Gallipoli and the Anzacs

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Explore 25 northern war cemeteries

Beach Cemetery

Beach Cemetery

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Beach Cemetery (391 burials) is a curved plot 80m in length just above the point of Hell Spit facing the sea and was used throughout the occupation.

This is among the best known and most famous of the Anzac cemeteries, possibly because here is the grave of the best known of all the Anzac soldiers — Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, 3rd Field Ambulance (plot I, row F, grave 1).

After seeing Simpson’s grave, Sir Roden Cutler VC remarked:

I looked down and found myself standing at the grave of Simpson, the man with the donkey. It is a moment I will take to my grave.

Simpson's inscribed grave stone at Beach Cemetery: see caption below

Grave of John Simpson Kirkpatrick – served as 202 Private J. Simpson, Aust. Army Medical Corps – 19 May 1915 age 22: ‘He gave his life that others may live’.

The cemetery was in use from 25 April 1915 and contains 285 Australians, 49 British, 21 New Zealanders, three soldiers from the Ceylon Tea Planters’ contingent and 21 unknowns. The Ceylonese Tea Planters’ numbered about 80 on Gallipoli and they were used by the Anzac Corps Commander, General William Birdwood, as his personal escort and camp guard.

Among other graves here are those of Commander Edward Cater, Royal Navy, HMS Nelson (plot II, row G, grave 5) and Colonel Lancelot Clarke, 12th Battalion (plot I, row B, grave 3).

Walled cross at Beach Cemetery: see caption below

A view of the walled cross at Beach Cemetery. Sir John Burnet’s designs for the Gallipoli Cemeteries differ from those of the Western Front in the use of walled crosses rather than the free-standing Cross of Sacrifice.

Cater was a familiar figure to the Anzacs as he was in charge of the landings at Anzac Cove. He won the respect of all for his cool disregard of the enemy shell fire which raked the beach while he assisted others. The story goes that Cater wore a very large monocle and that a group of Australians sought to get a rise out of him by approaching him with their identity discs in their eye. Cater responded by throwing his monocle in the air, catching it in his eye and saying ‘Do that, you blighters’! He was killed by a shell on 7 August 1915.

Colonel Clarke landed with elements of his battalion at North Beach on 25 April 1915. He led them off the beach up the heights beside the Sphinx, amazing many with his fitness:

Odd parties of the 11th and 12th Battalions were scrambling up these gravelly and almost perpendicular crags by any foothold which offered … One of this party, Corporal E W D Laing … clambering breathless up the height, came upon an officer almost exhausted half way up. It was the old Colonel - Clarke of the 12th Battalion. He was carrying his heavy pack, and could scarcely go further. Laing advised him to throw the pack away, but Clarke was unwilling to lose it, and Laing thereupon carried it himself. [Laing and another officer, Margetts, then climbed slowly on until ...] Margetts, reaching the top, found to his astonishment the Colonel already there.

[C E W Bean, The Story of Anzac, Sydney, 1924, Vol 1, p.272.]

Clarke was killed later in the day. At age 57, he was possible the oldest Australian to die at the landing.

The cemetery, designed by Sir John Burnet, principal architect of the CWGC cemeteries and memorials on the peninsula, is under the control of the CWGC It was registered as a cultural heritage site by the Turkish Ministry of Culture on 14 November, 1980.

Official CWGC grave listings for: Beach Cemetery.

Another view of the Beach Cemetery walled cross and headstones Beach Cemetery. A view to the north towards Ocean Beach and Suvla Bay

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website