21 April 2009

Family Discoveries in the Dardanelles

This Saturday in Australia, we will commemorate ANZAC day. I will be thinking about Arthur Tom Ginn who was born in Finsbury, London at 1.45 in the morning on 27 December 1892. He died in the Ottoman Empire on 25 April 1915, aged 22.

Arthur was in the first battalion of the Border Regiment and his service number was 10399.

He is mentioned somewhere on Panel 119 to 125 or 222 and 223 of the Helles Memorial, an obelisk at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Arthur is listed there along with more than 21,000 other names.

Arthur is the cheeky little boy in the front row of the 1901 family portrait in the right hand column of this blog. His sister Annie (top left) was my great grandmother.

I do not know much more about Arthur's short life though I think he may have become a regular soldier before the war began. I don't even know if his name is on a memorial anywhere in London or near to his regiment's museum at Carlisle Castle.

In 1985, I helped to steer a ship across the Dardanelles towards Troy (there will be more on this topic in my Continual Journeys blog). I did not know anything about Arthur at that time.

What can the history of the Dardanelles tell us about the relationship between human behaviour and geography? What might a deeper understanding of this relationship tell us about how our ancestors related to other people?

Update - November 2009:

I now have a picture of Arthur.  A very handsome young man he was, too. You can see him now in the right hand column of this blog. I recently found the picture in one of my grandmother's photograph albums. 

Update - December 2014:

There has already been a great deal of information in the media over the past year about the First World War.  With the centenary of the Gallipoli landings to occur on 25 April 2015, my thoughts will be on the experiences of my great uncle Arthur.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.