6–10 August 2015 marks the centenary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair. This battle was fought between Ottoman (Turkish) forces and British Empire troops, namely those from New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The battle was perhaps New Zealand’s most significant action at Gallipoli.
The Battle for Chunuk Bair was part of a wider military strategy known as the August Offensive, or the Battle for Sari Bair. The target of the campaign was for British Empire forces to gain control of the Sari Bair Range on the Gallipoli peninsula.
The attempt to take Sari Bair began at night on 6 August. On 7 August, the Auckland Battalion failed in an attempt to take Chunuk Bair, but the following day, 8 August, the Wellington Battalion successfully captured the peak. Chunuk Bair held for two days, but by 10 August the action had failed. Ottoman forces reclaimed Chunuk Bair from British troops who had arrived to relieve the New Zealanders. British Empire forces never managed to recapture the territory, and more than 800 New Zealand soldiers were killed.
Several museums are delivering exhibitions and events to commemorate the Battle for Chunuk Bair. Here’s a small selection:
- 7 August: Otago Museum opens the free exhibition Surviving Chunuk Bair: HD Skinner at Gallipoli
- 8 August: Museum of South Taranaki Aotea Utanganui commemorates Chunuk Bair with a mini-exhibition on Gallipoli
- 8 August: Te Awamutu Museum hosts a remembrance service along with a special display of WWI objects
- 8 August: Pukeahu National War Memorial Park hosts the national ceremony to mark the Chunuk Bair centenary