Hostilities Commence at the Dardanelles (25 February 1915)

Although the Ottoman Empire was unaligned at the outset of the Great War, the Ottomans had begun taking on German military advisors and military equipment as the fall progressed. In October, the Turks closed the Dardanelles and commenced naval raids on Russian fortifications along the Black Sea. On November 2nd, the Russian Empire declared war on the Ottoman Empire and Britain followed suit four days later. French and British plans to open the strait of the Dardanelles had begun that fall, with the hopes of reestablishing supply routes to Russia.

It would be February, however, before French and British ships began their bombardment of the strait. Waterloo Region newspapers reported on the hostilities within days, presenting official reports not only from Britain and her allies, but also from the Ottoman Turks. Nevertheless, the article marvelled at the scale of the operation and the firepower brought to bear by the British and French navies.

Despite early successes, however, the naval actions at the Dardanelles would come to a standstill over the following weeks, eventually leading to a full-scale invasion of Gallipoli by Commonwealth and French forces in April 1915.

(“Shelling Forts in Dardanelles,” Ayr News, 25 February 1915; Hew Strachan, The First World War (London: Penguin Group, 2004).)