Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Gallipoli Centenary Research Project

Completing the Story - Researching Gallipoli in the Turkish Military Archives

A partnership between Australia's Macquarie University, The Australian War Memorial and Turkey's Middle East Technical University


This project operated from 2006 to 2012 as a partnership between Australian and Turkish organizations- Australia's Macquarie University, the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Research Council on one side, Turkey's Middle East Technical University and Turkish Military Archives on the other. The project was funded over 5 years with assistance from the Australian research Council. The goal of the project was to produce a more comprehensive account of the Gallipoli Campaign by investigating the large and previously un-researched collections of Turkish documentation of the campaign.


The project was conceived by Turkey and Gallipoli specialist and author, Harvey Broadbent who noted that at the start of the 21st century both Turkey and Australia had grasped relevance to their national identities and ideals in the Gallipoli Campaign. Each year over the past decade in both Australia and Turkey there had been an increasing amount of public, media, academic and governmental interest in the campaign and its perceived importance to the national psyche of both nations. It is a phenomenon, emanating from the reactions of ordinary people in Australia and Turkey, which has been sensed and responded to by their governments in various ways and which has brought those two countries into a closer and a special relationship.

The Pilot Program

Gallipoli Centenary Research ProjectMacquarie University developed the partnership with Harvey Broadbent from November 2005 with the commencement of an 8-month Pilot Program funded by the university to examine the potential of the partnerships and the practicalities of researching Gallipoli files in the Turkish Archives. Harvey Broadbent was appointed Senior Research Fellow in Modern History at Macquarie University, and he revealed the existence of a large collection of un-researched files each containing hundreds of documents relating to the Turkish conduct of the Gallipoli Campaign in the Turkish General Staff Archives. From research in the Turkish military archives Harvey produced a catalogue in English of files for examination and subsequent translation as the first stage in the project. This catalogue remains a valuable research tool as it guides researchers towards relevant files in the archives.

The ARC assisted Linkage Project

Harvey Broadbent and Emeritus Professor Duncan Waterson of the Department of Modern History were awarded an ARC Linkage Grant of $422,000 over five years in 2007, their linkage partners in the project being the Australian War Memorial and the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Harvey Broadbent worked as director of the project, entitled "Completing the Gallipoli story: Researching Turkish Archives for a More Comprehensive History", and began investigating the vast collection of material about the Gallipoli campaign held in Turkish archives. These documents include battlefield reports and signals, War Ministry communications, records of prisoner interrogations, aircraft logs and diaries and First World War Turkish press reports. For the Gallipoli centenary in 2015, the result has been the fullest possible account of the Turkish defence at Gallipoli yet produced and a comprehensive history. It also contributes to the deepening relationship between Australia and Turkey at the centenary of the Campaign.

Checking through each file and translating relevant documents was a major task requiring a team of researchers comprising of Gallipoli specialists and Ottoman Turkish scholars. (Osmanlica-the language of the files is a complex language written in the Arabic alphabet and containing many Arabic and Persian words and expressions fused with Turkish).

MODHIST - Gallipoli Centenary Research ProjectIn addition there is large amount of material in other archival sources in Turkey. Due to the bulk of the material contained within the archives, five years was hardly enough time to conduct the project which required:

  • identifying all documents held in the Turkish General Staff Archives that relate to the Gallipoli Campaign
  • checking their relevance and suitability for translation into English
  • translating as many relevant documents as possible into English for lodgement in Turkish, Australian/NZ national archives

Producing two books and a website that revealing the most significant finds for the centenary year in 2015 as a comprehensive history was the project's ultimate outcome.

The two books, Gallipoli, the Turkish Defence, a comprehensive academic reference book, and Defending Gallipoli, a condensed version for the general reader were published in February 2015 by Melbourne University Press.


Harvey Broadbent, Director Gallipoli Research Project


Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations
Tel: +61 2 9850 8860

Harvey Broadbent is the author of Gallipoli the Turkish Defence (The Miegunyah Press, imprint of Melbourne University Publishing 2015), Defending Gallipoli, the Turkish Story (MUP 2015), and also the Gallipoli 90th anniversary commemorative book, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore (Viking Books) and a Senior Research Fellow at Macquarie University. Previous publications are The Boys Who Came Home Recollections of Gallipoli, ABC Books 1990 2nd ed. 2000) and as ABC TV documentary and videocassette, 1990, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore, ABC TV documentary, 1988, 10 Days of Glory; The Gallipoli Pilgrimage 1990, ABC TV documentary, 1990. He graduated with honours in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester in 1974 and worked for 22 years as a producer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in historical television and radio documentaries and special events.

Emeritus Professor Duncan Waterson, MA NZ, PhD ANU, Chief Investigator

modernhistory_staff_dwaterson Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations
Tel: +61 2 9850 8860

Duncan has a long academic career in Australian Political and Social History, Australian Biography, and Queensland Agricultural History.

Partner Investigator for the Australian War Memorial is Head of Military History, Ashley Ekins.

Co-Chief Investigator is military historian, Professor Robin Prior of the University of Adelaide.


Gallipoli from the Turkish perspective. Harvey Broadbent, article in 'Wartime' Issue 38, 2007, (official magazine of the Australian War Memorial),Canberra.
Completing the Story of the Gallipoli Campaign: Researching Turkish Archives For A More Comprehensive History. Harvey Broadbent, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, No. 43, Autumn 2007. Brunel University, UK., p.208-223 Download the Article (PDF 345KB)

Researching Gallipoli: The Gallipoli Centenary Turkish Archives Research Project. Harvey Broadbent, lecture presented at Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales and paper published in 'United Service', The Journal of the Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales, No. 59, June 2008, Sydney.

Gallipoli's First Day; Turkish documents separating myth and reality. Harvey Broadbent, article in 'Wartime' Issue 46, April 2009, (official magazine of the Australian War Memorial),Canberra. Download the Article (PDF 53KB)

The Placenames of Gallipoli, leading article in 'Placenames Australia', newsletter if the Australian National Placenames Survey, March 2010. Download the article (PDF 1.11MB)

"A Simple Epic" Gallipoli and the Australian Media. Harvey Broadbent, address presented at Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales and paper published in 'United Service', The Journal of the Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales, No. 61, March 2010, Sydney.

"No room for any lapses in concentration" (General Esat Pasha, 11 August 1915): Ottoman Commanders' responses to the August Offensive in the Anzac sector. Presentation by Harvey Broadbent at Australian War Memorial Conference, August 2010. (published in 'Gallipoli, A Ridge Too Far' Australian War Memorial, 2013)

A survey of Ottoman Anti-Submarine Measures in the Dardanelles 1914-15
Paper delivered to the Kings Hall Naval Conference, Canberra, 22 May 2015.The Strait had always featured prominently in Ottoman defensive considerations and previous belligerent enemy states' offensive considerations, especially since the British navy under Admiral Sir John Duckworth had penetrated to Istanbul (Constantinople) in 1804.  So the Strait and its shores, the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Anatolian side as its guardian terrain, had to be secured. Download paper (PDF 756kb) 

Turkish Medical Arrangements in the Gallipoli Campaign: A General Survey: Chapter in '    ' (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, April 2015)
On the advent of military operations in the Dardanelles in 1915 the Ottoman authorities realised that seriously large land and sea battles would ensue and that the numbers of dead and wounded would be high. The Ottoman Red Crescent Organisation known in the Turkish of the time as the Hilal-i Ahmer, and nowadays translated as the Kizilay joined with Ottoman Army Medical Units to increase inadequate available facilities. Download the chapter (PDF 1.22mb)