At dawn on April 25, 1915, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli. But did you know Attila the Hun invaded the same peninsula nearly 1500 years earlier? Here are a few facts you may not know about Gallipoli.

1. Attila the Hun successfully invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in 443AD, partially destroying the Eastern Roman Army.

2. During the Crimean War in 1854, the Ottoman Empire allied with France and Britain against Russia, with Gallipoli used as a base by the British Army.

3. Years after the allied failure at Gallipoli in 1915, Churchill, whose political career was critically damaged as a result of the failed campaign, would be subjected to cries of “What about Gallipoli?” during his speeches.

(Image credit – Australian War Memorial)

4. Soldiers from Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland and India (including the Gurkhas from Nepal) were operational on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

5. The Australian and New Zealand troops were initially known as the Australasian Army Corp. However, following protests by New Zealand, the name was changed to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and subsequently shortened to ANZAC.

6. Historians still dispute whether the ANZACs landed at the wrong beach, or whether the location of the landing was changed at the last minute to preserve secrecy.

7. The ANZACs were all volunteers. 35 per cent of the recruits were first-generation Australian and New Zealanders born in Britain.

8. Jack Simpson and his legendary donkey passed into Australian folklore during the Gallipoli campaign. Simpson was actually an Englishman who signed up in Australia in the hope of being posted back to Britain so he could see his mother. Instead, he found himself on the beaches of Gallipoli on April 25 and was shot in the back and killed by machine gun fire less than a month later.

9. War correspondent Charles Bean, keen to erase the blight of defeat, is responsible for much of the Gallipoli  ‘mythology’ that has since been accepted as fact.

10. Despite the horrific losses suffered by the ANZACs, it was the British that bore the brunt of the fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Out of the 480,000 British troops involved, 33,512 were killed and 78,000 wounded.

(Image credit – Australian War Memorial)

11. While records vary, the Australians lost between 8 and 11,000 troops during the campaign, which lasted just eight months. 2779 New Zealand troops were killed at Gallipoli.

12. A number of ingenious inventions were conceived at Gallipoli, including the periscope rifle invented by Australian builder’s foreman Lance Corporal William Beech, which allowed soldiers to aim their guns without putting them in the direct line of fire.

(Image credit – Wikipedia)

13. ANZAC Day became a national public holiday in 1921. The first dawn service was held in 1923.

14. The last surviving veteran of Gallipoli, Alec Campbell, died in 2002.

(Image credit – Exisle Publishing)

So… What do YOU think? Post a comment below!