Tuesday, 30 June 2015

An Irishman’s death at Gallipoli: Private George Hunt, 29 June 1915

A British 60 pounder Mk I battery in action on a cliff top at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, possibly in June 1915.
Photo by Ernest Brooks
This is photograph Q 13340 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-61)

Throughout the month of June 1915 the slaughter at Gallipoli continued, with an enormous loss of life on both sides.  By mid-July, British forces had advanced just 500 yards at Cape Helles at a cost of more than 17,000 casualties.


Australian troops burying Turkish dead during the truce at Anzac Cove on 24 May 1915. With over 3,000 Turks having been killed attacking ANZAC positions on 19 May the truce allowed for the burial of the decomposing corpses.
Image credit: Imperial War Museum Q 42315

Turkish losses for the same period came to more than 40,000.  Their commander, Mustafa Kemal, later to become first President of the Turkish republic, had proved to be an outstanding leader, placing himself only a few hundred yards from the front line. He had told his forces before the conflict: “I don’t order you to fight, I order you to die. In the time it takes us to die, other troops and commanders can come and take our places.”


Soldiers of the 6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, advancing against Turkish positions during the Third Battle of Krithia, 4 June 1915.
Image credit: Imperial War Museum Q 69514

 Although not from Devon, Private George Hunt, service number 11151, had links to the Lower Otter Valley. Born in the village of Fethard, County Tipperarary, in 1891, he was the son of George and Mary Hunt and had enlisted in Dublin with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

The 1st Dublins, as they were known, landed at V Beach, Cape Helles on 25 April. They were the first to land, and suffered heavy casualties from a withering hail of machine-gun fire from the Turkish defenders. Most of the casualties did not even get out of their boats, while others drowned in the attempt, mostly due to the equipment they carried. George Hunt was killed in action on 29 June 1915, aged 24.

It seems that his parents had left Ireland prior to the outbreak of war; they are recorded as living in a house called Jutland, in Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton, where his father was the town’s Chief Coastguard.


Pic: Private Hunt’s name has been highlighted on this image of the St Peter’s Church memorial

His name appears on Budleigh Salterton’s war memorial as well as on the brass plaque in the town’s St Peter’s Church 

Image credit: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

He is also commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.  However at the time of writing his name is absent from the Irish Memorials website at http://www.irishwarmemorials.ie

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment