There’s no military escapade more deeply ingrained in the Australian and Kiwi psyche than the failed Dardanelles Campaign, culminating in landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula, an Ottoman territory, on 25 April 1915. Now commemorated as ANZAC day, 2015 is obviously the centenary of the event and commemorative coins are a given.
Designed to force the Ottoman Empire to sue for peace and open up the Dardenelles Strait to free passage between the Russian Empire and the Allies, the assault started with a huge naval bombardment and attempt to force the strait by sea. It failed. Landings at Gallipoli were launched on 25 April, but were soon bogged down with casualties mounting. By the time the campaign finished with a mass evacuation of Allied forces on 9 January 1916, over 100,000 men lay dead including almost 60,000 Turks, and 43,000 British Empire troops, amongst them 8,709 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders.
The Royal Australian Mints new coin depicts the famous pine tree from the Lone Pine Memorial above Anzac Cove in Turkey. The Battle of Lone Pine (06-10 August 1915) was part of a diversionary attack by Australian forces designed to draw the attention of Ottoman forces away from the main assaults against Sari Bair, Chunuk Bair and Hill 971, which became known as the August Offensive.