The Australian Numismatic Society
Mysteries of ANZAC banknotes
By Shlomo Tepper
Translated by Amos Fabian
During the early stages of the war, Australian forces operated in Iraq,
and a portion of the Australian airborne corps assisted the British
forces in the region. Some of the Australian POWs, who died in Turkish
captivity, are also buried in Iraq.
The corps included 16 Australian battalions, four New Zealand
battalions and a few soldiers from India and Nepal. The soldiers left
Egypt on March 7, 1915 and sailed to Gallipoli in 150 ships. The goal
of the invasion of Gallipoli was twofold: to confine the Turkish army
to Gallipoli, thus easing the pressure on German troops in the western
front by Germany sending reinforcements to the Turkish troops, and to
conquer Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The corps landed in Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 and fought difficult
battles against the Turkish army. The number of fatalities was huge.
About 36,000 soldiers from the British expeditionary force died in the
Gallipoli campaign. ANZAC suffered 8,000 dead and 18,000 injured.
British high command realized within a few months, that the price is
hefty and there are slim chances to penetrate Turkish army lines and
advance toward Constantinople, and decided to withdraw. The corps
withdrew from Gallipoli in two waves, the first on Dec. 9-10, 1915; the
second in January 1916.
The Australian and New Zealander soldiers returned to Egypt and trained
in advance of the invasion of Palestine. On Jan. 9, 1917, British and
ANZAQ troops headed toward Palestine, under the command of General
Edmund Allenby. The army stopped south of Gaza, near the villages of
Rafah (probably Rafiach), Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah. On Oct. 31,
1917, Beer Sheva was conquered, followed by Jerusalem on Dec. 9, 1917.
Limited military operations took place between December 1917 and
September 1918. Such operations intensified in September 1918 and
concluded with the truce signed on Dec. 12, 1918. While the battles
ended, Palestine remained under military rule until determining its
political status. During the San Remo conference, April 25, 1920,
Britain was given a mandate over Eretz Israel.
Disagreements and Conclusions Concerning the ANZAC Banknotes
These were banknotes worth 10 shillings and 1 pound sterling,
overprinted in Turkish using Arabic letters. On the 10-shillings
overprint, the Turkish stated that the banknote was worth 60 Turkish
pennies in silver' while the 1 pound sterling banknotes stated it was
worth 120 Turkish pennies in silver (There was a difference between
money with golden nominal values vs. silver nominal values). The
banknotes included the signature of John Bradbury and the banknotes
were shipped from London to Malta and Alexandria.
Time of Issuance
According to Haim Langelban, in a publication by the Association of
Banknotes, Coins and Medal Collectors in Israel, issuance took place
one day after ANZAC soldiers landed in Gallipoli, i.e. April 26, 1915.
According to British Treasury document number T1/11863, the issuance
was executed in May-June 1915. This version supports the answer Shlomo
Tepper received from Dr. John Bullen of the Imperial War Museum in
London, Dec. 12, 2001. Dr. Bullen examined Inland Revenue documents and
found that the issuance took place on May 21, 1915. His letter further
supports the claim that the banknotes were shipped to Malta and
Purpose of Issuance
The Gallipoli front, since they had no military canteens, to purchase
whatever they need from local residents.According to Benjamin White, in
his book "The Currency of the Great War, published in 1921, these
banknotes were issued after the British received a protectorate over
Egypt in December 1914, for the use of the whole British army in
Duration of Use of the Banknotes
The soldiers interviewed by Fred Philipson recounted different versions
as to the duration of the use of these banknotes. One soldier stated
that the banknotes were distributed to them in Gallipoli but collected
from them 3 days later, when it became clear that they couldn't come in
contact with the locals in warzones. Another soldier stated they were
never paid while in Gallipoli for lack of canteens or local stores in
the warzones. He said they were paid upon return to Egypt in Egyptian
currency. In other words, there were no "Gallipoli banknotes." A third
soldier, an officer, stated that banknotes were distributed in
Gallipoli but removed from circulation a week later, when it became
clear that the Gallipoli battles will not lead to desired results and
what he termed "the Gallipoli episode" was temporary.
Where the Banknotes were Used
According to a number of soldiers, the banknotes were to be used in the
Gallipoli front. One soldier said they were used not in Gallipoli but
in Palestine after it was conquered in the beginning of 1918. Arnold
Keller, in his book "Das Papiergeld des Ersten Weltkrieges," published
in Berlin- Wittenau in 1957, claimed that the banknotes were used since
1916, first in Gallipoli and then in Iraq and Palestine.
According to official document number 73A, published by the British
government in Palestine on Dec. 12, 1918 and signed by Herbert Samuel,
a wide variety of European payment methods were allowed to be used
(French, German, Italian, English), alongside Egyptian and Turkish
payment methods (see Sylvia Haffner, The History of Modern
Israel's Money 1917-1970, first published in 1967, page 166).
Among the English banknotes mentioned was the pound sterling worth
97.50 Egyptian pennies, and a one-shilling banknote worth 1.85 Egyptian
pennies. There was no mention of the existence of overprinting English
banknotes of any kind.
The existence of banknotes worth 10 shillings and 1 pound sterling,
overprinted in Turkish, is a fact.
Seemingly, some of the ANZAC soldiers received these banknotes, but
they were not used for lack of local residents in warzones with whom
they could trade. These banknotes were probably issued not just for the
use of ANZAC soldiers, but for all of the soldiers serving under His
Majesty King George V, who appears on these banknotes, throughout the
region conquered from Turkey. British Treasury document number
T1/11863T clearly stated that the banknotes were for the use of the
British Navy and Land Expeditionary Force in the Middle East. The
document stated that issuance was executed because of shortage in
payment methods in occupied areas and it stands to reason that the
issuance took place May-June 1915. If they were used in Egypt, it was
only for a short while because a decision was made to use Egyptian
money, while in Palestine they were just one payment method among
others, not the most important one. Philipson thought that a few of
these banknotes remained with the battalions' adjutancy, received in
Gallipoli and, perhaps, used in Palestine. Egyptian payment methods
were more popular in Egypt and Palestine.
The "Gallipoli Banknotes" or "ANZAC Banknotes," probably received these
nicknames later because they were first sent to ANZAC soldiers in
Gallipoli. Regardless of whether the banknotes were in use, it was
definitely a unique issuance, rare numismatic items for banknote\
"The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money," 4th edition, catalogued
the banknotes (without overprinting) as follows: 107 – 10 shilling
banknote, 108 – a banknote of 1 pound sterling.
These banknotes were mentioned in the Turkish department, titled:
"Banknotes under British Occupation during WWI" (these banknotes
included the Turkish overprinting) numbered as follows: M1 – a
10-shilling banknote, M2 – a banknote of 1 pound sterling.
Sylvia Haffner, The History of Modern Israel’s Money 1917-1970, 1976
Samuel Lachman, Some Remarks about the Galipoli Notes, IBNS, Vol. 15,
no. 3, 1976
Fred Philipson, Research on the Galipoli Notes, IBNS, Vol. 10, no. 4,
Fred Philipson, More Remarks on the Galipoli Notes Issue, IBNS, vol.15
no. 4, 1976
Letter - Dr. John Bullen, Imperial War Museum, London, to Shlomo
Tepper, 12 12.01
Letter - Malcolm Shemmonds, Bank of England, to Shlomo Tepper, 17.12.01
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