In April 1915, the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli to engage in a battle that would shape the culture of both nations for years to come. (Photo - Waiouru Army Museum)
Now, leading military historian Glyn Harper is seeking to recover the experience of ordinary New Zealand soldiers by editing the first collection of letters from Gallipoli.
“Seeing the Gallipoli campaign through their eyes as the soldiers described it in their letters home reveals a great deal about this campaign. The letters tell us much about key events, like the landing and the seizure of Chunuk Bair in August 1915, and the terrible living conditions they had to endure,” says Harper.
Glyn Harper is a well-published military historian and is the Director of the Centre for Defence Studies and Professor of War Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North.
As well as working through letters already in New Zealand archives, Professor Harper is keen to hear from people who hold letters from soldiers who served at Gallipoli and that are currently in family collections.
“This is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of these crucial events by hearing from the soldiers on the ground,” he says.
Those who contribute letters chosen to feature in the book will receive a free copy of the publication and will be invited to attend its eventual launch. Professor Harper will also provide advice on how these letters should be properly stored to avoid damage and on appropriate archives in which to deposit the original copies, should such advice be wanted.
LETTERS FROM GALLIPOLI will be published by Auckland University Press in April 2011 to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on Anzac Day.
Professor Glyn Harper can be reached at The Centre for Defence Studies, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North; T: (06) 350 5456; E: G.J.Harper@massey.ac.nz