The Bloody Handkerchief (Ömer Arslan)

As people and events moving away from each other ,objects is growing while it’s zooming.” 

 Although over 100 years have passed since the Gallipoli Campaign,the influence on society and people continues even today.Every memory is affecting us deeply.Some of these memories belong to Turkish soldiers and some foreign soldiers . There are some memories from war, which interested both two sides.Here we are going to tell about researching of this kind of memory. A bloody handkerchief,which we found in the family of a martyr in the village of Hacıpehlivan in Biga, town of Canakkale , surrounded the lives of three soldiers,opened the gates of their unknown lives.


Just as the Great War began in many parts of the world,New Zealand also began calling for troops for Expeditionary Forces.There were posters prepared for propaganda in Otago’ s streets,in newspapers, at schools . On a poster, there was a picture of the children who were playing near their father. “What did you do in the Great War ,Dad? They were asking. On another poster,the soldier on the Gallipoli Peninsula was calling for participation in the Canakkale operation. These posters had. impressed George Thomas Uren like many Otagos.In fact,he did not know where was Canakkale even the Ottoman State. But he was ready to fight for his country.He volunteered at the beginning of the war and joined the Expeditionary Force on 28 August 1914. George,the second son of the Uren family, was a well-known athlete in Otago, and at the same time, G.U. he was also a member of Fire Brigade. George , who was born on April 2 1887, was still single on his to war. The Otago Infantry Battalion was leaving Chalmers Port on October 16 .There were incredible crowded on the port.


Everyone was in the fuss and sadness of seeing the last time they could have loved it and saying goodbye. George also said goodbye to his beloved mother and other family members in tears. The HMNZ 5 and HMNZ 9 vessels carrying New Zealand soldiers arrived in Suez after a long journey. ANZAC together with Expeditionary Force made preparations fort the Gallipoli Campaign took road to Mondros. After completing the final preparations fort he landing at Mondros, the operation began on April 24. Soldiers were awakened on April 25 at 1:00 am and the last hot meal was given before the removal. George took a handkerchief out of his pocket and he kissed it, sniffed it and closed his eyes and took a deep “ah” His mother sent this handkerchief for his 28th birthday on April 2 ,1915.

He was so happy when he got a handkerchief with letter from his mother. His eyes filled with tears…He remembered his peaceful life in Otago. He was startled led by voice of Colonel Moore. The New Zealanders were taking final instructions and these people, who had peaceful life six month ago,began to set foot on shore which they did not know.There started the battle , the New Zealand soldiers met the encounter of death.Some soldiers were killed even before they hit the shore.After setting to shore, Otago Battalion reached and deployed on the west part of Monash Valley and Russell’s top region. At the same time, Monash Valley and the subsequent Shrapnel Valley constituted the main supply line for ANZAC.


With grandsons’s of Goch Yusuf and Murat Ali

Murat’s son Ali in 1878 and Mehmet’s son Yusuf in 1881 were born in Aydos district of Burgas province, where is located within the borders of today’s Bulgaria.Like many families after the Ottoman –Russian War,they also immigrated by leaving behind their memories and dreams.Yusuf’s family settled in the village of Hacıpehlivan in the town of Biga and Ali’s family settled in the village of Koruoba 3 km away.After immigrating passed a few time, The Balkan War, after First World War was began.This generation, running from the front to the front fort he sickle, was again on the brink of another war.On August 2,1914, the Ottoman State declared general mobilization. All the old and young people from all places of homeland,were running first to military branches and then to the front for homeland defense.When the navy headed by the British and French threatened the Gallipoli,Yusuf was 33 and Ali was 36 years old. They voluteered their names to the military service even though they last performed their military service in the Balkan War. The Turkish nation, which never accepted captivity, put forth everything what they had or not in spite of all difficulties.Yusuf and Ali left their old wives and children behind them and once again run to the front. Everyone tangled in tears, hiccups were knotted in the throat.They endured this pain.Yusuf and Ali have had same destiny since from Aydos. They both were given to the 64th Infantry Regiment on the Canakkale front.Naval forces on March 18,1915, the Canakkale Bosphorus failed to pass and The Expedition Force on April 25 launched a major land offensive in the Gallipoli Peninsulla.Only a small group of Turkish soldiers defended Anzac cove region. The line of defense needed urgent support.

The 64th Regiment arrived on the 27 th of April at 10 o’clock in the Anzac cove region. As reinforcements and placed in the right wing of the defensive line. The Turkish troops started attacking by creating a sickle line of defense from Pine Ridge to Battleship hill.But the night of 27 April did not succeed. It was an important influence on this unsuccessful fighting that the prejudices came to the front side piece by piece and tired.After this unsuccessful assault, a general offensive was decided on the entire front on May 1 .In this attack, there were a total of 15,500 Turkish soldiers, including the 64th Regiment, and on the opposite side there were 24,000 ANZAC soldiers, including the Otago battalion. 6000 Turkish soldiers were lost in the Turkish assault which started at 05:00 on the morning of May 1 and lasted almost 24 hours. Perhaps the only success of this attack was the approaching distance of 50-200 meters between 200-500 meters distance between Turkish soldiers and ANZAC trenches, even 5-10 meters in some places. Otago battalion and 64th Regiment 1. The battalions were thus close together. 


The biggest problem for ANZAC soldiers at the end of the Monash Valley was the snipers.The sniper’s bullet aimed on soldier suddenly , when sometimes they were resting or walking.This region was filled with dead and wounded. General Bridges, Australian Division Commander, who was seriously injured by one of these bullets, died three days later.This death was one of the biggest losses of ANZAC. After the Turkish attack on April 27 and May 1, the smell of soldiers who had been shot dead between positions was unbearable. With the warming of the air and the effect of the winds that were moving towards them, this turned out to be an unbearable zeal for the ANZAC.Fly flies and insects were everywhere. The roads that were transported on the supply line were under the control of the Turks.The supplies were about run out.An attack plan was made on May 2. According to this plan, the Otago battalion commanded by Colonel A. Moore would turn right from Monash Valley’s right side and join to 13.Battalion and attack the Baby 700. This meticulously prepared program was passed away of the soldiers’ night-time inexperience, their rugged appearance and the late arrival of Otago Battalion’s 13th Battalion.Bombardment was started at 07:00 p.m. Otago Battalion was late nearly one and half an hour to make an attack however it was started at 08.45 p.m. After reaching the target place Otago Battalion got back when 64th Regiment Battalion1 attacked. Their own artillery shot them by mistake. The Dead and wounded soldiers was flowing into the valley and it was impossible to walk between them. The bursts of the bullets, the rifle’s deafening ears, and the cries of the wounded were terrifying.The battle field was full of soldiers. The soldiers who ran to the left and right were unaware of what they were doing. Discipline was completely lost., Otago Battalion Cavalry Corporal George Thomas Uren was seriously wounded and killed in this attack on May 2. His life that started in Otago on April 2, 1887, ended where he came here for the first time from thousands of miles away , in Çanakkale on May 2, 1915. The Otago Daily Times , dated on June 24 ,1915,was news about death of Mr.and Mrs Uren’s second son George Thomas Uren ,aged 28. The Otago Witness newspaper ,dated on June 23 1915,was news about death of George Thomas Uren with his photograph.The Otago Daily Times newspaper,dated on June 24 ,1915,was news like that “Mr.and Mrs.Uren’s second son George Thomas Uren,aged 28, died in Gallipoli War on May 2. He put forward his life for the king and his country”.On 2 May 1915, the body of George Thomas Uren, who was killed in an attack , waited for a while before being buried in a region between Monash Valley and Chunuk Bair – he was buried in the Lone Pine monument and cemetery.


64. Regiment 1st Battalion, Yusuf and Ali together with their friends have put a great fight in the attack on Otago Battalion onMay 2, 3 May. There were many martyrs waiting to be buried and many wounded waiting to be rescued in the region. While Ali was helping the burial, he saw a handkerchief on the floor and put it in his pocket thinking that maybe it would be necessary, he kept doing his job. This handkerchief, found by Turkish soldier, belonged to New Zealander George Thomas Uren, who died on the battlefield.(On one corner , “George Thomas Uren, April 2, 1915” is written on the other side of the handkerchief “on his 28th birthday to his mother George”).


Bloody handkerchief; “George Thomas Uren” April 2, 1915” on the corner. On a corner of the handkerchief is written “George to his mother on the 28th birthday”


After ANZAC attack on August 6,the 64.Regiment commanded by Leiutenant Colonel taked march to Chunuk Bair on August 7.

The goal was to reach Chunuk Bair before the New Zealanders , to reinforce the little troops who were here. Finally, the 64. Regiment took the region from Düztepe to Chunuk Bair before the New Zealanders.In the morning of August 8, the New Zealanders started attacking Chunuk Bair again.The 64.Regiment took empty places tactical for a while to defend themself from New Zealender’s shoting.The offensive of 64. Regiment did not reach to New Zealenders place, despite that they prevented them from reaching to Chunuk Bair.

During these bloody collisions on August 8, Yusuf was heavily injured in his chest and head. Ali saw him injuring and ran for helping him.He took handkerchief from his pocked and suppressed on injuring chest but blood did not stop.Yusuf was breathing very hard .Yusuf pointed on the handkerchief which was on his injuring chest and “Take it to my wife please and tell to them for giving blessing to me ,”said to Ali and kept quiet….. He smiled at this loyal friend helplessly waiting in the tears.


Goch Yusuf’s grandson Nazmi Öz


Muradın Ali Biga, who had been discharged after the Gallipoli Campaign, set out to return to his village.

While passing Hajıpehlivan village he came home to give Goch Yusuf’s ….. He knocked the door.
A woman with the child in her arms opened the door. Ali could not say anything, the words knotted in his throat,he bent his head down…

He took out his handkerchief in his pocket and gave it to the woman. Goch Yusuf’s wife took the handkerchief, saying “For God and the country” …

This trust, which has been preserved and transferred from the beginning to the day,

Yusuf Öz, named after his martyr grandfather, wrote the note on the handkerchief “Abbam’s (Grandfather) Gift 25/12/1980” .

When Yusuf Oz passed away, the handkerchief was left to his son Nazmi Oz. Muradın Ali returned to the Koruoba village after giving the trust. He met his family. He continued his farming. He did not get salary or medals from the state like many veterans. Ali KOCAMAN the other name Muradin Ali passed away on April 15, 1962. The tomb is in Koruba village cementry.


   At Muradın Ali’s cemetery  in Koruba village

Yes, it is not possible to defeat the human soul indeed.

Somewhere it continues to live in some way.


As Turkish Military Historian, Gallipoli veteran officer Bursalı Mehmed Nihad said, “Like all historic wars, the Gallipoli Campaign has shown that the main things are humanity and especially the spirituality.” The War has left many memories, pains and tears. The object, which was appeared after years, is a bridge between past and present and turning into knotty hiccup in our throat. Then we can see that a mother’s tears ting are as same as tings thousands kilometres distance away .



The two hearts is in the groun of Çanakkale … One of them have been a rose … one of them have been weasel

Loss of hope was wripped away in handkerchief…

There was left a bloody memorial behind …..


This research was conducted by Ömer Arslan and published in Turkish language the first on 24.01.2017 on Turkish Gallipoli campaign website . All rights of this researching and article belong to Ömer Arslan. Without permission it can not be republished by changing all or part of them.)


Documents and photographs of Uren











                          Uren’in ölüm haberi













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