000 French, 50,000 Australians and 9,000 New Zealanders.

The Allies had over 250,000 casualties; of these approximately 58,000 died, including 29,500 from Britain and Ireland, over 12,000 from France, 11,000 from Australia and New Zealand and 1,500 from India. The remaining casualties were wounded or sick; approximately 140,000 from Britain and Ireland, 30,000 from France, 25,000 from Australia and New Zealand and 3,500 from India. Of the 58,000 Allied troops who died, only 11,000 have known graves on the Gallipoli peninsula. Others simply have their names inscribed on memorials.

The Ottoman forces suffered even more.  They had more than 300,000 casualties, of which over 87,000 died. There are few known Ottoman graves on the peninsula but, like the Allies, several memorials commemorate the missing.

What is meant by a casualty?

‘Casualty’ can be a confusing term, and some people think it refers to deaths.  It actually means ‘a member of the armed forces lost to service through death, wounds, sickness, capture, or because his or her whereabouts or condition cannot be determined.’  Effectively it means anyone removed from the battleground, for whatever reason.

Percentages

Every death is a tragedy but it is chilling to look at how the thousands of deaths affected each country in different ways.  The percentage of soldiers killed varied enormously.  Scotland, for instance, lost 26% of the soldiers who went to fight in the First World War (not just Gallipoli), and this amounted to 11% of its men aged 15-49.  Meanwhile India sent over a million men to fight and even though 74,000 of them were killed this was only 0.1% of the male population aged 15-49, so obviously the impact of the war on Scotland was much greater than it was on India.  See more figures here about the percentages killed in the war.

Nevertheless nine out of ten British men returned home after the war.  Many were wounded, either physically or psychologically.  However historian Martin Purdy says we must not forget that the men who came home wanted to change the world, to make it a better place.  Watch his interview here.