Field of Bones - An Irish Division at Gallipoli, by Philip Orr
Published by Lilliput Press in 2006, 268 pages. Paperback (N6274)
Brand New Book
During August and September 1915 almost three thousand young volunteer Irish soldiers died on the killing-fields of Gallipoli on the Turkish Aegean....
They had sailed from Dublin earlier that year as a division of Kitchener's Army. At Suvla Bay they fell to gunshot-wounds and shellfire, while thirst, sunstroke and dysentery reduced their chances of survival. Hundreds were to be burned alive in raging bush-fires. The Irishmen in this conflict of 'unparalleled brutality, ferocity and waste' were of all creeds and classes. Former 'Larkinites' from Dublin's docks fought alongside Trinity students, stockbrokers and barristers. Unionists from Portadown and Ballymena marched with nationalists from Castlebar and Skibbereen. Some enlisted out of a sense of patriotic duty, others simply in order to 'get regular meals'. Whole groups of friends such as 'The Dublin Pals' and 'The Toffs in the Toughs' enlisted - and died - together.
In post-war Ireland political revolution led to the removal of Gallipoli from memory. One popular ballad told the Volunteers 'you fought for the wrong country, you died for the wrong cause, when the greater war was at home'. The bone-strewn strands of Suvla were forgotten.
Almost ninety years later, the author came across a quiet country road in the Irish midlands called 'The Dardanelles', which sent him on a journey of discovery, and recovery. Here, in heart-breaking detail, built from letters, diaries and archival sources, is the story of The 10th (Irish) Division, many of whom still lie today in Suvla Bay's deserted fields of bones