Helles - The French monument & cemetery

The Gallipoli Houses





Helles, the French Cemetery

Gallipoli, the French Cemetery

the Gallipoli houses


At the entrance of the main French Cemetery one can find a plaque with a brief history of the cemetery.  The translation goes as follows :

1919 : The Commander of the "Army of the Orient" gives the order to regroup all dead fallen and buried on the battlefields during the conflict so as to allow a decent burial

Four cemeteries had been operational  during the conflict :

 "Le cimetiere Galinier"
(also know as cemetery of the HQ/Fortess)

- "Le Cimetiere de L'ambulance"
situated on the Kilitbahır road, in which general Ganeval was buried.

- "Le cimetiere de la 1re Division"
(also known as cemetery of the Colonials)

- "Le cimetiere de la 2e Division"
(also known as cemetery of the Olive Tree Cliffs), located some 300 metres North of Morto Bay.

memorials and cemeteries in gallipoli





"French cemetery on "W" beach" (without any doubt cimetiere de l'Ambulance), reproduced from a period postcard (Başar Eryoner - private collection)






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the first authentic hotel on the Gallipoli peninsula


The Wall of Souvenirs

the entrance to the French cemetery in Morto Bay

the symbolic "lantern"

"French cemetery in Seddülbahır" (without any doubt cimetiere Galinier), picture reproduced from "Çanakkale, Ariburnu Heros", Izmir 2006, Nebahat & Cemalettin Yıldız, p. 201


"French soldiers attending an officers' funeral" reproduced from a period postcard (Başar Eryoner - private collection)



1919 (continued) : Two ossuaries (Masnou and Ganeval) and two cemeteries are created :

- "Le Cimetiere Zimmermann"
(also know as cemetery of the officers), located southeast of the 2nd Divisions cemetery.

- "Le Cimetiere de Kereves Dere"
beyond the trench positions of June 4, facing the sea.

These little crosses, which I will never forget, seemed to be telling me : “You are leaving but if one day you return in our distant country, and if you meet our families, our friends, tell them what you have seen, tell them what we have suffered, tell them that our last thoughts were with them, and that death was sweat because we fell for France”.
And I have sworn to all my comrades who have fallen in combat that the grateful
France would revenge them, would guard them and honour them forever.

Robert Davids' (*) private diary (5th October - when leaving Gallipoli, most probably for Saloniki) quoted in, and translated from "Les Dardandelles"
, Paris, National Association of Veteran Groups of the  Dardanelles, p. 112.

(*) Ex-under secretary of State at the Interior Ministry,  who served in the Army Service Corps of the Second French Division,

Following the central ally and taking a small series of steps around which have been put the officers’ tombstones, one arrives at the “Mur des Souvenirs” (Wall of Memorials). This wall, constructed in 1926, serves as a base for the main monument and on the surface, marble plaques are imbedded from the different monuments which had been erected on this corner of the peninsula.

“Dardanelles”, Paris, National Association of Veteran Groups of the  Dardanelles, p. 129

"Chapel of Bones (French) on the Gallipoli battlefield"
" Dardanelles at Kerevesdere, interior of the French ossuary",
reproduced from period postcards (Başar Eryoner - private collection)

1922 : A mission send by the Minister of the Armies repatriates the bodies of the identified soldiers that have been reclaimed by their families

back to if stones could speak

French soldiers attending an officers' funeral

1923 : after the Lausanne treaty (24 July), the earlier cemeteries and ossuaries are regrouped in Seddülbahir.  Also soldiers & military personel, that passed away at the hospital of Mudros (Greek Island of Lemnos) are brought over and are buried.










































The infantry comprised one Colonial battalion and two Senegalese who where some-thing of an unknown quantity







and whose subsequent perfor-mance on the peninsula was inconsistent; they were capable of advancing with great dash when under the control of their European officers and were particularly effective at close-quarter fighting when they used their coupe-coupes – a machete-like fighting knives – to great effect.  When their officers were brought down, however (a relatively easy task for the Turkish snipers who picked them off whenever they appeared) the Senegalese could not be relied on to go forward and frequently abandoned their positions in the face of the enemy.  This characteristic was to have dire consequences for their allies at Helles later on.

Gallipoli, (London 2000), Michael Hickey, p. 133

Last updated : 28/01/08







"Senegalese soldiers resting" reproduced from a period picture (Başar Eryoner - private collection)

"General Ganeval", period picture reproduced from “Dardanelles”, Paris, National Association of Veteran Groups of the  Dardanelles, p. XI

"(1) General Masnou, mortally wounded on 12th July 1915 - (2) Commander  Romieux, killed July 12, 1915", period picture reproduced from “Dardanelles”, Paris, National Association of Veteran Groups of the  Dardanelles, p. XI

1930 (continued) : Located halfway on the slope which dominates the beach and Morto bay, the necropolis of Seddülbahir holds the remains of 15.000 french soldiers : 2340 individual graves and 5 ossuaries with over 12.000 unidentified french soldiers.

"Flower laying by General Gourand", picture reproduced from "The Dardanelles", Paris, National Association of Veteran Groups of the  Dardanelles, p. XXV

1930 : On June 9 the cemetery is inaugurated by a group of veterans and the Commander of the Expeditionary Corps : General Gourand.



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