105 years ago the idyllic town Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting. This fighting shaped the directly the future of Turkey, accelerate the end of the Romanov dynasty and created an unique Australian identity following the war.
On 18 March 1915 when the Allied Armada made up of 18 battleships and numerous of cruisers and destroyers tried to forced her way up the Dardanelles. Their destination was Istanbul, the capital of Ottoman Empire.
Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.0, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. This old battleship had struck a mine. One of the mines laid ten days ago by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a very short time.
In a matter of a couple of minutes first HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible struck to same mines from Nusret.
Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs..
Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.
The failure of the naval forces forced the Allied forces to land troops ob Gallipoli peninsula which led to long and bloody trench warfare.
The legacy and the heroism of the defenders of Çanakkale will never forgotten. Çanakkale geçilmez.