Turkey was drawn into the war on Germany's side. With stagnation on the Western Front, the Allied forces considered opening up an Eastern Front around the Mediterranean Sea. It was important to the Allies that the routes to the Black Sea (and to Russia) remained open. Winston Churchill, the first Lord of the Admiralty planned to take eastern Turkey and the Dardanelles Straits which led to the Black Sea. Initially a naval battle, the fleet met with greater than expected Turkish resistance and Allied troops consisting of British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces were sent in to break the deadlock.
Regular Irish soldiers including 1st Royal Munster, 1st Royal Dublin and 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were among the 75,000 troops who assaulted a series of beaches along the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. High cliffs overlooking the beaches provided the Turkish with a strong defence. The campaign was a major disaster for the Allies and after eight months they were forced to withdraw to Egypt.
Corporal William Cosgrove, from the Royal Munster Fusiliers was one of a number of Irish soldiers to win a Victoria Cross during the Gallipoli offensive.