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Gallipoli Star

World War I.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
Technically, the Gallipoli Star is a commemorative medal, the history of which begins when the medal and its ribbon were initially approved by King George V, and subsequently, thousands of meters of the ribbon were manufactured in preparation for the striking of the actual medal.
Both the Australian and New Zealand Governments proposed the award of a special star and ribbon for members of their contingents who had embarked from Australia or New Zealand on or before 31 December 1914 and then fought in the Gallipoli campaign.
After the design for the medal was announced, serious objections were made by members of Parliament, and the press, many claiming that it was unfair that British, Indian, and other troops who also participated in the campaign did not qualify for the star.
Subsequently, the idea of a Gallipoli Star was abandoned resulting in the issue of the 1914-1915 Star to all members of the British Empire forces who had served in any theatre of war up to 31 December 1915 and who had not already been awarded the 1914 Star.
In 1990, to mark the anniversary of the campaign, an initial issue of one thousand stars was produced and two hundred of these were given as a personal gift to the surviving veterans of the Gallipoli campaign.
After the initial striking, the dies were donated to the Australian War Museum in Canberra, but because of the high interest in the star and a continuing demand, a second and final striking of three hundred medals was made available to collectors.
The medal is of an eight pointed star design, 38mm in diameter and was struck in bronze.
The obverse of this medal has eight bevelled rays which are 10mm in length, representing New Zealand, the Territories, and the six states of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Superimposed over the centre point, is a circular silver medallion 18mm in diameter, in the centre of which, is the British Imperial State Crown. Encircling the crown is a band that contains the inscription; 'GALLIPOLI 1914-15'.
The reverse of the first star that was issued is blank, while the reverse of the second is marked with the inscription; 'COLLECTOR'S ITEM' in raised letters 2mm in height. The second striking stars, and possibly a number of the first issue stars also have the initials; 'A.J.P.' in raised letters at the base of the bottom ray, which are the initials of the manufacturer - A.J. Parkes of Brisbane.
The star is suspended from a bronze ribbon ring that forms a part of the uppermost ray.
The ribbon is 32mm wide and is made up of a number of vertical stripes that (left to right) appear in the order of a wide yellow stripe, a narrow red stripe a wide blue stripe, a narrow dark red stripe and a and wide grey stripe.
Yellow is used to represent the golden wattle of Australia, and grey is for the silvery sheen of the fern leaf of New Zealand. Red is the army colour, and the dark blue centre stripe refers to the dependence of the troops to the seas.
None were authorised for this medal.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
Dealer Retail Value *
1st Issue to Gallipoli veterans
2nd Issue
Modern reproduction
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
Further Historical Context
This section contains information on:-
- The Gallipoli Campaign.
The Gallipoli Campaign - The Allied landing and subsequent campaign on the peninsula during World War I is usually known in Turkey as the Battle of Çanakkale. In Australia, Britain, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland and Labrador, the terms Gallipoli Campaign or just Gallipoli alone are used to describe the eight-month campaign.
In early 1915, attempting to seize a strategic advantage by capturing Constantinople, the British authorised an attack on the peninsula. The first phase was purely naval on the Allied side, as Lord Kitchener would not authorise troops to be shifted from the Western Front. The lead British admiral had a crisis of nerves, and his second-in-command withdrew after one day, with moderate casualties. Kitchener then authorised a combined naval-army operation, but the element of surprise had long gone.
On 25 April 1915, a force of British Empire and French troops landed at multiple places along the peninsula. However, some of the landings went wrong and troops were landed in the wrong positions, causing confusion that lost valuable time. To make matters worse, this was followed up by only tentative advances inland.
Most of the arriving armies were left on the beaches, which allowed the Ottomans to pour in reinforcements. The battles over the next eight months saw high casualties on both sides due to the exposed terrain, weather and closeness of the front lines. In addition, many casualties resulted from an epidemic of dysentery, caused by poor sanitary conditions.
The New Zealand Wellington Battalion reached, and briefly occupied, the high point of Chunuk Bair before being beaten back by Turkish troops, who were never again dislodged from the summit. The subsequent Allied withdrawal meant an end to the idea of defeating the Ottoman Empire quickly.
The campaign is often referred to for its successful stealthy retreat, which was completed with minimal casualties. The ANZAC forces completed their retreat by 19 December 1915 and the remaining British elements by 9 January 1916.
Total Allied deaths were 43,000 British, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders and 1,370 Indians. Total Turkish deaths were around 60,000. New Zealanders suffered the highest percentage of Allied deaths when compared with population size, but the percentage of Turkish deaths was almost twice theirs.
This campaign became a turning point in the national consciousness of several of the participants. Both Australia and New Zealand still commemorate Anzac Day and the Turks consider it a point of national pride. Many mementos of the Gallipoli campaign can be seen in the museum at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland.
This campaign also put a dent in the armour of Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had commissioned the plans to invade the Dardanelles. He talks about this campaign vividly in his memoirs.
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.