There were two positions named Hill 60 by the British in WW1 (the ‘60’ stands for 60 meters in elevation). The more famous Hill 60 is in the Ypres Salient in Belgium, it was fought over and tunneled under for 2 ½ years up until May, 1917. The subject of the 2010 Australian movie Beneath Hill 60, today there are monuments to units that fought there, an intact German blockhouse at the top and a special mine crater off to the right (known as ‘The Caterpillar’), but there is no Memorial to the Missing  (or even a cemetery) on the site.

So we move on to the other Hill 60, which is on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. On August 22nd, 1915 an attack was mounted against this position, really not a hill but a ridge at the northern end of the Sari Bair mountain range. It was strategically important for two reasons: first, running immediately below it was a seasonal stream course where there were some wells (water was always in short supply at Gallipoli), and second, it offered the Turks observation over the landing area at Suvla Bay, making any attempt to advance out of there difficult.

The attack was mounted by an ad hoc force included two battalions of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (without horses), two battalions of British, three battalions of Australians and two battalions of Gurkhas. Since by this time most battalions on the peninsula were at half-strength or less, these nine could only muster about 3,000 rifles.  The result of seven days of hard fighting was a stalemate. Some of the wells were captured and a position was established in the trenches on the forward slope of Hill 60 which the Turks were disinclined to dislodge. This stayed the same until the evacuation of the whole force in December. This attack was the last offensive action mounted by the British at Gallipoli.

New Zealand Expeditionary Force Badge

New Zealand Expeditionary Force Badge

There are 788 burials in the Hill 60 cemetery; 712 are unknown. The Memorial to the Missing was erected in 1923 and bears 183 names, all New Zealanders. This makes it the third smallest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial to the Missing from WW1. In the war 18,166 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded, out of about 98,000 who served overseas, this from a country with a 1914 population of about 1.1 million. There are 4,779 commemorated on CWGC memorials.

Visiting the Hill 60 Memorial today is a sort of living history experience because it involves an 800 meter-long hike up to the top, much like that accomplished by the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles in 1915.

James (“Jim”) Patton BS BA MPA is a retired state official from Shawnee, Kansas and a frequent contributor to several WW1 e-publications, including "Roads to the Great War," "St. Mihiel Tripwire," "Over the Top" and "Medicine in the First World War." He has spent many hours walking the WW1 battlefields, and is also an authority on British regiments and a collector of their badges. An Army Engineer during the Vietnam War, he does work for the US World War 1 Centennial Commission and has memberships in the WW1 Historical Association, the Western Front Association, the Indian Military Historical Society and the Salonika Campaign Society.