One of the many victims of ‘The War to End All Wars’ was William Yonge Radcliffe, the only surviving son of Arthur Radcliffe, former rector of the village of Rockbourne. Second-Lieutenant Radcliffe died on 19th August 1915 in Gallipoli. Feeling the need to memorialise him his grieving parents made a donation to Salisbury Infirmary to build a large balcony on Radnor Ward. The balcony enabled recovering military patients to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. The rather frail looking structure served its purpose for many years and was finally dismantled around 1963.
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The Gallipoli peninsula is located in the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. The Gallipoli campaign was one of the Allies great disasters in World War One. In early 1915, attempting to seize a strategic advantage by capturing Constantinople (modern Istanbul), the British authorised an attack on the peninsula. Total Allied deaths were 43,000 British, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders and 1,370 Indians. Total Turkish deaths were around 60,000. New Zealanders suffered the highest percentage of Allied deaths when compared with population size, but the percentage of Turkish deaths was almost twice theirs.
Incredibly a letter survives, in The Imperial War Museum archives, from Private Papers of A G Scott written to the parents of 2nd Lieutenant William Yonge Radcliffe. It describes in detail the death of their son at Gallipoli in August 1915 in one of the offshoots of the Sazli Beit Dere, Sari Bair. A party of their regiment, the 5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (40th Brigade, 13th Division), including both Scott and Radcliffe were trapped between the lines following the Turkish counter-attack on Chunuk Bair on 10 August for fifteen days. Scott was able to get help, giving details of the party’s privations, encounters with Turkish patrols and the suffering and death of most of the wounded. Together with copies of Radcliffe’s obituary in the Roll of Honour and the DSO citation of Captain J W Greany who led the rescue party following Scott’s return both of which corroborate the events described in the letter. Source: www.iwm.org.uk/collections