It was described as a second Flodden with one hellish 20-minute spell of carnage alone costing the lives of 553 Border soldiers.
Now a new book about the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign has been published to help raise funds to enable pupils from Kelso High School to visit some of the First World War battlefields.
Kelso Provost John Bassett is the author of the book, entitled ‘Lest We Forget: The Gallipoli Campaign and its impact on Kelso and the Borders’.
Mr Bassett is also co-ordinating a fund-raising effort to pay for a permanent memorial in the town to mark the sacrifice of 41 men from Kelso who were killed at Gallipoli, in time for the campaign’s 100th anniversary next July.
The book is available in a DVD format, priced £5 per copy, and with all monies going to help fund the battlefield visits.
As for the new memorial listing the names of the 41 soldiers from the 4th (Border) Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, killed at Gallipoli, it will be officially unveiled on July 12, 2015 - exactly 100 years to the bloodiest day of the campaign for the Borderers. The unveiling will also coincide with the first day of next summer’s Kelso Civic Week.
Mr Bassett informed local community councillors that the firm of Robertson Memorials would be commissioned to produce the memorial at a reduced price of £1,300.
The memorial would be of white Portland stone similar to that used for Commonwealth War Graves headstones and a site had been identified which was agreed with the Royal British Legion.
In the introduction to his book, Mr Bassett explains it was when he became Provost of Kelso in 2013, that his interest in local soldiers who served in the Gallipoli campaign was first sparked.
He said: “One of my first duties was the Kirkin’ of the Kelso Laddie, and, subsequently, laying a wreath at the Kelso War Memorial to the memory of the Kelso men killed on July 12, 1915, in Gallipoli.
“As I had not heard of this action before, I started looking around the town for some sort of memorial to these men.
“But the only reference I could find to this bloody First World War episode was the unofficial name for the lower part of Bowmont Street, leading into The Square, which is known locally as The Dardanelles. No formal memorial as ever been erected in the town.”
Mr Bassett started researching the campaign histories and war diaries of the 4th Bn, KOSB and that of the 155th (South Scottish) Brigade, as well as the dispatches of General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
And Mr Bassett adds: “As part of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the British and Scottish Governments have urged us to commemorate a particular date which has meaning to our community.
“I now hope to bring the Gallipoli Campaign and the day, 12th July 1915, to the forefront of the town’s commemorations and have a permanent memorial erected in Kelso.”
As for the funding of battlefield visits for local secondary pupils, Mr Bassett says it is important youngsters can experience for themselves the poignancy of such sites.
“I feel it is vital that young people learn of what people went through during this conflict and the sacrifice made by local men,” he told The Southern.