Before dawn the troopships approached the Turkish coast. Heavily laden infantrymen rowed the final distance to the beach. Enemy fire began the moment they came ashore, but the main beach was swiftly taken.
Beyond the shores, however, the Anzacs were confronted with a formidable barrier of steep cliffs covered with thick prickly scrub. Some men penetrated further inland that day than anyone would for the rest of the campaign, only to be cut off, surrounded and killed.
By mid-morning the Ottomans had rushed up reinforcements. Fierce fighting ensued, and many positions were lost to enemy counter-attacks. The Ottomans remained in possession of the main ridge and the heights, while the Anzacs clung to a narrow 3-kilometre strip of hills overlooking the beaches.
No one knows how many Australians died that first day on Gallipoli, although 650 is a plausible estimate. Total casualties were around 2,000. The New Zealanders lost around 600, killed and wounded.
The Anzac line, Gallipoli, at the end of 25 April 1915.
Men of the 9th Battalion gather on the deck of the destroyer HMS Beagle on their way to Gallipoli, 24 April 1915. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial WDJ0157)
A convoy of craft approaching the shore during the initial landing. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial H03546)
The landing on Gallipoli. By 8 am 8,000 men were ashore, and twice that number by day’s end. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P00196.001)
A party of officers from the 1st Australian Division coming ashore at Anzac Cove at about 10 am. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G00904)
Australian troops under fire from the other side of Shrapnel Valley advance across Plugge’s Plateau around midday on 25 April. Unlike many in the first wave who dropped their packs on the beach, these men are wearing full packs. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G00907)
Anzac Cove on the day of the landing. Soldiers wearing Red Cross arm bands tend to the wounded lying along the beach among stores and discarded personal equipment. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS1659)