While the Gallipoli Campaign’s Anzac sector may be the best known of the battle fronts on the peninsula, it was the Helles sector to the south that saw the heaviest fighting and greatest losses.
Helles was the main focus of the Allied landings on April 25, and was the main battle front until August, with the forces of the British and French Empires, including Australian and New Zealand troops, facing the bulk of the Ottoman Army on the peninsula, with the last Allied soldiers not leaving the sector until early 1916.
Crowded House Tours offers a half day tour to the southern battlefields on the Gallipoli Peninsula, allowing our guests to get a greater understanding of the events of the campaign and putting the involvement of all of the Turkish and Allied forces into perspective.
Our Helles tour has been designed so that guests can visit the southern sector in the morning, returning to Eceabat in time for lunch and then have the option of `joining the daily afternoon tour to the Anzac battlefields.
Our Helles Tour Itinerary
First stop on the tour after departing from Eceabat is the Namazgah Battery, at the southern edge of the village of Kilitbahir, one of the key positions in the Turkish defences of the Dardanelles and which played a significant role in defeating the Allied fleet on March 18 as it attempted to force its way through the straits and into the Sea of Marmara.
The second stop is at the Rumeli Mecidiye Battery, just to the south of the Namazgah position. It was here on March 18, with many of his comrades killed or wounded, that Seyit Onbaşi (Corporal Seyit) is reputed to have carried shells weighing 275 kilograms to his gun, loaded the cannon and, with at least one shot hitting the British battleship Ocean.
The tour then moves south towards the toe of the peninsula, stopping at the top of Alçitepe, the hill that overlooks Cape Helles and was the first day objective for the British forces that landed on April 25.
The tour will then travel to the Turkish monument to the fallen, the Çanakkale Sehitleri Aniti – located above S Beach where men of the South Wales Borderers came ashore on April – and then to the French Cemetery on Morto Bay, where some 14,000 soldiers of France and its empire who fell in the campaign lie buried.
The next stop on the tour is at V Beach, where the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers and the Hampshire Regiment tried to land on April 25, having been carried to the beach in a modern day Trojan Horse, a converted collier the River Clyde that was run aground with more than 2000 men aboard.
Above V Beach is the Ertruğul Battery, one of the Turkish artillery positions demolished in the months before the landings, though still crucial on April 25 as Turkish troops dug in and around the battery played a major role in stopping the British advance off the beach below.
Just to the west of V Beach is the Helles Memorial, the monument commemorating the more than 20,000 British and Commonwealth troops who have no known grave.
After visiting the Helles Memorial, the tour goes to Lancashire Landing Cemetery, where many of those who fell trying to land at W Beach are now buried, before moving past X Beach and to Twelve Trees Copse Cemetery.
At each stop on the tour, your guide will provide details on the events that took place at that point, along with background information to the campaign.
As with all our tours, visitors are accompanied by a fully qualified and experienced English-speaking guide and transported in an air-conditioned vehicle.
Throughout the tour, to help bring you even closer to the past, our guides will use a number of photos to illustrate the terrain and conditions of 1915. These photos, from a private collection, are copies of original photos taken by soldiers at the time, with many never before displayed or published, making them exclusive to Crowed House Tours.
Crowded House’s Helles tour departs from our head office on the Eceabat waterfront at 8:00 every morning and returns at around noon, in time for guests to join the daily tour of the battlefields in the Anzac sector.
Please note: If you have any special areas of interest in the Helles sector, such as having had a relative serve there during the campaign, or wish to visit a particular cemetery or site let your guide know in advance and he will try and include your area of interest in the tour.
Among the highlights of the tour are:
Visits to key Turkish fortifications crucial to the defeat of the Allied fleet on March 18, 1915.
Stops at the main memorials to the fallen from the Turkish, French and British Empires on the peninsula.
V Beach, one of the main landing beaches on April 25 and where a few hundred Turkish troops held up more than 3000 Irish and English soldiers for best part of a day.
Lancashire Landing Cemetery, above W Beach where six Victoria Crosses were won in a single morning.
08.00 Depart from hotel Fully Guided regular Helles Tour.
12.30 Back to Hotel Crowded House