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The NEK: A Gallipoli Tragedy


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About the Author

Peter Burness is a Senior Historian at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Memorial's longest serving employee. A specialist in the battles of World War One, he has written several books on the subject, and has also worked on numerous permanent, temporary and travelling exhibitions. A long-serving member of the Armed Services working group of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, he has contributed over 20 entries to the dictionary. Since 1994 he has led the Memorial's annual tours to the Western Front.


"An outstanding account of the ill-fated attempt to break the stalemate of Gallipoli on 7th August 1915 as hundreds of Australian Light Horsemen repeatedly charged against the mass rifles and machine-guns of the Turks. In this very well written and researched work, updated since its first publication 'down under' in 1996, the author provides a comprehensive account of the battle and of the men who took part. Superb 10/10." Great War Magazine This short book, part of the 'ANZAC Battles Series', explores the action of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade on 7th August 1915 when four successive waves of dismounted Light Horsemen charged into a withering maelstrom of Turkish rifle and machine gun fire armed only with bayonets fixed to unloaded rifles, an action immortalised in the 1981 film Gallipoli. The book has comprehensive notes, and whilst it lacks a bibliography it is clear that the excellent resources at the Australian War Memorial have been widely consulted. With 400 casualties suffered by the attacking troops thankfully Burness does not lose sight of the ordinary soldiers who were involved, and intertwines their stories into the narrative. Several examples of men who survived the action only to lose their lives later on are given; such was the relentless and indiscriminate nature of the war. Logical and well written, this is an excellent account of the action that day and the personalities involved, balanced by a measured analysis of the reasons for its failure. WW1Geek

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