Gurkhas set for Gallipoli commemorations

Gurkha soldiers have been getting ready to take part in a number of events around the word to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign – one of the bloodiest of World War One.

Leaders from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey – which all lost thousands of troops – have both invited Gurkha units to join in local celebrations. Gallipoli is one of the most important events in the modern history of these two countries: the first time their troops, known as Anzacs, fought a major military campaign as independent nations. The Gurkhas fought bravely alongside the Anzac troops and the respect and alliance formed has been recognised ever since.

About 141,000 died in the campaign – which began in 1915 – including 55,000 Allied forces and 86,000 from Turkey. The fatalities included about 35,000 from Britain, 10,000 from France, 10,000 from Australia and New Zealand, and 1,500 from India.

However, the invasion failed, with the Allied forces unable to advance more than a few miles inland.

A bloody stalemate ensued which lasted until Allied troops evacuated the peninsula eight months later in January 1916.

The series of events – to mark the 100th anniversary of the landings – will begin with a Commonwealth and Irish commemoration, while Prince Charles and Prince Harry are due to join world leaders for a service at the site of the battle at Cape Helles, on the Turkish peninsula.