Peter Stanley

Lost Boys of Anzac


During the earliest years of the First World War (1914-1918), a group of several divisions called Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was created. The soldiers that fought are referred to as Anzacs. This is a group of determined individuals whose goal was to open Dardanelles for the allied navies and this and only view achieved by the capture of Gallipoli Peninsula.

Their major objective was to ensure the capture of Constantinople (present day Istanbul in Turkey) which was the capital of the popularly industrious Ottoman Empire, which was a German ally during the war. 

The landing of the Anzacs in Gallipoli was expected to work as a land based strategy to allow allied ships into Dardanelles – a part plan to overwhelm Istanbul and ultimately ensure the knockout of Turkey out of the WWI. And as expected, more hands are needed to be armed to ensure the success of this. The first campaign led to the documentation of major casualties for the Anzacs.

And it was to this effect that the 25th of April was set aside to mark the remembrance of the great men that were lost in the first war action of the Anzacs. Thanks to the Anzacs, Australia returned from the war with a surge in their self-esteem. They also established themselves as an emerging nation in the eyes of the world.  

Considering the level of significance of this corps division in the history of the First World War, several writers have delved into writing books about the event. Several of these books considered the later events that happened in Gallipoli, only a few discussed the happenings on the day of the landing and this is of course of great importance considering that what happened on the day of landing at Gallipoli shaped the consequent events that took place.

This is the exact reason behind Peter Stanley’s unquenched fire of curiosity and restlessness on how this history will not be lost to the Australian citizenry and their history.  

After his book, Quinn’s Post, was published in 2005, he had remained determined to write another book based solely on Gallipoli. In 2010, he put his time into considering how trivially Gallipoli has since been treated by Australian history writers in their books. 

The rhetoric of Anzac on the day of the actual landing has become rather oblivious over the years or perhaps has attracted only operational studies. In fact, researchers have only paid little attention to it. More are concerned with the happenings consequent to the landing. 

Name books such as The Battle of Anzac Ridge and Gallipoli by Peter William and David Cameron respectively. They contributed well enough to knowledge acquisition. Yes. But something was missing in them. Perhaps, a human gap has been created in the typical historiography of the Anzacs. 

Peter Stanley seems to have a lurking interest in topics as this. As a result, he decided to write a book about the Third Brigade – the very first corps to land at Gallipoli. It is so easy to doubt the possibility of perfection in his yet to be published book. However, a look at the accounts of the landing by the Royal Navy and the astonishing collection of Peter Liddle in the University of Leeds are enough to make me rethink.