Godley's Map of Gallipoli

Map of Gallipoli, with extra topographical colouration and annotations.Image 1: Map of Gallipoli, known as ‘Godley’ map of Gallipoli. Egypt: War Office, Geographical Section, 1915. Scale 1: 40,000. Ref: 388.7hkm 1915 48724.

This map tells a story about attempting to make do with out-of-date published geographic and tactical military information and it illustrates the developing situation in the days just prior to and after the Gallipoli landings on 25th April 1915. Major General Godley and his intelligence staff enhanced a published topographic map using watercolour and ink notes with contemporaneous up-to-date geographic and tactical information as it came to hand, making it a distinctive artefact relating to the Gallipoli landings in the Alexander Turnbull Library Cartographic Collection.

Map of Gallipoli scale 1:40,000 “was simply the best available”

This published map was “simply the best available” in early 1915, according to Chasseaud and Doyle in their book Grasping Gallipoli: terrain, maps and failure at the Dardanelles, 1915, because the Allies had not expected to put ground forces in Turkey.

The main shortcoming of this 1915 map of Gallipoli was its basis in the War Office’s 1908 map, which was at a smaller one inch per mile (1: 63, 360) scale and showed generalized topographic detail.

The Office appears not to have had access to a more detailed (albeit 50 year old) 1854 French survey map. Such shortcomings manifested themselves in the map as increased intervals between contour lines and apparent coastline changes, which were probably due to coastal erosion.

Group portrait of GOC Godley with officers of New Zealand and Australian Division, 1915.Major General Alexander Godley, General Officer Commanding, with staff and senior officers New Zealand and Australian Division, Egypt, 1915. Ref: 1/2-031569-F.

Despite this, you can see that Godley and his intelligence staff initially found that the map was sufficiently detailed for recognisance and general planning purposes, and made use of it by marking on additional information.

Manuscript additions and annotations

In image 2 below, you can see that intelligence staff used cross-hatching in red-brown watercolour to show the high ground and high points and noted in ink movements of ANZAC forces and tactical intelligence about opposing forces.

In an interview about this map Dr Chris Pugsley talked about some details that were added by Godley and his staff just prior to and up to a few days after 25th April landings, visible in image 2 but not in image 3 (which shows the map without the additions):

...and you see a series of lines and not quite erasures but where he’s finally finished up marking a line where he thinks is where the Anzac position is and what becomes interesting is that line is then brought back as in fact happens on the night of the 25th, morning of the 26th, when they realise they’ve lost Baby 700 and you can see him drawing in what becomes the boundary between the New Zealand and Australian Division and the first Australian division just above the second two and that becomes the divisional boundary...

– Excerpt from interview with Dr. Chris Pugsley, 9 June 2006, about map of Gallipoli used by Major General Godley. Ref: OHColl-0916-01.

Detail of the map of Gallipoli, with extra topographical colouration and annotations.Image 2: Map detail with ink lines indicating movement of the ANZAC forces on first few days after landings. Watercolour cross-hatching emphasizing terrain details such as slope and peaks.

Partial map of Gallipoli, without extra colouration.Image 3: Detail of the original published map with contours and spot heights, with some notes about ANZAC forces made by Captain Thomas Ritchie Map of Gallipoli. Ref: MSO-Papers-3705-2.

Image 4 is a crop of the map showing quadrants to the south east of ANZAC Cove, with the kind of additional details that Godley’s intelligence staff added about strategic positions, orientation and strength of the Turkish forces.

Around the ‘Strong defensive line’ of the Turkish forces, written in blue ink, is information like ‘about 8 tents some large !Headquarters’, ‘Big camp, 700 tents’, ‘4 gun battery’, ‘infantry redoubt’, ‘the whole valley strongly entrenched’, and ‘Gun emplacements facing W. occupied. NW empty’.

Detail of the map of Gallipoli, with annotations indicating strategic positions.Image 4: Additional details indicating known locations of strategic positions around 25th April 1915.

Detail of the map of Gallipoli, without annotations.Image 5: Original published map without such strategic details.

Dr. Pugsley further commented that the Godley map was probably not used after the first couple of days, because the scale was too small. In the face of medium to strong opposing ground forces, Godley would have found that this Map of Gallipoli wasn’t detailed enough to record the continuing changing details of manoeuvring and positioning his troops and the opposing forces.


Because the map was only used for the first couple of days, Dr Pugsley suggested that the map was probably folded up and put away, eventually being brought home in a staff officer’s individual gear rather than with other official documents. This Map of Gallipoli therefore didn’t become part of the official record, unlike other documents, including maps which are kept at Archives New Zealand.

It was purchased by the Turnbull on the 8th June 2006 from Portobello Antiques, along with 2 other maps of Gallipoli. It has become known as the Godley Map of Gallipoli and bears his signature at the top as shown in image 6.

Detail showing Major General Alexander Godley’s signature on the top of the map.Image 6: Major General Alexander Godley’s signature on the top of the map.

There are other similarly augmented examples of this map of Gallipoli in institutions such as the United Kingdom’s National Archives and the Australian War Memorial.

We know this much of this map’s story. If you have any further information, email me and let me know!

Further reading

P Chassseaud & P Doyle, Grasping Gallipoli : terrain, maps and failure at the Dardanelles, 1915. Steplehurst, UK. Spellmount, 2005.

Dr. Chris Pugsley, discussion of a map of Gallipoli used by Major General Godley, interviewed by Dave Small, 9 June 2006. Alexander Turnbull Library Oral History Collection. Ref: OHColl-0916-01

By Mark Bagnall

Mark is Curator, Cartographic Collection, at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

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Michael Brown April 16th at 10:26AM

Thanks for your blog Mark, that map tells a very interesting story.