Lancashire Fusiliers who fought at Gallipoli will be remembered in Bury 

Veterans march past the Fusiliers Museum in a previous Gallipoli Day parade in Bury

Veterans march past the Fusiliers Museum in a previous Gallipoli Day parade in Bury - Credit: Algy Cole

The people of Bury will pause in reverence this month, to remember the men of the Lancashire Fusiliers who were gunned down in the carnage of the Gallipoli campaign. 

More than 1,800 members of the regiment lost their lives and many more were physically and mentally damaged by the experience.

In 1915 the Allied forces attempted to open up sea routes through the Black Sea to Russia and to weaken the Ottoman Empire.

It was to be one of the most disastrous episodes of the war, and hit the Bury-based Fusiliers particularly hard.

The Helles Memorial serves Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign.

The Helles Memorial serves Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Soldiers were drawn from eight of the Regiment’s battalions. These consisted of hardened regulars and experienced reservists, many of whom had previously served in India and fought in the Boer War. They were supported by enthusiastic territorials and eager but unpractised volunteers from Kitchener’s New Army.

It is difficult to imagine what went through the minds of the volunteers as they travelled to fight in this distant part of the world. Transplanted from their jobs in Lancashire’s mills, mines, factories, foundries to a corner of a foreign field where unimaginable horrors awaited.

Image of Anzac Cove plaque in Turkey

Image of Anzac Cove plaque in Turkey - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It is perhaps as well that they did not know what they were letting themselves in for. Conditions were dreadful. Soldiers spent their time in Gallipoli’s front line trenches dodging snipers’ bullets and artillery shells from the Ottoman Army. And they had to contend with soaring heat, swarms of flies, shortage of water and dysentery. 

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Gallipoli was an absolute tragedy. It achieved nothing. Far too many of the soldiers who eventually returned to Bury were broken by the experience of war, physically and mentally. Many suffered in silence for years after. But how could they tell their families what they had seen and experienced? The scars ran far too deep to heal. 

On April 25, 1916 - the first anniversary of the landings at Gaba Tepe which marked the beginning of the ill-fated invasion of the peninsula - a service was held in Bury’s Parish Church to remember those lives cut short.

This year's Gallipoli Day memorial will happen online

This year's Gallipoli Day memorial will happen online - Credit: Algy Cole

For more than 100 years the town came together in commemoration but the tradition of reflection fell victim to the Covid pandemic last year. 

This year, a special Gallipoli 21 commemorative video has been commissioned which gives a brief history of the campaign and the VC winners, with a short service led by Rev Julian Heaton, Rector of Bury Parish Church. The film will be available to watch from 10am on Sunday April 25 on the Lancashire Fusiliers YouTube page, The Fusiliers on YouTube. 

The Fusiliers Museum in Bury

The Fusiliers Museum in Bury - Credit: Algy Cole

Gallipoli Day parade in Bury

Last year was the first since 1916 that Bury hasn't seen a Gallipoli Day parade - Credit: Algy Cole

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