Wrapping up war remembrance with a mystery

I thought I’d close my coverage of New Zealand’s commemoration of our landing on Gallipoli, 100 years ago, by revealing a curious point. We don’t know how many Kiwis fought there.

Gapa Tepe, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. The beach at Kapa Tepe, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. McKenzie, Fiona, fl 2004 :Photographs relating to Charles and Christina Andrews. Ref: PAColl-8147-1-08. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22453227
The beach at Kapa Tepe, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. McKenzie, Fiona, fl 2004 :Photographs relating to Charles and Christina Andrews. Ref: PAColl-8147-1-08. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22453227

The official figure of 8556, which seems to have been plucked out of a quick add-up of some numbers in one report, is almost certainly wrong. Efforts since to identify the actual number have tripped up over double-counting – men wounded early in the campaign who returned later.

What we do know is that 7447 Kiwis were killed or wounded during the eight-and-a-half month campaign. Of these, 2779 were killed. They were not the first soldiers to die for New Zealand, and nor were they the last, but it was this campaign – and the date of landing – that came to symbolise all New Zealand’s war dead.

Curious but true. And that, folks, is it on matters military. For a while anyway. Watch this space for regular writing posts, science, humour and more, coming up.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


3 thoughts on “Wrapping up war remembrance with a mystery

    1. Yes, I saw that. I think David’s hit on something there. I don’t agree with Stowers’ methodology, though – the general idea may be right, but I’m not sure the number he came up with is correct.

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