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During May Half Term, seven pupils from Year 9 travelled to Gallipoli, Turkey to commemorate the lives of four Old Tridents who were sadly killed there 100 years ago this year, during the First World War.
The pupils spent a number of days in Istanbul acclimatising and discovering modern Turkish culture as well as visiting some of the more historic sights. They then journeyed across to the Gallipoli Peninsular, to begin their homage.
With the aid of a local historian, the group followed in the footsteps of each of the young men who gave their lives, from their landings, across the battlegrounds and finally to cemeteries and fields where they now rest.
Lt. Thomas Deane of the Royal Marines Light Infantry left Trent in 1911 and was killed, aged 22, whilst ascending ‘Dead Man’s Ridge’ to aid Australian fighters. It is thought that he had recently fought at ‘The Nek’ only a short time before, a battle famously re-told in Peter Weir’s 1981 film ‘Gallipoli’.
Lt. Eric Dougherty, also of the Royal Marines Light Infantry, left Trent in the same year as Lt. Deane. He was killed fighting at Achi Baba Nullah and is commemorated immediately next to Deane on the Helles Memorial, dedicated to some 21000 Commonwealth troops whose bodies were never formally identified and have no known grave.
Trooper Lidnsay Hughes of the wellington Mounted Rifles was killed aged 19. His grave lies in the Ari Burnu Cemetary on Anzac Cove. Trooper Hughes was hit by shrapnel that exploded near to his dugout whilst resting with his friend and fellow soldier Sgt. Winks whilst recuperating in ‘Rest Valley’, following fierce fighting over the previous weeks in ‘Shrapnel Valley’. It is thought that Hughes was carried down to a field hospital at Ari Burnu, where he later died. Hughes and Winks are buried next to each other and their graves are well-tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Charles E Dowse, with his elder brother Harry, enlisted in the 7th Batt. Royal Dublin Fusiliers, D Company on Monday 14th September 1914. The battalion left England on 9th July for the Dardanelles. They landed at Sulva Bay August 7th, and took part in the subsequent operations. Charley’s last letter home – written in excellent spirits – was dated the 14th August. On the following Monday (the16th) he was shot through the head and died four hours afterwards, never having regained consciousness. A Sergeant in his Company writing home said: “I saw Charley Dowse unconscious, with a smile on his lips, breathing quietly. At peace with God, at enmity with none; he died, a smile upon his lips, his true life won.” He died, aged 24, and rests on ‘Green Knoll’ on the seaward side of Kirectepe Ridge, near Suvla Bay.
For the group of students who joined this trip, this will be a most unforgettable experience. But more importantly, for the young men from Trent College, who never lived to have children of their own, a very special tribute for their sacrifice.