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The Dardanelles Commission was an investigation into the disastrous 1915 Dardanelles Campaign. It was set up under the Special Commissions (Dardanelles and Mesopotamia) Act 1916.

Winston Churchill had been largely blamed for the failures of the British forces during the campaign since as First Lord of the Admiralty he had been responsible for instigating the plan and obtaining Cabinet approval to carry it out. Churchill had been forced to resign as First Lord when the First Sea Lord (most senior admiral) himself resigned because of escalating disagreements between himself and Churchill in May 1915. Churchill continued as part of the Dardanelles Committee (the war cabinet) which administered the campaign in the capacity of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but was obliged to resign from this post also in November 1915. For a time he took up a position as a brigade commander on the Western Front (while remaining a member of parliament). He returned to parliament in 1916, where he attempted to rehabilitate his reputation, when the brigade was amalgamated with another.

Churchill sought to obtain the release of government papers which he felt would vindicate his own actions. In May Bonar Law had indicated on behalf of the prime minister that this might be possible, but by June the prime minister Asquith had decided it could not be done. Matters were complicated by the death of general Kitchener, who had been Secretary of State for War, on 6 June 1916. Instead, Asquith agreed to the setting up of a Commission of Enquiry into the affair, which was announced 18 July 1916. The Earl of Cromer, who was known to Churchill, was to be the chairman. Churchill anticipated that he would be able to attend meetings of the commission, but in the event these were held in secret. Instead he had to be content with giving evidence himself in September, and arranging for other witnesses he felt important to be heard by the commission. [1]

Kitchener was portrayed as a national hero following his drowning in the north sea on a trip to Russia. This meant that it became part of the good conduct of the war for those involved not to tarnish his reputation. This restricted the information both Churchill and Sir Ian Hamilton (the general in command in the Dardanelles) felt they could give to the tribunal. [2][3]

Witnesses of those involved in the expedition were interviewed, with its final report issued in 1919. It concluded that the expedition was poorly planned and executed and that difficulties had been underestimated, problems which were exacerbated by supply shortages and by personality clashes and procrastination at high levels.

The report is not seen as having had any measurable further impact on people's careers.[4] [5]

Appointees

The following were appointed[6]

References

  1. ^ Jenkins p.313-315
  2. ^ Jenkins p. 314
  3. ^ Carlyon p. 541
  4. ^ First Word War.com
  5. ^ (Abstract)First report (of the Dardanelles Commission);British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service
  6. ^ From: 'Appendix 1', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 10: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1870-1939 (1995), pp. 85-8. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=16611. Date accessed: 12 August 2007.
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