The Gallipoli campaign - remembering Lancashire’s fallen heroes 100 years on

Martin Purdy.
Martin Purdy.
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One hundred years ago this month, an Allied force landed on the beaches of a small Turkish outpost on the Dardanelles seaway, to take part in one of the most ill-fated campaigns of the First World War - Gallipoli.

Among them were thousands of Lancastrians, many of whom were members of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

Soon after the campaign, the phrase “damn the Dardanelles!” became an oft heard one around Lancashire.

In commemoration, the University of Cumbria, in partnership with the Lancaster Military Heritage Group, is hosting a free lecture on St George’s Day, April 23.

The lecture will be given by renowned local historian Martin Purdy of Lancaster University and is the third in a special series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

The centenary talk will look at the broad aims of the campaign, some of its heroism and failures, as well as the unique and ongoing battle for control of its legacy – not least in Lancashire itself.

Neil Harris, secretary and registrar at the University of Cumbria, said: “The university and St Martin’s College before it have long had a close association with the armed services.

“The Lancaster campus was the Bowerham Barracks and was home to the King’s Own Regiment from the 1880s to 1959, covering the time of the Gallipoli Campaign.

“More recently the university has continued its association with the armed services by working with the Defence Medical Services to develop academic programmes for paramedics.

“We are delighted to strengthen our relationship further by hosting this commemorative lecture.”

As well as commemorating the 100th anniversary of the campaign, the lecture forms part of the university’s programme of events marking 50 years of higher education in Lancaster.

The talk will be given by the respected First World War historian and author Martin Purdy, who is presently completing doctoral research work with Lancaster University and the Westfield War Memorial Village in Lancaster.

A former newspaper editor, Martin has spent nearly a decade working as a freelance First World War advisor to the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?

Brian Jefferson of the Lancaster Military Heritage Group said: “This is the third lecture in our WWI Centenary Lecture Series.

“We thank the University of Cumbria for their hospitality and hope members of the public will take up the opportunity to learn about the ‘Campaign too far’.

“Located in the heart of the historic Bowerham Barracks, and now for 50 years the university campus, this is an unusual and rare opportunity not to be missed.”

The lecture is taking place on Thursday April 23 at 7pm in the Hugh Pollard Lecture Theatre, University of Cumbria.

Tickets to the lecture are free. People can register for the event at the University of Cumbria Lancaster campus reception or by emailing lancaster.reception@cumbria.ac.uk.

The lecture will be followed by a separate buffet supper at a cost of £14 per person – email lmhg@live.com to reserve a supper place.

For more information see www.lmhg.org or email lmhg@live.com.