Leading military historian searching for letters from Gallipoli

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Professor Glyn Harper

In April 1915, the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli to engage in a battle that would shape the culture of both nations for decades to come.

Now, leading military historian Professor Glyn Harper is seeking to recover the experience of ordinary New Zealand soldiers by editing the first collection of letters from Gallipoli.

"Seeing the Gallipoli campaign through their eyes as the soldiers described it in their letters home reveals a great deal about this campaign,” Professor Harper says. “The letters tell us much about key events, like the landing and the seizure of Chunuk Bair in August 1915, and the terrible living conditions they had to endure."

Professor Harper is the director of the Centre for Defence Studies and Professor of War Studies.

As well as working through letters already in New Zealand archives, he is keen to hear from people who hold letters from soldiers who served at Gallipoli.

"This is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of these crucial events by hearing from the soldiers on the ground."

Those who contribute letters chosen to feature in the book will receive a free copy of the publication and will be invited to attend its eventual launch. Professor Harper will also provide advice on how these letters should be properly stored to avoid damage and on appropriate archives in which to deposit the original copies, should such advice be wanted.

Letters from Gallipoli will be published by Auckland University Press in 2011, commemorating the 95th anniversary of the ending of the Gallipoli campaign.

 

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