In November 1919 Hughes was appointed Director of Works in control of the Imperial War Graves Commission’s (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission) cemetery & memorial construction program on Gallipoli. Under him was a mixed labour force of Turks, Greeks & White Russians, none of whom spoke English. Hughes, in his own words, communicated with them in ‘a mixture of Arabic, Turkish, & Greek’. He found that ‘the fact that I’m an Australian is better still’. Hughes was also impressed by their capacity for work & remarked ‘Thank goodness all my fellows can do about fifteen things’.
For the building work Hughes developed a Turkish quarry on Gallipoli at Ulgardere. According to one authority, the stone there was of ‘that same class as that of which the Homeric walls of Troy were built’. Some of this stone was brought in by lorry but the rest was transported by sea to North Beach where an aerial ropeway was constructed to take it up on to the ridge & down to Lone Pine. As construction work proceeded, the peninsula received its first visitors, although the intention was to keep them firmly away until all work was finished. In April 1920 Hughes wrote of someone who may have been the first Anzac pilgrim:
Gradually, throughout the early 1920s, the cemeteries & memorials were built to the specifications of the Scottish architect, Sir John Burnet (1857-1938). Burnet’s designs for Gallipoli differed from those used on the Western Front in France & Belgium. The three distinguishing features of the peninsula’s cemeteries are:
a walled cross instead of the free standing Cross of Sacrifice;
stone-faced pedestal grave markers instead of headstones; &
a rubble-walled ha-ha (sunken fence) to channel away fast-flowing flood waters.
On the Gallipoli Peninsula today are 31 war cemeteries, 21 of which are in the Anzac area. There are a number of memorials to the missing, the largest of which are the Helles Memorial & the Lone Pine Memorial. On Chunuk Bair there is also the New Zealand National Memorial. This is a battle memorial to the New Zealand soldiers who served on Gallipoli.
The Gallipoli cemeteries contain 22000 graves. However, only 9000 of these are of identified burials with grave markers. Where it is known that a soldier is buried in a particular cemetery but his grave could not be definitely established, he is commemorated in that cemetery by what is termed a ‘special memorial’. The British & Dominion ‘missing’ - approximately 27000 men - are commemorated by name on five memorials - Helles (British, Australian, Indian), Lone Pine (Australian & New Zealand), Twelve Tree Copse, Hill 60 & Chunuk Bair (New Zealand).
You can also research a name by logging onto the Debt of Honour Registry on the Commonwealth War Graves site at www.cwgc.org.
There are 31 CWGC cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula & five memorials to the missing. During the course of an average seven day stay, they can all be visited without any rushing round. The only ones we had difficulty in getting to were 4th Battalion Parade Ground & The Farm, both of which were down long & often difficult goat tracks. The Farm was in May 2000 also poorly signposted & we lost our way at one point. But it was worth the trek as are all these special gardens of remembrance which do great credit to the work of the CWGC.
The majority are in the ANZAC sector, as post-war the Australians made a conscious decision to have battlefield cemeteries, where as the British chose to concentrate the majority of their dead into larger cemeteries. The missing, the largest proportion of those killed, are commemorated on the Chunuk Bair, Hill 60 & Lone Pine Memorials at ANZAC, & on the Helles Memorial.
If you are used to the cemeteries on the Western Front, you will observe some noticeable differences here. First, there are no Crosses of Sacrifice: the cross is normally incorporated into the wall of the cemetery. Headstones are smaller with no regimental badges, but record the same details about the soldier, including a personal inscription from the family, if there is one. Some cemeteries appear very small because there are only a few headstones, but this is misleading as only the known casualties are commemorated with a headstone; the unknowns are not marked except in the original cemetery plan. A good example of this is The Farm where there are only 7 identified soldiers (so only seven headstones), but there are more than 600 unknowns buried here as well.
Lone Pine Cemetery is the southernmost, except one, in Anzac. The name (derived from a single low pine tree & a song popular in 1915) was applied to the Southern half of a plateau, 120 metres (394 feet) above sea level, at the top of Victoria Gully; & on the 25th April it was reached & passed by part of the 9th Australian Battalion about 8 am & by other units later. That night it was No Man's Land. On the 26th it was re-occupied by the 4th Battalion & again it had to be given up at night. It was important as commanding Gaba Tepe, to the South, & the ravines leading up from that part of the coast; & in May, June & July it was a Turkish strong point, known to them as "Kanli Sirt" (Bloody Ridge). The cemetery stands on the plateau, over the original Turkish tunnels. At the East end of this is the Lone Pine Memorial (the Register of which has been published), on which appear the names of 4,934 Australian & New Zealand soldiers who fell on the Peninsula or in Gallipoli waters & whose graves are not known. At the West end are the Brown's Dip Plots, to which were removed the graves from the Brown's Dip Cemeteries & others from the vicinity. Lone Pine Cemetery now covers an area (including the Memorial) of 7,578 square yards; & outside this area is a thick belt of dwarf ilex. A lone pine grows in the cemetery. Out of 986 graves, 471 are those of Australian soldiers, two of New Zealand soldiers, 14 of sailors, soldiers or Marines from the United Kingdom & 499 of men whose unit in our forces could not be ascertained. There are, however, tablets placed here which record the names of 182 Australian soldiers (almost all of whom belonged to the 1st Brigade & fell in August) & one from the United Kingdom, for whom there is evidence of burial in Lone Pine Cemetery or in the cemeteries at Brown's Dip. The Register of Lone Pine Cemetery records particulars of 986 British & Dominion burials. Brown's Dip North & South Cemeteries were in the depression at the head of Victoria Gully, behind the Australian trenches of April-August, 1915. They were made they contained the graves of 149 Australian soldiers. They were removed because of the insecurity of the site.
Lone Pine Cemetery stands on the plateau at the top of Victoria Gully, & is located on the road from Gaba Tepe to Chunuk Blair. At the east end of Lone Pine Cemetery will be found the Lone Pine Memorial, which commemorates Australian & New Zealand soldiers who fought on Gallipoli in 1915 & who have no known grave. It is clearly signposted as you come into the ANZAC area.
Chunuk Bair Cemetery was made after the war on the site where the Turks had buried some of those Commonwealth soldiers who were killed on 6-8 August 1915 during the fighting for this position. There are now 632 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried in this cemetery. Only ten of the burials are identified. The cemetery also contains the Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, one of four memorials erected to commemorate New Zealand soldiers who died on the Gallipoli peninsula & whose graves are not known. This memorial relates to the Battle of Sari Bair & in other operations in this sector. It bears more than 850 names.
Chunuk Bair Cemetery is on the ridge which runs north-east from Brighton Beach. It is well signposted as you approach the ANZAC area.