Naming Gallipoli

Apr 23, 2015

The irony of ironies is that the name Gallipoli meant ‘beautiful city’ from the Ancient Greek kallos ‘beautiful’ and polis ‘city’. Locations needed to be identified in fine detail in such a context and this kind of naming is engraved by terrible experience:

The Nek a ridge of land on the Gallipoli peninsula
Baby 700 the smaller of two adjacent hills, estimated to be about 700 ft high
Lone Pine a site above Anzac Cove where the Turks cut down all the pine trees except one


The Turks were referred to as Abdul, that being a common first name in Turkey. The Turks for their part referred to the Anzacs as Johnnies and themselves as Mehmets (this was referred to in the speech made by Mustafa Kelmet Ataturk: ’There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.’)

And finally there were the names for the guns, shells, missiles, etc., used generally in the war: 


Big Bertha a type of howitzer used by the Germans and named after Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1886–1957, proprietor of the German industrial company, Krupp
Beachy Bill a Turkish artillery battery concentrated on the beaches of Anzac Cove
Lazy Lizz a heavy long-distance shell which made a droning sound as it passed
flying pig a heavy trench-mortar shell, name either from the fact that its large size and slow descent meant that it could sometimes be seen in flight, or from the squeal it made flying through the air, or both
gezumpher a large artillery shell
mouth organ a Stokes shell, from the sound made by the air passing through the holes around the base of the shell as it was rising
Minnie a German trench-mortar bomb, from the name Minenwerfer bomb
flaming onions a form of incendiary used by German forces to illuminate and set fire to a target
pipsqueak a small shell, usually a high-velocity shell fired from a field gun
plum pudding a spherical iron shell filled with explosive and fired from a trench mortar

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