Sunday, 14 January 2018


Yesterday I went to see the brilliant new film about Churchill, The Darkest Hour, Like the stage play, Three Days in May, which covers the same early days of Churchill's premiership, they both indicate that Chamberlain saved Churchill's career when he could so easily have been ousted by a vote of no confidence.

The film does not prevaricate about how much Churchill was disliked and mistrusted, not least by the King, and one of the charges that is held against him is the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War. In the film Churchill (briefly) defends his role in proposing the Gallipoli and Dardanelles campaign.

I first read Alan Moorehead's brillianat Gallipoli when I was a schoolboy in the 1960s so was very pleased to have the opportunity to publish the large print edition when it was reissued with an introduction by Sir Max Hastings to coincide with the centenary of the campaign. 

What Moorehead, regarded as probably the best war correspondent of the second world war, established was that, despite the appalling military errors associated with the campaign, it so nearly succeeded. The Turks were convinced the British navy were about to succeed in breaking through that Consantinople was twice evacuated.

Part of the genius of TE Lawrence was that he understood the importance of intelligence and had sources deep behind enemy lines feeding back vital information. Such intelligence on the Gallipoli peninsular might have changed the course of the war.

Gallipoli is seen as a great Churchill failure but not many people know that at the time of the Armistice in 1918 a new assault on the Dardanelles was being planned by the Royal Navy.

We have both hardback and paperback editions of Alan Moorehead's Gallipoli available here.

Incidentally, the night before seeing The Darkest Hour, I watched a DVD of the film Dunkirk and was greatly disappointed: The Darkest Hour gives a much better account of what the mass evacuation and military disaster entailed.