AN award-winning radio broadcast charity has created an online archive telling the remarkable stories of Bolton’s forgotten heroes of the World War One Gallipoli campaign.
The ill-fated attempt to break the deadlock in the Great War by invading the Turkish peninsular was a spectacular failure for the Allies.
It famously claimed the lives of thousands of Australians and New Zealand soldiers, but 100 Bolton soldiers also died in the battle which took place from April 25, 1915 to January 9, 1916.
And now, a research project led by Diversity in Barrier Breaking Communications (DBBC) and carried out by up to 20 local schoolchildren, is telling their untold story.
The children discovered the identities of 100 out of a total 160 soldiers who were part of the Lancashire Fusiliers Regiment who died in the assault — also known as the Dardanelles campaign.
After The Bolton News published an appeal for information from relatives of the men who lost their lives, the DBCC office at Bolton Market received scores of emails and phone calls from around the world from relatives of the dead men.
The allied withdrawl over a two-week period from Gallipoli — which had been the brainchild of then Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill — became the blueprint for future events such as the Dunkirk evacuation in World War Two, and is often remembered as its only saving grace.
Project manager Alan Martland said: “The saddest thing is that the bravery of these lads who went from working 12 and 18-hour days in the mills to fight for their country has been overlooked because of the failure of the Gallipoli campaign.
“It was an embarrassment for the Allies, although the Australians and New Zealanders remember their brave soldiers with immense pride and celebrate Anzac Day on April 25 every year.”
The project received nearly £10,000 support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but Mr Martland said the hours of research which went into the effort — including painstaking work by DBBC administrator Anne Wilson — could never be quantified.
The results of the project can be viewed online at dbbc.org.uk/gallipoli