This Is Local LondonAppeal for Gallipoli memorial (From This Is Local London)

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Appeal for Gallipoli memorial

This Is Local London: A soldier pays his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place A soldier pays his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place

The designer of a memorial to the Gallipoli campaign has appealed for help to fund a facelift of the work ahead of the 99th anniversary of one of the First World War's bloodiest battles.

The memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire was designed and built by UK-based Turkish architect Nadir Imamoglu in 2004.

It commemorates the campaign, launched on April 25, 1915, to capture a peninsular guarding the Dardanelles Strait in what is modern-day Turkey.

Now seen by many as one of the Allies' greatest disasters, it i nvolved more than 500,000 Allied troops - including 410,000 British soldiers - and was carried out between April 1915 and January 1916. As well as troops from Britain and Turkey, there were forces from France, Australia and New Zealand.

The fighting cost 58,000 Allied lives, with another 196,000 wounded or sick, and at least as many victims among the Turkish defenders.

Mr Imamoglu volunteered to create the memorial ten years ago. He said: "The Arboretum was a new project and Commander David Childs, who was the founder of the NMA, needed all the help he could get."

He said t he central glass mosaic map of the Gallipoli peninsula needed to be redone. T he map is in the centre of a treble-arched frame with two wings showing four different plates, each containing a different message.

The messages include a summary of the Gallipoli campaign , a map of Gallipoli showing its position in Turkey, Europe and the world and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk' s speech of forgiveness in Turkish and in English. Ataturk is credited as the founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president.

Mr Imamoglu, from Essington, Wolverhampton, said: "To make the glass map, I glued on small pieces of glass onto the larger clear plate glass, one by one using mosaic technique. Bits of glass haven't yet fallen but I would like to replace the existing glass map."

The 67-year-old, who funded the memorial personally, said he would be able to create a new map where small coloured pieces of glass will be fused to the clear glass background by baking it in a kiln.

He added: "When I first did this, I tried to find a kiln but there wasn't a kiln available that was big enough so I was forced to use an alternative method. But I've now found a Liverpool company with a kiln large enough and who manufacture coloured glass as well."

To upgrade the current map, Mr Imamoglu needs £2,500, though he has been given a grant of £500 by Gallipoli 100, an initiative by the Gallipoli Association. Gallipoli 100 aims to commemorate the campaign and to encourage local communities to get involved in the group's work to remember it.

There will be a memorial service of remembrance for Anzac Day held at the NMA's Gallipoli memorial tomorrow at 11.30am.

Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and the date is important because it marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

The designer hopes to raise the money by the end of summer so that he can begin work on the upgrade before the 100th anniversary of the campaign next year.

Anyone interested in donating to the memorial refurbishment can contact Mr Imamoglu via email at imamoglu@live.co.uk.

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