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A Chaplain at Gallipoli

Gavin Roynon

 

 

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In early May 1915, Padre Kenneth Best sailed with the 42nd East Lancashire Division to Gallipoli to join the Allied land invasion of Turkey. Many chaplains were not permitted near the front line but Best insisted on accompanying his troops. Thrust abruptly into the maelstrom, he fulfilled his pastoral role of building up morale, tending the wounded and burying the dead. As the toll of casualties rose ever higher, he became increasingly critical of the British high command, few of whom shared his insight into the horrific realities of trench warfare.

 

Kenneth Best witnessed at first hand the gallantry and indomitable spirit of the Allied troops, which shine through the pages of his extraordinary diaries. Their heroism is perhaps the one redeeming feature of this disastrous campaign, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Above all, Kenneth Best's candid and compelling diaries show how the tragedy of Gallipoli did not lie in its conception, but in its execution.

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