There are 391 Commonwealth servicemen of WWI buried or commemorated in the cemetery,
including 295 Australians.
Special memorials commemorate 11 casualties believed to be buried among them and 22 of the burials are unidentified.
Situated at Hell Spit, south of Ari Burnu, the Beach Cemetery (also known as Hell Spit Cemetery) was used from the 25 April 1915 until near the end of the campaign (evacuation). The cemetery was very dangerous as it was within range of the Turkish gun called “Beachy Bill”. This gun was credited with causing over a thousand casualties on the beach at Hell Spit. All the crosses and headstones at Beach Cemetery had been riddled with bullets, and some were completely destroyed by shell fire.
After the evacuation, the crosses were used for firewood by the remaining Turks and the cemetery vanished from view.
When Pope Benedict XV sent an envoy to check on the cemeteries in 1916, the Turkish War Office remade the Beach Cemetery so that it appeared to be well-tended. They created burial mounds with rock borders, but these mounds did not match the direction of the original graves underneath.
In 1919, when the Graves Registration Unit tried to find the graves, the black and white plan (attached) of the cemetery helped them locate the general positions and directions of the graves underneath the remade cemetery.
One of the more famous members of the Australian Imperial Force –
Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick (“the man with the donkey”)
3rd Field Ambulance
He is buried in plot I, row F, grave 1 in Beach Cemetery. He served under the name John Simpson and was one of the soldiers at Gallipoli who used donkeys and mules to assist men with leg wounds to reach medical assistance. After he died from a sniper shot, he became an Australian icon for his work.
The graves are where they were laid in 1915 – in a curved cemetery, looking out to the Aegean Ocean over a retaining wall. South of the cemetery is a concrete WWII Pillbox, falling into the sea.
Buried in Beach Cemetery are:
Lieutenant Colonel George Braund, a NSW MP, vegetarian, theosophist, teetotaller – and a bit deaf – who was killed by friendly fire on 4/5/1915, when he failed to acknowledge a challenge by a sentry. Braund was unfairly criticised for his lack of leadership or recklessness in the desperate hours after the landing.
Lieutenant Colonel Lancelot Clarke, Commander of the 12th Battalion, was killed on Anzac Day. Clarke – aged 56 years, was writing a message in his notebook when he was killed with his batman. Major Sydney Robertson was killed on Baby 700 on 25 April 1915 – he reached about as far inland as any Australian on that first day.
Some of the men buried in the Beach Cemetery were killed by shellfire ranging onto the actual beach or pier, such as Commander Edward Cater RN, the ‘bloke with the monocle’, a beach commander on the original landing day who was killed on the pier in August helping an incoming boat.
Thank you to the Australian War Memorial and Garrie Hutchinson for their information
Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan. 12/3/2015. Lest we forget.