Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

From Australia to Gallipoli, ca. 1916 / Dudley V. Walford
MLMSS 982/Item 2

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The Call

Soldiers, Australian soldiers!
Have you heard your country’s call?
Soldiers, Australian soldiers!
Old England requires you all,
The bugle calls, the bugle calls!
The answer.

Oh most assured, we’ve heard the call
And for the flag fray are ready
We are prepared to fight and fall
Our hearts and nerves are steady,
We are of afraid of cannon shell
Or gun or shrapnel fire
Yes, we’ll fight on, for we know all
what you of us require
We’ll go to meet and fight the foe
We’ll fight for right and glory
and If God will, we’ll come back to you
and tell the full, grand story!

A.A. [indecipherable] Sgt.

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Chapter 1

From Australia to Gallipoli

The first and second contingents of the Australian Imperial force were fine, typical Australians with their strong muscles, brawny faces, well over the average height, of a determined and adventurous disposition.

They were tired of the daily routine of an office life, industrial or country life. And when in August 1914 England declared war on Germany their imaginations were immediately raised. A spirit of rebellion and excitement fired their restless and adventurous minds. They wished to see life, the world, and real fighting of which they had heard so much of and read so much about, but the realities of which they had little or no experience, except a few Boer war veterans who were intermingled through this vast host of Australia’s manhood.

It was not good of them to join hands with England they reasoned. It was Australia’s war as much of the Mother country’s. Australia’s freedom was of more value to them than the precious air they breathed which was in grave danger of German domination.

So it happened that during the early days the flower of Australian’s manhood flocked to the barracks, and various recruiting depots, and voluntarily offered their services to their king and country.

Camps of temporary standing were erected at the most convenient localities, and every use was made of the pavilions and sheds

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From Australia to Gallipoli

attached to the race courses.

The usefulness of the compulsory Military Service Act soon became evident. All their spare equipment was immediately taken over by the authorities and distributed amongst the hurriedly mobilised troops destined for the conquest of New Guinea while the citizen forces themselves were utilised to perform the a most important duty of guarding bridges etc. which formed an excellent nucleus for their future careers. As they became of age they enlisted, and they invariably made suitable N.C.O.s and officers.

The Lithgow works were busy making the Lee Enfield rifle, and the various stores in making and distributing the various equipment and clothing.

It was only by the co-operation of all concerned that the men were supplied with uniforms, rifles, and equipment in time for their departure.

The hardships and inconveniences of miliary life were soon experienced by men of various social standings, intermingled as they were, amongst all sorts of men some of whom were not always honest and were very rough in their manners. During the early days of training the daily and monotonous repetition of rifle exercises, of forming fours by numbers etc. during all hours, and in the heat of the day, of the continual complaints, and the

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From Australia to Gallipoli

idea of so many officials often disheartened the men to such an extent that they often were inclined to give it best.

But as time passed the military strategy became more complex, more interesting Company, Battalion, and Brigade drill accompanied by sham fighting and long route marches, and a reasonable amount of practice at the rifle range greatly enlightened their intelligence and instilled more enthusiasm into their work.

Before christmas 1914 both the first and second contingents had left Australia. The various transports left the harbours independently to concentrate at Albany from which harbour they departed in three lines abreast lending to the admirable landscape a beautiful and inspiring spectacle.

The first contingent which arrived in Egypt early in december was drafted to historic Mena, a favourite halting place of Napoleon’s army during his campaign of

The second contingent arriving in Egypt early in February pitched their camps at Heliopolis, and Zeitoun, while several light horse regiments were directed to Maadi, a healthy and convenient location. As our rank and file gradually grew this through men becoming incapacitated by illness or overexertion, reinforcements arrived at intervals from Australia to fill up the vacant positions of the various units who were eventually destined for the

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From Australia to Gallipoli

conquest of Turkey.

Under conditions entirely unsuitable for military manoeuvres on account of the sandy nature of the desert, and the penetrating heat of the shining sun, the Australian troops underwent the severest and most strenuous training. A little too strenuous for some, I consider, for many were tired and worn out before the landing at Gallipoli was ever attempted.

The divisional days were the most spectacular and enduring. They were a test for the stamina, stability and discipline of the troops. Having formed up in close column at an early hour, the different units would be brilliantly marched out at the head of their respective bands with almost empty stomaches, a bare days ration and one water bottle which we were never allowed to replenish. After we had walked several miles along the roadway (i.e. if there was a roadway along that particular course) we would branch out onto the desert soil until we reached to within striking distance of the enemy’s supposed artillery position, and then the order was given "to artillery formation – move", when massive bodies of khaki uniforms would be seen in echelon formation throughout a vast expanse of desert as far as the eye could see.

When the danger from rifle fire had been reached the extended order was given and by a series of short rushes under cover of

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From Australia to Gallipoli

concentrated fire from our flanks the striking distance for a bayonet charge was reached. With a half hearted yell (for the men were always tired at this stage) the hidden position of the imagined enemy was assaulted by storm amid much excitement.

An hours spell was allowed during which time we ate our lunch. After this the fall in was sounded, and we prepared for a dreary march through the desert on our way back to camp.

A clean and brush up we were then free for a much needed spell to Heliopolis & Cairo which every night was crowded with British and Australian soldiers hurrying too and fro in search of amusement. Unfortunately amusements were scarce. There were a great many picture shows but the only variety show of any note was the "Kursaal". It was the restaurants and hotels that were mostly frequented, and consequently the streets were often very rowdy at night. During the day, however, trips down the Nile, to the obelisks, mosques, antiquities, Zoological gardens, Museums etc., occupied our time in sight seeing. Occasionally a race meeting was held under the auspicious of the military authorities. But these meetings were very seldom.

The Australians found the Egyptians polite and obliging at times, but not always strictly

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From Australia to Gallipoli

honest, and sometimes very troublesome. The Australians, however, were not always in the right as their skylarking though meant for no harm, and their familiarity caused a considerable amount of contempt, and though we were participating in the defence of their country the Egyptians had little or no time for us. Their sympathies were unanimously on the side of the Turks.

Naturally enough as months passed by the Australians wondered if the British government really considered them as a fighting force at all. At last, after months of training and of anxious waiting it was ascertained that the Australians were destined for a landing to take place somewhere in Turkey. The 3rd Brigade were the first to embark. They were followed by the remainder of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at short intervals. Each unit and brigade left independently, and by the 13th March we had all embarked for the island of Lemnos where a great number of our transports awaited final instructions to proceed to their destination.

In this well protected and sheltered harbour lay many warships, destroyers and submarines belonging to the British and French navies intermingled among the different transports bearing French, British and Australian troops who were shortly to leave for the peninsular.

Many Greek sailing vessels were sailing about while overhead the sea planes were practicing

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From Australia to Gallipoli

aerial manoeuvres lending to the once insignificant harbour a magnificent and unique spectacle of a suitable port for mercantile marine bent on commercial enterprise.

From that day that very pretty little island was to be an intermediate base for all operations of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and from time to time improvements of vast importance and great expense were made.

Hospitals were erected of weatherboard structure which presented a neat appearance. These hospitals acted as clearing stations and were very comfortably arranged with all necessities. It became, too, a resting place for regiments as they required a change from the toils of Gallipoli. The island was soon covered with masses of white tents under whose cover the men earned a well deserved rest.

Beautiful green fields suitable for suitable for sports were greatly welcomed by the men and many enjoyable hours were spent at cricket, football, or athletics which were a speedy recuperative for those destined to return to the Gallipoli peninsular.

Extensive works of a paramount importance were speedily erected. Piers and break waters were erected built up wherever necessary, and a huge condenser was built on the southern beach to make adequate the much needed water supply which was impure and causing much illness.

The population numbered roughly 45,000 souls

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From Australia to Gallipoli

arising from the eight small villages which seem to be held by the poorer classes. The houses were of meague architecture being apparently antiquated and rough built, but the exquisite sunset vividly illuminated the sky from behind with its many glorious radiating colours, blended together in a splendour unsurpassed in any other place in the world.

At Mudros, a small and insignificant township situated about four miles from Castra on the extreme south, were glorious and ancient Grecian baths the interior of which was neatly paved with white marble slabs. The water from the ever flowing wells was naturally hot, of an even temperature and gave very invigorating effect. The island was certainly most valuable & would make an ideal locality for residential flats and private houses.

At 4 p.m. on the 24th April 1915, the 3rd brigade moved slowly from its magnificent and well sheltered harbour. They were the first to make a landing. They were to be the covering force upon whom would depend the nucleus for success and victory.

This brigade was followed at intervals by others, and by noon on the following day the New Zealand and Australian division moved majestically & defiantly from its moorings as it proceeded on the way to reinforce their comrades who had then effected

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From Australia to Gallipoli

a landing successfully and were vigorously pushing ahead.

Simultaneously with landing at Gaba Tepe by the Australians, a footing was made on much the same scale at Cape Helles, the most southern point of the Gallipoli peninsular.

Deeds of unsurpassed valour and heroism were committed there just the same way as at Anzac Cove.

The most daring exploit of all was the running ashore of the from the transport ‘River Clyde". The British soldiers leaping through the broken sides straight into the well directed Turkish rifle and machine gun fire effected a marvellous landing after suffering most cruel casualties. On passing the scene at 3.30 p.m. that afternoon an excellent view was displayed of the warships and transports huddled together along the rocky Gallipoli shore. The warships partly obscured by the gloomy atmosphere were firing broadsides in quick succession into the midst of the mountains and low lying country to the rear while the many transports well out of harms way, some empty, and others loaded with troops prepared to disembark, were lying about two miles from the shore. The destroyers appeared to be moving hastily from transport to shore transporting men to land as reinforcements to their comrades.

The infantry appeared to be successfully

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From Australia to Gallipoli

advancing to the attack giving the whole much the same appearance as that seen a little further north at Gaba Tepe where only a few hours later it became our turn to reinforce our gallant heroes who were in great need of help if success was to be obtained.

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Chapter 2

Anzac Beach

It was on this rocky, mountainous land,
Midst gun fire, shrapnel and shell
That our boys landed to take a hand
In the fight, and though thousands fell,
They proved that Anzacs were brave and true,
On each cross you find a name
Who once deed for fought bravely for me and you
They and died for Australia’s fame

A little to the north of GabaTepe lies a narrow rocky beach which is scarcely one hundred yards in width. From it rise very steep hills which are well covered in grass, large boulders, and numerous small trees which give it a very rugged appearance. It was there on the 25th April 1915 that indelible deeds of bravery, of heroic sacrifice, & of mutual friendship were done by the brilliant Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. It was from these initials of these names that the word Anzac was formed. A name which shall always be honoured an heritage of honour to be handed down from generation to generation. The third Australian brigade who were officially chosen by Sir Ian Hamilton to undertake the most difficult task of effecting a landing in a foreign country against a most formidable and well prepared enemy, had been daily practising their plans of attack at Lemnos Island where they were stationed a few weeks previously. During the early dawn of April 25th this brigade who were transported in warships to within two miles of the beach, were transferred

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Anzac Beach

to torpedo destroyers which conveyed them close to the shore. They were then re-transferred to rowing boats which were under the supervision of the navy.

Barely had they touched land when the flashes from the Turkish rifles and machine guns temporarily lit up the sky. Many of our men were killed or wounded before they had left the boats, while others jumped into the water and were drowned by the weight of their packs. Those who had reached shore successfully rushed the much terrified Turks who were surprised at the terrific and swift onslaught of the Australians. The Turks were not probably in great numbers at this particular spot, and although they were well prepared along various strategic positions they did not expect a landing to take place along that very mountainous country.

They were nonplussed at the different points of landing. They appeared to be virtually surrounded, and running as fast as their legs would carry them. They retired from ridge to ridge until they were reinforced by their reserves who speedily came to their assistance from the Asiatic side.

Then terrific fighting followed during the next few days.

Throughout the morning and evening the first and second brigades reinforced the third who had during the day successfully pressed well inland and were fighting brilliantly although they had suffered most severe casualties both in officers and men. But as we were unable to make headway on account of the severe opposition, we

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Anzac Beach

retired to a marked out line running in a semi-circular contour from about a mile north of Gaba Tepe to Fisherman’s hut.

During the night the fourth Australian brigade and the New Zealand brigades came on he scene after suffering a few casualties from stray and spent bullets and participated in the dreadful onslaughts of the Turks during the 26th

The transports were standing well out to sea, but the Turks, as they brought their artillery into position, peppered the ships with shrapnel which caused them to scatter, and to anchor further out. An excellent view of the country was seen by those who were still aboard the transports. It was impossible to see the khaki uniforms against the thick, scrubby hillsides but the incessant and almost deafening rifle fire could be distinctly heard. The warships were firing with brilliant accuracy as they decimated the ranks of the Turkish reinforcements who were to be seen in thick formation at various intervals.

As the hours passed by the various units were disembarked
and on the boats and hurriedly despatched to the different positions until gradually the Turkish attacks were temporally checked, and our position was consolidated. Once our position was secured fatigue and pioneer parties were soon at work reconstructing the dreary waste of wreckage on the beach, and to bury burying our fallen soldiers and sailors.

The discarded and dead All loose equipment

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Anzac Beach

was stacked in heaps as best as the circumstances would allow. Wood and ammunition supplies, guns, food, and water were hurriedly brought ashore. Excavations and deep recesses were temporarily dug for the accommodation of the dying and wounded who were hurriedly being conveyed on stretchers from the firing line, or from whence they had fallen during the early struggle amongst the scrub on the hillsides.

After the wounded had been scientifically dressed they were embarked under hazardous difficulties, for the stretcher bearers were compelled to submerge knee deep into the water before reaching the rowing boats which were the only means of transport to the hospital ships or transports.

The forty or more transports which lay outside Anzac Cove, the drifting life boats, the discarded equipment, the disarrangement of all supplies, and the hurried confusion which met the eye during the early days can better be imagined than described.

As the fighting proceeded, and as time passed by, everything was altered. The supplies were neatly stacked, roads were dug, often by the help of Turkish prisoners, watertanks dug lighters containing most of our water supply & machinery for condensing the water which by the way was blown to pieces were erected. The innumerable dugouts excavated into the hills or built up or protected by means of beams or sandbags in a true artistic style, miniature railways

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Anzac Beach

for transportation, mule limbers being constantly unloaded and unloaded, piers of quite a substantial quality & running well out to sea, workshops for wireless telegraphy, store supply sheds, the constant clanking of the type writing machines at headquarters, and the much congested traffic of men getting water, and fatigue parties on tour of duty, recalled to mind a business quarter in a prosperous Egyptian town more than a blood soddened battlefield especially at night when the flickering lights shone from the numerous dugouts & store sheds. The beach was however was a most dangerous highway as Beachy Bill, which was the name given to the Turkish gun skilfully concealed in Olive Grove, was constantly and unmercifully causing enormous casualties amongst our men operating on the beach. Shells of all calibres were from time to time pelted right among the stores and dugouts, and at times it was impossible to carry on with work which had to be suspended at intervals.

At the northern and southern end of the beach was situated the most pathetic of all sites - the graveyards – where officers and privates lay side by side, crosses well moulded and neatly painted marked the spot. Wattle trees which have been planted there will, in time to come, pay a sweeter & more homely tribute to heroes almost forgotten.

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Anzac Beach

The severe blizzard and terrific rough and angry sea which was experienced during November wrought great mischief to the stores, limbers, and piers at Walkers Ridge and Anzac Cove. The beach became strewn with wreckage which lay close to the waters brink. But beautiful weather followed that stormy weather scene, and the beach was once again made tidy until the following month when all food, clothing, ammunition, and rifles and anything which would be of use to the enemy was burnt so as to leave as little as possible to the Turks after the evacuation when the beach was left in a forsaken and desolate condition.

Throughout the Gallipoli campaign the Army Medical Corps, the Indian Mule Transport Corps and the Australian Royal Engineers did excellent work and it is to these three units that I dedicate the next three chapters.

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Chapter 3

The Army Medical Corps

The success of our massive armies today is dependant to a vital degree upon the efficiency of the medical service in the same way that as it is upon the ability and foresight of its officers, the bravery of its men, and the successful organisation of its supplies.

The wretched conditions that existed at Gallipoli increased the difficulties two fold of the Army Medical Corps to a great extent. We owe many obligations to the stretcher bearers, orderlies, and medical officers at the front, and to the sisters and men who worked untiringly at the distant base hospitals in Egypt, Lemnos Island, Malta, or England for the most efficient and capable manner in which they handled all the cases entrusted to their care.

The stretcher bearers at the front were always vigilant, working unceasingly day and night, and they performed many heroic deeds of self sacrifice in the execution of their duty. Their arrival was always awaited with the most eager anxiety by those who lay wounded and forlorn on the battlefield, or by those who were longing to be transferred from their respective field dressing stations to the beautiful fresh white hospital ships at their moorings in full visibility from the trenches.

The stretcher bearers duty was always most strenuous and monotonous. It was invariably accompanied by great danger from shrapnel in the gullies, from rifle and

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The Army Medical Corps

Machine gun bullets when in the open. But they most cheerfully superintended their most dangerous work without regard for their own safety, with the one object "To save others themselves they could not save". These worthy Australian sons deserve high honour and distinction for their noble self sacrifice and attention to duty..

The battalion Medical officers performed splendid work. Their marvellous energy, and unbounded attention saved many whose condition appeared hopeless. They gave splendid advice on medical subjects, and did all in their power to sanitate the filthy and unavoidable conditions of modern warfare.

When men became temporarily or permanently unfit for general duties, the battalion medical officers had them transferred to the nearest first aid dressing station. When their wounds had been dressed there, the men were sent to the field dressing stations. These hospitals, during the early stages of the campaign, were subject to much heavy shell fire on account of their near proximity to the ammunition and food supply depots, and to the general traffic on the beach. This was unavoidable on account of the limited space afforded as there was approximately only one and a half miles between the right and left flanks until after August when the first landing was made at Suvla bay. Things were different

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The Army Medical Corps

then, as there was plenty of space gained by the new but unsuccessful advance. The dressing sheds however were well protected by means of wooden beams, corrugated iron sheets, and sandbags, and they were well hidden in excavated recesses, which were cut away from the hillsides.

Hurriedly performed operations were carried out at these depots from where the more serious cases were immediately embarked on the hospital ships for further treatment. The field hospitals were always overtaxed for accommodation especially after an attack of any magnitude. Sickness greatly increased the difficulties. Dysentery was the most common complaint. Men were lying about through sheer exhaustion. The food in the lines was generally plentiful but was unsuitable and monotonous, and the flies brought filth and disease. The men were overworked. No reinforcements were immediately available, and so we were constantly being called upon to do extra fatigue work. All these things helped to increase sickness, but the A.M.C. handled the situation with masterful skill and administering the best medical aid possible under conditions which were most miserable.

The hospital ships conveyed their patients direct to the various Australian stationary hospitals which were excellently equipped as regards medical comfort and general conveniences.

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It was at these hospitals that that a series of board meetings were held from time to time to examine men considered unfit for further military service.

The serious case were sent back home to Australia. Their wounds were patched up as best as possible, and they were sent back to civic live a miserable and total wreck. The cases which were considered treatable were attended to with great care, and after they had sufficiently recovered they were sent back to the firing line.

We found the medical officers very capable and conscientious. They performed some remarkable operations, and effected many remarkable cures.

The operation rooms, and pathological laboratories were suitably arranged, and tastefully fitted out. Everything was managed in the most efficient manner. Motor ambulances which were supplied by the generosity of the Australian public did excellent work in conveying the wounded and lame from railways to hospital depots. The food was always good and nourishing being a perfect blessing from the regular rations of bully beef and biscuits.

The sleeping accommodation, too, was always welcome. The comfort of a beautiful soft white bed was even more exhilarating than the change of food.

The recreation rooms which were generally well

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Army Medical Corps

provided with billiard tables and reading material, were a great comfort after the trials of the firing line.

The canteens were well provided with all our requirements, and the prices were always moderate.

The leave which was obtained from the hospitals was generally liberal but was often hard to obtain on account of the great number of applications. Concerts were frequently arranged amongst the hospital patients, but those arranged by the residents were more patronised. They passed away many pleasant hours and helped us to forget the past. The great visiting day at the hospitals was Sunday. We always looked forward to this day for our friends brought us many nice presents, and often talked about things which revived many a pleasant memory of Australian home life.

The Australian Red Cross society were always stationed at the various hospitals, and we were supplied regularly with comforts. Before closing the article it seems fitting to pay tribute to the Australian hospitals which were stationed at Lemnos Island. The conditions there were highly unsuitable for hospital requirements. The water from the well holes was scarce and impure, often causing much diarrhoea, and typhoid! A large water condensing structure was being erected on the southern beach, but it was not

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finished in time on account of the unexpected evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsular. No. 3 Australian General, and No. 1 Stationary hospitals accomplished splendid work, and speedily and efficiently carrying out whatever cases were allotted to their care.


it is an old, but truthful saying,
"even the dark cloud has its silver lining"
And while the battle to and fro is swaying
Someone is watching o’er your fate and mine.

You hear the call for stretcher bearers singing
From mouth to mouth sounds forth the first alarm
And soon strong, willing arms are bringing
The wounded quickly from the zone of harm

At "Red Cross Stations" nimble hands are waiting
To dress your wounds & ease your stinging pain
Perhaps you have some soft voice sweetly stating
"the fight is won, you have not fought in vain".

And then comes sleep! Perhapschance you may be dreaming
Of flowers, sunshine, and the hum of bees.
While some kind nurse with eyes of love all beaming
Whispers the words "saved by the A.M.C.s"

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The Mule transport

Chapter 4

The difficulties of transportation made it utterly impossible to utilise motor lorries during the Peninsular campaign on account of the rugged nature of the country.

We trusted entirely to the efficient and prompt delivery of our food, ammunition, and necessary timber supplies to the Indian Mule Corps. Every difficulty was overcome by the wonderful energetic capabilities of the mules who climbed the most precipitous mountains with the greatest of ease.

The mountains were cut away, and suitable tracks for mule and foot transport were made. The mules were often troublesome, and caused much trouble by their stubbornness in refusing to move. I have seen them so obstinate that their Indian mule drivers lost all control, and the mules backing carelessly have tumbled, packs and all, down the sloping sides of the cliffs. They never seemed to hurt themselves but they caused much anxiety and frightfulness terror to us where dugouts were situated directly beneath their tracks. The transport quarters were situated in Reserve Gully, No. 3 outpost, and various other places of refuge. The Turks always seemed to have good knowledge of their whereabouts for they constantly peppered the mules with shrapnel which was always causing severe casualties among those most valuable and faithful animals who were difficult to obtain on account of the difficulty of the marine transportation.

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The Mule Transport

Most of the mule transport was carried out after dark as our positions were too exposed to the Turkish observation posts.

The mules were very enduring and sure of foot. They easily climbed mountains of six hundred feet high, and brought to us our daily rations of food and water.

The Indian drivers who were knick named "Johnny" were very cheery and obliging. They enjoyed a good joke and always spoke well of the fighting qualities of the Australians. They were most loyal subjects both to England and their religion. They were very modest, and very proud of their dugouts which they made into quite respectable homes, but they were particularly reserved in inviting strangers inside. We were only allowed to enter on very few occasions.

Right from the beach to the hillsides,
Over rocks, and through mud and scrub,
We saw the Indian mule guides
Drive the mules with our daily grub.
From sunset to sunrise untiring
They worked and without them we knew helped us in the great fight
That it would be extremely unwise heedless of firing, they brought us
To expect meat for our daily stew.
our rations up during the night.

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The Royal Engineers

Chapter 5

The engineers are a valuable asset to an army nowadays. They form a separate unit which are specially trained in various branches of engineering that present day warfare demand.

The different branches are formed into field companies who prepare the general construction of the trenches and their maintenance, signallers who are expert in the use of telegraph and telephone communication, miners and tunnelers, road making corps, cavalry troops, and companies who are trained in the full knowledge of asphyxiating gas.

The field are the most important. The are formed from mechanics from all trades such as civil engineering, surveyors, architects etc. Each company comprises 172 officers, N.C.O.s and sappers, 50 drivers and headquarters men. Their training in camp is made up of Pontoon bridging, entrenching and barb wire work, trestle & light bridging, demolition, and, of course, infantry training.

On Gallipoli the engineers were split up into small parties. Each party had its own special job to carry out.

Trench construction occupied the time of the bulk of the men who were continually fixing barb wire entanglements, strengthening the fire stands, and opening up new saps.

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The Royal Engineers

The water supply was always a problem to contend with at Gallipoli.

Engineers sunk numerous well holes at different stations but they were in themselves inefficient, and only capable at their best of supplying a few hundred men. A great quantity of clear water was obtained by sinking shallow wells at intervals down the gullies. This detained the water and kept it from running to waste into the sea.

This was particularly noticeable down Shrapnel Gully where shallow wells were plentiful, and were really the only means by which we were able to quench our dreadful thirst during the first few weeks. This state of conditions soon changed for water barges which were replenished from time to time at Lemnos or Imbros island kept us supplied with water for the rest of the campaign.

Other parties of engineers were engaged in the manufacture of hand grenades which were made out of jam tins with a gelignite or ammonal charge, and filled with various scrap metal for missiles.

The construction of piers for the embarkation and disembarkation of soldiers or war commodities was a necessary and dangerous undertaking. Watson’s pier was erected at Anzac Cove. This pier which was strongly

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The Royal Engineers

built and scientifically constructed was the main landing stage of all war material and troops during the early days. After the landing at Suvla Bay a new pier was constructed on the North Beach and was called Campbell’s Pier, which was built on the same lines as the one at Anzac Cove. The construction of these difficult works was made hard on account of the many improvisations necessary.

For instance the pile driving monkey was made out of a unexploded Turkish shell which was filled with concrete. This proved satisfactory but the tackle necessary for it had to be made on the spot. The whole work was carried out under direct fire from the Turkish guns in Olive Grove, and many men were killed or wounded while working on that most important work.

Other duties engineers were continually working on headquarter’s dugouts, field dressing stations etc. and the scarcity of timber greatly increased the difficulties of construction. Communication saps were always being made and improved upon, and roads for artillery and infantry purposes were being constantly constructed. One road in particular is worthy of notice. This was known as "artillery road" which was broad and well screened running parallel to Lone Pine trenches at about forty yards to the rear for

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The Royal Engineers

a distance of about 80 yards considerably over a mile, and at one point it was tunnelled through a hill for about fifty yards.

Another engineering feat which also occurred in Lone Pine was the tunnelling forward of several tunnels to a distance of 80 yards in front. These tunnels were then linked together at the head forming a complete tunnel which was parallel to the firing line and at the Lone pine charge this tunnel was opened up at places which allowed our men to jump through and thus gain a considerable amount of ground unseen, as well as causing surprise to the enemy.

From this parallel tunnel more forward tunnels were dug which formed listening posts, and during the construction of this most dangerous work our parties frequently clashed with the enemies underground working parties, and so encounters of various kinds occurred. During the Lone Pine charge the engineers, as is usually their custom, performed most valuable work, such as making well protected communication between the old and new trenches by digging connecting saps under cover of darkness. When the enemy position had been taken and made secure the engineers strengthened and widened the trenches

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The Royal Engineers

reversed the parapets, built up traverses and erected overhead cover against the incessant bombing of our positions by the Turks. When all became quiet the general routine of tunnelling forward, of strengthening the saps, and preparing underground rooms for winter quarters was resumed.

The underground winter quarters at all places along the firing line from Lone Pine to Hill 60 at Suvla Bay were a mass of marvellous engineering, even surpassing the wildest imagination of our miners.

The rooms measured anything from twenty to twelve feet in dimensions, and were twenty feet below the surface of the earth. They generally had two entrances one of which linked up to another room if possible. They were almost completed when the evacuation was ordered.

All these engineering feats were performed with wholly unsuitable materials, with a minimum of material, and executed under most dangerous conditions.

We (the infantry) owe many of our successes to the competent manner in which the engineers helped us in overcoming what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles.

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Chapter 6

Shrapnel Gully

Shrapnel Gully was the best known gully. All the Australians who landed at Anzac Cove were very familiar with all its surroundings, for it was the highway for most of the traffic heading to the firing line. It ran continually in a diversity of directions from the sea coast to Pope's Hill and Quinn’s Post, the foremost point of our firing line which during the early days was about one and a half miles inland. From the gully on either side rose mountains abruptly with an almost impregnable appearance as if magnificently denying any resistance, covered in thick bramble and gorse, some parallel, some breaking off at angles forming various and innumerable tributary gullies. On the summit of these very precipitous mountains many important and terrific battles were fought with animal desperation during the early days at Anzac. The holding and consolidation of these positions was the key to the whole position, especially at Pope's Hill, Quinn’s, and Courtney’s Post. One breakthrough and we would be at the mercy of the Turks. But day after day, and week after week our men clung desperately to these positions with bulldog tenacity. Every attack by the ottoman troops to drive us into the sea was sanguinarily repulsed. Particularly was this demonstrated during the terrific and determined onslaught that took place during the blackened night of May the eighteenth, when after the battle at least seven thousand Turkish corpses were seen strewn about the ground which faced our trenches.

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Shrapnel Gully

It was the deadly machine gun and the accurate fire from our brilliant gunners which invariably annihilated the broken hearted Turks, and which brought honour and fame to the New Zealand and Australian troops who during the whole campaign were knitted together in an indissoluble partnership.

So it was that it was like veterans who had seen years of service, but our men some of whom were mere boys clung to those trenches against most desperate odds. The Turks were fighting on their own land, they had more suitable conveniences, more water, a better equipment line of defence and heavier artillery. Yet from April to December our men held the trenches without practically any spell, and without any reserves. Always above us were the Turkish trenches and the incessant firing of their machine guns and rifles. Exposure above the trenches meant instant death. Yet our men from time to time were asked to make charges in the hope of strengthening our position, only to retire again when ordered.

Down these mountains during the rain and inclement weather ran torrents of rainwater which found an outlet through the gullies through which we walked some way as if Pilgrims on our way to Mecca.

Every inch of this gulley was obviously well known to the Turks who continually and unmercifully shelled it as long as their ammunition was available.

The natural geographical outlay of the country afforded them an excellent view of all our

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Shrapnel Gully

movements, an opportunity that he unfortunately did not overlook. Their sharp shooters were most accurate in their firing aiming, and as many as forty have been sniped in this gully in one day. Many were killed or wounded on fatigue parties who were on duty replenishing our daily rations, or obtaining a much sought for, and treasured drink of precious water. Among the victims was the gallant and courageous General Bridges, our most capable and efficient chief.

Fatigue parties were always in constant danger. By continual work these parties very soon completed an adequate and suitable number of roads, paths, and saps for the safe transportation of troops, supplies etc.

Drainage to throw the water from the roadside sand-bag barricades as a protection against the snipers, water pipes connected to the condensers on the beach, tanks as reservoirs, field dressing stations, cleverly concealed and protected by sand bags and earthworks, mortuaries for the temporary placement of the dead, depots for food and ammunition which were cut away from the roadside in deep recesses, were speedily and temporarily placed in position giving the whole valley an appearance more of a gold mining centre than a field of battle.

It was down this very important highway that most of the wounded, dying, and dead were conveyed to their respective

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Shrapnel Gully

dressing stations where they received the best medical aid that was possible to render under such awkward conditions.

After the wounded had been hurriedly dressed they were carefully removed by the red cross men on donkeys or stretchers to the hospitals on the beach. After they had received further medical treatment there, they were removed to the hospital ships bound for Egypt, Malta or England.

The dead were placed in the mortuary from where they were removed at night, and under the supervision of our Padres they were placed in the various graveyards with an insignificant and rough hewn cross, and with little sympathy to mark the spot where they rest in peace, given all they could give – their life for King and country.

Stern as those rocky mountains,
Sweet as the morning dew
Fresh as a new born fountain
That plays in pastures new,
Are heroes who fell in this battle
Who died for you and me
Midst shell and machine gun rattle
Comrades in arms bless them

Beginning of Chapter

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Walker’s Ridge -- Pope's Hill -- Quinn’s Post

Chapter 7

The 4th Brigade landed at Anzac Beach a little before midnight. A muster parade was held, and after we had gained all necessary information we lay down at the brow of the hill for a few hours rest. At early dawn we started up Shrapnel Gully to reinforce the firing line. We were directed as we went by those who were either resting, or who had already been torn by wounds. As we came in touch with our men other Brigades, who were lodged on the summit of any precipitous looking hills, the different platoons, headed by their respective officers reinforced the more vital points, which, as the battle progressed were named after the leader of their defenders. Most of our men ascended Pope's Hill which position they defended for nearly three weeks. Some platoons however climbed the slopes to Quinn’s & Courtney’s posts, while one unfortunate platoon was recalled from Pope’s to reinforce a hill situated a little to the left and in

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Walker’s Ridge -- Pope's Hill -- Quinn’s Post

the rear. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Wilson the small party climbed the steep, and in some places, an almost impregnable incline, helping each other as we went by means of long branches or our rifles which we used as levers. After a series of strenuous efforts we gained the ridge, and lay down secluded among the scrub, while scouts were sent out in different directions to reconnoitre the country, to gain information of the movements of the Turks, and, if possible, to come into touch with the New Zealand troops who were expected to arrive in our rear from the direction of Anzac Cove. The Turks must have ascertained our intentions as we were ascending the ravine for we had not waited more than a few minutes when bullets started to whirl in the air directly above our heads, and as they perfected their range to a nicety our men began to fall in quick succession. The wounded were helped as soon as possible to safety, but the cases which were more serious were left behind to the mercies of the Turks as we hurriedly retired to the rear. Not any of us had the slightest idea of the general outlay of the country, but as providence had it we successfully linked up with the New Zealanders who had already experienced a few sharp encounters.

Open fighting was the order of the day. On account of the scrubby nature of the country much difficulty was experienced in locating the position of the enemy who on several occasions advanced as far as the crest of our hill. This caused our men to retreat a few hundred yards along the plateau, and on

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

one occasion our position looked like falling when, just in the nick of time, two machine gun sections hastily erected their maxims on either flank under terrific rifle fire. These machine guns did excellent work, literally annihilating the Turks as they advanced up the slopes, and our own men taking advantage of the situation regained the lost ground after a bayonet charge to which the Turks offered little or no resistance. A series of advancements and retirements were generally a result of the fighting which took place during the remainder of the day until nightfall, when it was found necessary for us to take up a line situated slightly to the rear. This afforded us the opportunity of making use of some of the captured Turkish trenches in which the New Zealanders, and the various units of the Australian divisions who had become intermingled took up this temporary line of defence for the night.

To these trenches our men stuck determinedly awaiting with feverish anxiety for any Turk’s attack which fortunately for us never came.

At dawn the fighting again became open, and the Turks who had become by that time steadily reinforced gave much trouble and anxiety. Our positions men who were entrench along the line of the hill were offering vigorous opposition, while the stray bullets passing over their heads, lodged amongst our reserves who were lying in the open behind cover of the shrub, and not a man under moved a muscle.

I remember once an order being passed along the line from mouth to mouth, and men shouting into the

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Walker’s Ridge -- Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

ears of dead men whom they thought were alive. Everyone lay still. The wounded were crying out for stretcher bearers who dare not venture out amongst such a hail of bullets. Some poor fellows were left where they fell. Towards evening we were ordered to advance further down the slopes of the hill, and I cannot say what happened to the unfortunate wounded. The Turks had probably retired to the further ridge to prepare for a defensive campaign, and so we dug ourselves in temporally by means of our entrenching tools while the New Zealand engineers worked hard to consolidate our position in the rear.

We were dog tired by this, and at intervals we took draughts of water which was brought to us in kerosene tins, and ate bully beef which was passed from hand to hand in large tins. Early in the

Early in the evening, which was intensely dark, Turkish bugle calls were heard on our right. As the sound drew nearer our men dropped aside their entrenching tools, [indecipherable] their rifles and waited.

Immediately a sharp, but terrific rifle fire was opened on both sides. Our line which was in a horseshoe bend became subject to enfilading fire, and though our casualties were slight we were glad when the fire became lax and, at last, died away.

When everything became normal again the Turks, having ascertained our position, evidently prepared their line of defence along the crest of the foremost ridge passing which ran parallel

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

to our line.

At 5 p.m. the welcome order that all Australians were to vacate the trenches which were to be left in charge of the New Zealanders was received with an outburst of joy. Under Colonel Braund’s instructions we descended the precipitous cliffs to the rear which had been cut away into a series of paths and saps. Our knees which had been weakened by the three days strenuous fighting, gave began to give way under pressure of the strain.

At last worn out by toil, or broken by sickness we reached the gully, and there lay down to a quiet siesta after having enjoyed our first delicious sip of tea, some bully beef, and a cup of tea few soda biscuits.

A party was detailed for the burial of the dead who were laid in roughly dug graves by the slopes of the hill side.

A healthy and sound sleep during the night sufficiently recuperated our strength during the night. A muster parade from which it was seen that members of every unit from the first battalion to the sixteenth were represented, was held.

After a few details were taken we marched along the beach in the direction of Gapa Tepe under a heavy shower of rain which almost drenched us to the skin.

On the beach we halted, cooked our midday meal which consisted of ham, biscuits, and tea. We then prepared temporary dugouts with our

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

water proof sheets as a covering against the rain which greatly added to our discomfort.

At early dawn each batch rejoined its respective unit, and we, the 13th Battalion, after marching a great distance up Shrapnel Gully found the majority of our battalion still defending Pope's Hill.

This hill stood out on its own rising abruptly from Shrapnel Gully to a great height, and the soil in places was of such loose strata that it was only possible to gain the ridge by means of a rope which was securely fastened to a stake embedded in the earth at the summit.

[ Note: entry in margin – Pope's Hill]

The locality was not very dangerous except for the incessant hail of bullets which poured overhead almost deafening our hearing, an occasional burst of shrapnel which streamed amongst the hills and caused a few casualties from time to time, and the continual harassing of the Turkish snipers who took full advantage of the of the more exposed slopes of the hillside up which our men were continually climbing or descending as they proceeded on the way for water and rations.

May 2nd was a night of great activity. It was decided to attack the hill in front by storm, for the greater height of the ridge would allow of a better command of fire, The 13th and 16th battalions conjointly with the Royal Marine Light Infantry and Nelson battalions were chosen to undertake this most dangerous task after a preliminary bombardment which

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

commenced a little after dusk we attacked after gaining a position on the rear slopes by way of a very winding and steep gully which was very muddy and narrow and afforded a very difficult access.

The leading platoons after yelling and charging suffered heavily. The Turks rose as one man, fired a few volleys and then hastily retired to their second line of defence which left the hill in our possession.

The forward parties quickly ascended the slope while the line of men formed along the gully passed the ammunition from hand to hand to the front. The rear platoons working their way over the dead and wounded slowly but surely reinforced their companions as they cautiously climbed the rear slopes to jump over the sky line.

Under heavy and consistent fire we dug trenches along the crest of the hill which was most unpleasant on account of the great number of Turkish bodies which were strewn about in a most decayed state. The clayey soil, as we dug deeper, became wet and we spent a most uncomfortably, restless night.

After having held the hill for twenty four hours it was found necessary, through some failure on the part of the New Zealanders to link up with our line on the left flank, to vacate the positions which had cost

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

us so many valuable lives. The Turks, too, suffered heavily, but their losses were a poor reward for our terrible sacrifices.

A week later the first Light horse regiment relieved us, who were at that time greatly in need of a little rest.

It was not long afterwards that we found ourselves that we found ourselves defending Quinn’s Post
which was another high mountain which fell away sharply as it drew near to the gully. The trenches of the enemy in this theatre area were in places no further than twenty yards apart. The continual underground mining of both sides was a constant danger, causing much anxiety and annoyance. Bombing attacks by the Turks were a common occurrence every evening to such an extent that at certain points our front line of trenches was untenable. But we kept strict observation from specially constructed bomb proof shelters from which our men scarcely ever ventured to go beyond. The Turks used cricket ball grenades with great effect. They threw these with skill which showed that they were past masters at that branch of warfare. Their direction of aim was always good, causing severe casualties which at first caused much anxiety, but as time progressed we erected wire nettings along the parapet, and this greatly minimised the danger. Numerous bomb proof shelters were added, and very soon Quinn’s Post became a veritable safe fortress.

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

To repay the Turks, some specially imported Japanese mortars were erected in the trenches. They fired a bomb weighing 18 lbs, and we could see them as they slowly travelled through the air on their journey to the Turk’s trenches. They made terrible noise on contact, and the concussion could be felt in our trenches. We could distinctly hear the terrified squealing of the Turkish voices as they went to their doom.

As we expected on May 10th, the Turks fired a mine at 3.30 a.m., and our trenches went sky high. Many of our men were buried beneath the debris. The Turks followed up their success by an attack with hand grenades and bayonets. At first they were successful, and they gained a firm footing in our trenches by way of the quater which was caused by the explosion. With rapidity & precision they threw hand grenades down our principal saps and paths, but their supply soon became exhausted, and the attack gradually dwindled away. In the meantime our men retaliated by throwing jam tin & Japanese`s grenades, and these seemed to take effect. Our machine guns played a successful part, and our infantry shot a great many Turks as they were caught in the act of jumping into our trenches. Taking advantage of the inactivity of the Turks our men, who had been reinforced by the 15th battalion, retook the trench at the point of the bayonet. It was then seen that the Turks had suffered heavily, for the trenches were strewn with corpses which were frightfully cut about.

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

We waited anxiously with intense eagerness for a counter attack but the Turks had had enough. Eighteen prisoners, who surrendered themselves after having lost their bearings in one of our underground tunnels, were brought out & sent to the rear. They appeared dreadfully frightened for their nerves were badly shaken.

0n May 19, a night of great activity, a series of determined attacks by the Turks to drive us into the sea were launched in a succession of waves which appeared from time to time during the whole evening until early in the morning. The sythe of our machine guns, and the accurate fire of our artillery annihilated each attack of the Turks as they ventured to test the fighting qualities of the contemptible little army from Australia.

Our men at Quinn’s & Courtney’s posts defended the positions with a coolness & determination which one would hardly expect from seasoned veterans. Our casualties were slight, but those of the Turks were enormous, amounting approximately to seven thousand.

The next morning evening about 5 o’clock the Turks came forth from their trenches under the protection of a white flag. They asked for an armistice to bury their dead, but apparently their intentions were none too clear, and they were directed to come again at a proper hour, and in a suitable manner so that rules may be made arranged which would be satisfactory to both sides.

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

The next day a Turkish officer general who was neatly dressed rode in on horseback. From Lone Pine he was met by our guides who after they had blindfolded him, directed him to General Birdwood’s headquarters.

The visit was repeated again the next day, and shortly afterwards an armistice was arranged. On the 24th at 7 a.m. our burial parties with red crosses on their arms and overcoats as it was raining at the time went forward. All firing ceased. The Turks wearing disinfected wads upon their mouths buried their dead which lay near their tenches. We did the same. Large holes were dug into which were buried several bodies, & earth was thrown over their decayed bodies. Dead lay at every step and some of the bodies which had been lying there since the landing were frightfully mangled and almost eaten away by numerous insects that had accumulated around their bodies. Towards evening most of the bodies had been buried, and the work was satisfactorily accomplished – both sides of the adhering faithfully to the rules which were laid down.

When the burial parties from both sides had disappeared from view, and the time laid down for the completion of the work had passed, the rifle and machine gun commenced to rattle overhead with the usual fierceness.

On June the 1 the fourth brigade temporally retired from the firing line, and took up their position in Rest Gully where they were held in

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

reserve. Fatigue parties were the general routine there, and we were occupied day and night in excavating tunnels, recesses for ammunition, and communication saps which were really wonderful, building saps which were six feet deep and five feet wide for mule transport, running for miles in length, and trenches seven feet deep and two feet six inches wide formed a regular labyrinth-like network.

This gully was wholly unsuitable for such a large body of men who as necessity demanded were camped together in a surprisingly small area.

Flies were numerous, and were a persistent enemy during the day time. They harboured round our food bringing with them filth and disease. They were a plague which gave us more worry and trouble than the lice which harboured amongst our clothing.

Our rations were always plentiful, but they were unsuitable and monotonous. The regularity with which we were served with bully beef made us hate the very taste, the very thought of it. Was it any wonder then that men were gradually being weakened by the dreadful disease of dysentery which by degrees was thinning our ranks, and no reinforcements of any numerical strength were forthcoming. We were always below strength, often called upon to do two men’s work.

Was it any wonder that we were

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Walker’s Ridge – Pope's Hill – Quinn’s Post

glad to venture on our next experience which was visibly seen on account of the great number of newly arrived British troops who were being harboured from view of the aeroplanes amongst the hilly mountains which were cut away by us into a series of ledges for their accommodation.

It proved true. We were in conjunction with the New Zealanders to constitute the main attacking force for the supremacy of the Sari Bair mountains to which we were to approach from the direction of Suvla Bay.

At midnight, we landed at Anzac Beach
And while resting during the night,
We dreamed of victory within reach,
Of prospects and visions bright,
At dawn they we climbed the mountains steep
And were making for Walker’s Ridge
Where many of us would soon sleep
After crossing eternity`s bridge.
But others with an iron will
Kept on climbing Gallipolis’s crests,
And hundreds fell fighting at Quinn’s PostPope's Hill
While others died game at Quinn’s Post.

at Beginning of Chapter

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Chapter 8

From Anzac to Suvla Bay

along the beach for a considerable distance

On August 5th 1915 the fourth brigade was assembled in Reserve Gully by Brigadier-General Monash who carefully detailed the part we were to play the following evening in our endeavour to obtain the ridges of the Sari Bair mountains.

" A first landing was to be made at Suvla Bay by English regiments," he said, "and if we were to see troops in the far distance, not to become anxious as they would for all probability be our own troops advancing to join hands. There would also be great activity at Cape Helles the nature of which would not concern us."

The next morning our time was occupied in collecting rations, cleaning our bayonets and rifles, and sewing white linen bands on our arms and backs so that we would be able to distinguish one another during the dark night as we be certain to become intermingled amongst Turkish troops while performing the delicate operation of an outflanking movement.

In the evening we were concentrated in formation of fours which reached a considerable way down the gulley. Dressed in fighting order, we moved out amongst great enthusiasm and expectations. We were bent on victory, the opening of the narrows and the conquest of Turkey.

It was close to 7 p.m. when we reached the entrance to Reserve Gully. On our way we passed the English regiments who were timed to venture out at a later hour.

The terrific battle of Lone Pine had already begun. The second first brigade were entrusted to the attack on the Turkish trenches there. Our artillery and

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warships searched the valleys and trenches by a series of continuous and heavy bombardments. At 5 p.m. our men leaped from the trenches simultaneously, and dashed across the open amidst a hail of shell and rifle bullets.

Barb wire entanglements were encountered. and.This caused a temporary check in our advance, but the difficulty was surmounted, and men forced their way ahead until they reached the Turk’s trenches, which were cleverly covered with heavy beams & at first it seemed that our men would not be able to enter the trenches, but parties of mengot together & lifted the beams from their sockets.

One by one our men leaped down through these openings and hand to hand fighting of a furious nature took place. Thus our men captured the Lone Pine trenches. They held on desperately, and resisted all the violent counter attacks of the Turks with wonderful skill and determination.

Frontal attacks were also made at Pope's Hill by the First Light Horse Regiment, and at Walker’s Ridge by regiments from the 2nd Light Horse Brigade. Both these attacks proved a failure after several determined attacks had been launched.

All these attacks at Lone Pine, Walker’s Ridge, and Popes Hill helped to draw reinforcements to these localities, and they materially helped to minimise the opposition in our main enterprise at Suvla Bay and the Sari Bair mountains . …………….

After reaching the main saps leading to Anzac Pier we saw our howitzers situated along the roadside, firing in the direction of the Turkish trenches which opposed our no. 3 outpost. Our destroyers were also firing in the same direction, and the place was beautifully lit up by our star shells which sparkled brilliantly. We next turned half right and marched

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From Anzac to Suvla Bay

along the beach for a considerable distance. No words were spoken and not a match was lit as we silently advanced with fixed bayonets.
Having approached no. 3 outpost which had apparently at this time been captured by New Zealanders, we curved inwards and took our course along the green fields, occasionally taking to the extended order.

Dead and wounded were lying The field about here was thickly strewn with dead and wounded which showed that serious fighting had already occurred in this locality with our now advanced companies. Stray bullets from Turkish rifle and machine guns were whispering through the air in quick succession. The night was very dark which gave an ugly aspect to the mountains which for all we knew might secrete thousands of Turkish troops. This greatly affected our already highly strung nerves.

After we had advanced some hundreds of yards further beyond the outpost we turned to East in the direction of the Sari Bair mountains. But here the darkness of the night and the mountainous nature of the country greatly hindered our progress and we lost our way through no fault of our own.

The lack of leadership and the initative greatly added to the difficulties. We were gathered in parties waiting for orders which never seemed to come. At last an order was given to charge a hill to the right of the gully, and several platoons advancing down the opposite slopes were caught by the Turkish outpost who inflicted [indecipherable]

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From Anzac to Sulva

a few casualties amongst our men.

We lay low, and awaited further orders. Everywhere we could hear our men yelling in a strange variety of tones, inclusive of the Maori war cry, as they advanced to the attack along the different ridges.

Prisoners were caught by us hiding among the bushes, apparently on outpost duty, and they were always glad to hand themselves over without opposition.

On our right front the New Zealanders did an excellent coup de grace in capturing a Turkish headquarters camp and a great number of prisoners.

After laying on the hill for a considerable time we were ordered to evacuate the position and led by Brigadier Monash we reassembled and marched in fours until we reached an open space alongside a road running in the direction of Maidos.

We lay down for a few minutes, and were occasionally interrupted by Turkish snipers who were concealed amongst the hills while our scouts made reconnaissance of the ground ahead to see if we could come in touch with regiments operating on our right.

After we had ascertained our position we marched unmolested towards [indecipherable] , and entrenched alongside the South Wales Borders about half a mile from the Sari Bair mountains.

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From Anzac to Suvla

Altogether we marched nearly ten miles that night and met very little opposition.

In the morning we could see the English regiments, which had disembarked at Suvla Bay, were late in developing their attack to join hands with us, so the help which we were to receive from them was not forthcoming. We waited and hesitated which was giving the Turks time to reinforce & consolidate his positions.

A golden opportunity was lost being lost – a fact which we recognised as the fighting progressed.

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Chapter 9

Suvla Bay

From the mountains our lads scanned the tracks from shore,
For reinforcements that were to arrive.
Though our limbs were weary and our feet were sore,
They We were as active as bees in a hive,
On our sunburnt faces you saw traces of joy,
As we glanced at the calm Suvla Bay,
Those troopships we saw, where the sea meets the sky,
Had brought thousands to join in the fray,
Hope encouraged our boys to continue the fight,
Hope was fighting with the fight us against fate.
Fate won, for help was delayed through the night.
The relief, came too late, yes too late.

Sgt. Fraser.

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Suvla Bay

Owing to the numerical superiority of the Turks, the difficulties of transportation over mountainous country, our heavy casualties, and the lack of sufficient reinforcements, all our attacks which were launched from time to time to gain the heights of Sari Bair mountains proved a miserable failure.

To those, who witnessed the spectacular displays of artillery duels of our warships and land batteries, and the splendid but futile attacks of the English, Indian, our Australasian troops to conquer almost impregnable and well fortified positions, will be recalled imperishable deeds of bravery that have never been surpassed.

The hardships of climbing the mountains, and the deplorable scarcity of water increased the difficulty of fighting as it wore down our energy. The water from the well holes which were dug in the earth was usually unfit for consumption on account of its impurity and murky condition, but as it was the only water available, our men were forced to face the dreadful consequences.

In the early dawn the 4th Australian Brigade who were acting as the left assaulting party were firmly entrenched with the South Wales Borderers on their left and other English regiments which formed a continuous , and the New Zealand and Indian regiments on our their right. The dominating position of the hills afforded us an excellent opportunity to obtain a view of the surrounding country.

It was soon recognised that the English regiments who had effected a landing at Suvla Bay during the

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evening were hopelessly late.

They failed to join hands with the troops from Anzac who had advanced victoriously during the night towards the Sari Bair mountains. It seemed that the Britishers were being led badly. Perhaps it was the lack of initiative, of leadership. Whatever be the trouble the fact remains that time and opportunity were being lost.

We could see the great number of newly arrived transports which had mysteriously crept into Suvla Bay harbour during that very dark night.

It was noticeable that their men were formed in mass formation along the beach, while others were advancing in broad daylight over the tracks of salt lake to the direction of Chocolate Hill, being severely peppered by shrapnel as they progressed. Their dismal figures could be clearly observed through the binoculars, desperately struggling against fearful odds in their endeavour to gain possession of the low lying country between Hill 60 and the Anafarta hills. A great portion of the ground was thickly covered in gorse and brush small shrubs which had been ignited by high explosive shells, and were burning furiously.

The warships, stationed alongside the transports, were clearly visible against the cloudy but picturesque sky at Suvla Bay, were firing with wonderful accuracy, causing heavy casualties amongst the Turkish infantry, and brilliantly annihilating their guns which were placed for concealment amongst the Anafarta village

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or the dominating hills round about.

On our right could be seen amongst the very high mountains the brilliant New Zealand troops, entrenching on the Rhododendron spur which faced Chunuk Bair range only about a quarter of a mile distant.

Fresh but unsuccessful attacks were made on August 7th. During the evening reconnoitring parties from the various regiments were sent out to ascertain the enemy’s position, & to prepare for an attack which was being prepared for the early dawn.

The next morning the New Zealanders were visible against the sky line which showed that they had successfully gained the Chunuk Bair Ridge, which, by the way, was lost for ever a few days later after they had been replaced by English battalions who, on account of overwhelming numerous the numerical superiority of the enemy, were forced to retire over the ridge with fearful loss.

But the Turks suffered frightful casualties for this success as our warships and land batteries taking full advantage of their exposed target, pelted them with shrapnel and high explosives. ten New Zealand machine guns placed on commanding positions greatly helped the artillery, and the Turks were literally annihilated.

A visit to the sap leading to the scene of the Sari Bair fighting

On August 9th, the Ghurkhas who must have been magnificently led assaulted the Sari Bair ridge and lodged themselves defiantly on top, where, it is said,

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they saw the Dardanelles and the promised land. But they, too, were driven back by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy.

A visit to the sap, leading to the scene of the Sari Bair fighting, would clearly demonstrate the furious encounters that had taken place during the four desperate days of Aug. 6-10. The dead unable to be moved in time were strewn along the pathway. These were dead English, Ghurkhas, and Australians who had probably been killed while going for water, lying close together, covered in insects black in the face & covered with insects.

The wounded were teaming to the dressing stations in humid confusion, and reinforcements, who had just arrived, were hastily moving up to the firing line, ducking instinctively at every shell that burst overhead, or at the continual hissing of stray and spent bullets.

Men were gasping for water and dry wells all along the sap. They waited hours for one solitary drink, and then rejoined their units which were going into the trenches that night. Such were the conditions of Gallipoli. Water, food, and clothing were as precious as gold. During these days the Turks had rapidly entrenched, and reinforced their strength to such an extent it seemed impossible to move ahead unless we were hastily supplied with fresh troops.

On 21st & 27th of August two violent attacks by us were launched to gain possession of the

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dominating hill 60 which position would secure for us a safer communication between Anzac and Suvla Bay, together with a commanding view of the Anafarta Valley.

On the afternoon of the 21st a force comprising New Zealanders, Indians, South Wales Borderers and Australians was concentrated in the various valleys preparatory to the attack which was timed to commence at 4.30 p.m., each unit having its own objective to gain and consolidate.

The 4th Australian Brigade, who were mobilised in Australia Gully were anxiously waiting for the bombardment by our land batteries, which were pounding the Turkish trenches with high explosives, to cease.

In the meantime the South Wales Borderers were passing by us in a column of fours as they proceeded up the gully to gain position before attacking.

Suddenly the bombardment ceased, and each platoon, moving off independently at the lead of its respective commander, leaped the trenches in file formation with clocklike precision, and after descending the slope we reached the Dere, climbed the next hill which was typical of the rugged Gallipoli mountains, and before the Turks had time to regain their trenches our men made a typical dash in open formation across the low

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lying country, and reached the upper slopes of Kaiajik Aghala range where they entrenched themselves along the summit.

These platoons did remarkably well, and suffered only a few casualties, but it was our second line which encountered a more difficult problem for as soon as hadwe had gained the summit of the first ridge the Turks were well prepared, and had their machine guns ready for action. As we appeared on the skyline our men were pitifully slain by these most dreadful maxims to such an extent that we hastened to take shelter in some dilapidated Turkish trenches, where they lay low on the crest of the hill till night fall when under the leadership of Colonel Herring we took advantage of the dark night, and reinforced our anxious and worn our comrades who welcomed the additional strength.

During the afternoon our dead and wounded lying on the plateau to the rear, were being burnt by the grass becoming ignited from shells which appeared to be coming in the direction of Anafarta.

The red cross worked hard to bring them to safety but the locality was too dangerous and so the work had to be abandoned until nightfall.

Many wounded were killed while returning over the ridge in their endeavour

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Suvla Bay

to gain safety.

I remember one poor Englishman of the South Wales Borders who returned with a terrifying expression on his face. His clothes were alight, and when they were removed they showed three severe wounds bullet wounds through his body. He asked for water and after taking his last sips he fell dead.

Much success was gained on this charge on the left where the Indians gained their objective, and we had effected a lodgement on the Kaiajik Ridge which materially improved our position.

We consolidated our position gain, and beat off a slight bombing attack by the Turks during a night of much anxiety and hardships. The water which was brought up to the lines in kerosene tins was of insufficient quantity, the food was scarce, and the terrific heat from the scorching sun greatly added to the discomfort of our severe privations.

In the morning the newly arrived 18th A.I.F. battalion who was brought up on our left made an attack on the lower slopes of the Ridge & gained about two hundred yards of trenches after suffering most severe casualties.

The next morning we were relieved the 16th Battalion after having earned a well deserved siesta.

The attack was resumed on Aug. 27th and though the Australians were driven back to their original

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Suvla Bay

position the New Zealanders gained a valuable ridge, and captured many prisoners and a few machine guns.

Thus the fighting at Suvla Bay concluded except for occasional attacks of a small scale.

We then paid attention to consolidating our positions, and the preparation of our quarters on account of the rapidly approaching winter months. Patrols were sent out every night to keep guard against surprise attacks, and artillery duels were of a frequent occurrence, but little more fighting occurred.

The New Zealand engineers greatly strengthened the firing stand recesses by means of wooden stakes which were bound together by wire.

They lined the tunnels, which were thirty or more feet below the earth and were very warm, with all necessary timber.

They strengthened our barbed wire barricades, and superintended the digging and laying out of all saps.

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Suvla Bay

We were on duty in the trenches night after night, doing twenty four hours on & twenty four hours off duty, viewing the barren mountains or the green fields, which appeared to be of a fertilising nature, far beyond the Turkish lines.

For months we had to endure this horrible monotony while our glorious parliament at home, probably suffering from an attack of inertia, took over three months to decide upon the evacuation of the peninsular.

Dysentery and disease were rapidly taking our men to hospital. Then came the dreadful blizzard which we had never experienced before. Hundreds upon hundreds of men became frost bitten, especially the English & Ghurkha regiments who were situated on low lying country which allowed water to flow down the trenches.

The mule transport, too, suffered heavily. The mountains became too slippery for the mules and consequently we went short of food for several days.

Lone Pine was blown up and heavily bombarded by the Turks. Our casualties were enormous. The Germans had connected up with Turkey after the defeat of Serbia, and guns of heavily calibre were being placed in position to blow us to pieces.

Was it anything to wonder at when we saw our ordnance store burning rifles, ammunition, clothing etc during December. We knew what what it meaning was. The abandonment of

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the peninsular had been decided upon, and by degrees units were being dwindled away until on December 19 our last batch retired in silence, leaving the trenches entirely devoid of men, wholly to the ignorance of the Turks, and having worked their way along the saps to the shores, they left the peninsular for ever a beaten but determined foe.

The evacuation was carried out magnificently. Each party moved off at a specific time at the head of its commander, who had to report to a divisional officer stationed at the bottom of the gully. The numbers were checked, and the men were then lead by specially selected staff officers to the respective wharves, where the numbers were again checked.

Every detail was settled & faithfully carried out. Excellent discipline was maintained, without which such a magnificent performance could never have been accomplishment.

From all directions the various regiments left at the tick of the clock, & embarked successfully under the excellent supervision of the naval officers. Fuses were set to time before leaving & cunningly devised schemes were invented to make rifles would go off at certain times, which made the Turks think we were still holding the line.

Thanks to providence calm weather welcomed us each night. with Had the weather broken, great difficulty would have been experienced, & there would be a different tale to tell.

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Chapter 11

Memories of Egypt

Boots-a-clean ! Boots-a-clean ! was invariably the cry that welcomed us as we strolled on our way to enjoy a little relaxation in Cairo after a hard days work and the regular monotony of camp life. Nigger boys in droves would follow in our trail until one of them was engaged, or perhaps their boot boxes would be smashed to particles by a weighty and well directed kick from a burly Australian who had had too much of their impudence.

In restaurants they would concentrate in scores. Planted as firm as a rock beneath the tables they would get. and With a friendly nod of the head from a small nigger boy, wearing a white cricketing hat which was with a superscription such as "Australian’s Dinkum Shiner" written across the band, we knew he was in readiness to do his humble duty for the meagre sum of half piastre, and the accomplishment of his performance he generally reaped his reward.

The boots generally looked bright and shiny but the red ink solution caused a discolouration in the leather.

The restaurants and [indecipherable] shops were always extensively patronised. They were always full and must have reaped a profit splendid harvest from the Australians and New Zealanders who, however, did not always pay.

For taking full advantage of the over excited French & Italian waiters who became enfeebled by the noisy crowd and the

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Memories of Egypt

unceasing arguments of those, gradually growing near intoxication, men used to order healthy meals after the consumption of which they would lapse into mental absentmindedness and making hastily for the entrance they would obliberate into space.

The waiter on returning for compliments would be greeted by vacated spaces, then frantically flying into eccentric movements he would fling his arms about, utter inarticulate sounds, and then charge the nearest person for the two extra meals as a reparation for past misfortunes ……..

Excursions to the Pyramids, Citadel, Mosques, Museums etc. were always found interesting, and they occupied most of our time on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

On our journey to Cairo we invariably passed by the Continental and Shepherds hotel. These buildings are very fine, and have architectural beauty of the interior, together with ornamental decorations and exquisite furniture are not to be surpassed in any hotel in England.

The streets which passed these hotels were always crowded with uniform clad men, and pestilent Egyptian hawkers, manoeuvring to bargain with passers by with what at first appeared to be a very reasonable offer, but after beating him down to one third of the price, one generally found that one had been badly taken down.

Egyptian coffee stalls were very popular

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with the Egyptians whose Mohameden religion forbids them the privilege of intoxicating liquor which proves an excellent idea and never saw a drunken Egyptians.

Nearly every street has its silk shop, and perhaps those situated at the bazaar were better and cheaper. Excellent laces, silks, and ornaments were purchased at these shop which were a favourite haunt of those who had money to spend on presents for relatives and sweethearts back in sunny Australia

The back streets and by-ways even in the very heart of the city, were in numerous cases accompanied lined on either side by houses of ugly appearance. The interiors were filthy, the dust lying thick on the floors which never seemed to be washed or even swept. The inhabitants are of all nationalities including Arabs, Montenegrins, Syrians, Jews, Albanians, Greeks, and many other European nations. Their morals in some cases we found degrading and awful.

The main thorough fares in the European quarter were wide an clean, and stately building of modern architecture, generally built of brick rendered with cement, presented a pleasing aspect to the eye.

The more expensive private homes, owned by the wealthy Egyptians, were beautifully situated amongst the date palms. Artistic furniture and beautiful rugs were a dominating feature

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Memories of Egypt

of a great many homes.

Notes on Cairo would be incomplete without alluding to the famous or more correctly infamous Wassaby, a hot bed of immorality.

Nearly every Australian passed along this street at some time or other. French and Egyptian girls with very much abbreviated skirts would wave to our men from verandas facing the street, and in full view of Shepherds hotel.

The weaker fell to this coquetry .

For various reasons, and on more than one occasion, the Australian set alight to these buildings, threw furniture into the streets, raided silk shops, expelling their contents into the streets.

This street was always crowded with lazy Egyptians selling fruit, ornaments etc., as well as British and Australasian troops. The traffic along the narrow thoroughfare was very congested, and many scenes of Egyptians having an heated argument in their guttural language were to be seen every day. They never seemed to come to blows. Perhaps they are too cowardly. They generally performed a series of eccentric movements. I saw one fellow in a fit of desperation remove his coat & thrice replace the same. He threw his hat on ground, picked it up again, only to throw it away once more.

Such is their temperament.

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Memories of Egypt

Egypt depends entirely on the Nile for its water supply, and there is exactly two points of rain recorded in Cairo for the whole year. Cultivated area land meets the eye everywhere especially running alongside the railway and the sweet water canals. The land is very fertile from the rich mud which is left behind from the annual overflow of the Nile. All the watering is managed by a system of irrigation.

Such Australians will never forget the land of rock and sun with its endless sandy deserts and the ever penetrating sun above.

Memories of the wonderful pyramids, the beautiful mosques, and the innumerable antiquities of that most interesting country will ever remain fixed in our minds.

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Chapter 12

Defending the Suez Canal

When Turkey joined Germany in her lust for conquest during the early period of the war, the British struck her the first blow by annexing Egypt. The Turkish flag was lowered and her Sultan dethroned, and so Egypt passed from a virtual British possession protectorate to a virtual British possession.

In Jan 1915 a new Sultan was elected, the British flag was hoisted, and a large garrison force of consisting of British and Australasian troops was stationed at Mena, Maadi, Zeitoun and Heliopolis.

From time to time reinforcements were drafted to the canal banks to stem the tide of Turkish attacks, which were frequently launched from time to time, to throw off the British yoke and regain their most treasured possession. Their first, but half hearted attack took place during January 1915 with only a handful of men, numbering about twelve thousand. The attempt brought them disaster at the cost of very severe casualties, while the Ghurkha, Indian, and New Zealand regiments suffered insignificant casualties losses.

Our trenches were situated along the western banks of the canal, and though well hidden and protected they were obviously wrongly situated allowing, as they did, the Turks to approach right up to the canal, and even to place pontoons across the water. Having ascertained that their attacks in the future were to be more determined

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Defending the Suez Canal

and furious, it was considered advisable to erect a new firing line, well out in the Sinai peninsular, and thus protect the canal from artillery fire which would hinder and probably curtail the shipping through this most valuable highway.

This meant additional hardships and energy, as the transportation of supplies over such loose and heavy sand was very troublesome and the intense heat of the sun added to this difficulty.

Suez, Serapeum, Ismailia, Romani and the Katia district were the most vital points open to attack, and it was at these places that the defences were strengthened by all possible means.

At Serapeum, as at all other positions, the water supply afforded much difficulty and anxiety.

Our engineers overcame this by purifying the water from the Sweet Water Canal which ran in the direction of Suez. The water was pumped up & filtered in two huge cylindrical shaped concrete filter beds from which pipes ran underneath the canal, transferring the water to tank reservoirs on the east side. From these tanks the water was pumped to huge tank reservoirs which were at the rail head. These were under the leadership of "Jhonnie" of the Indian Transport Corps or Egyptians, the water was taken to the

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Defending the Suez Canal

various points along the firing line by camels. The laying of the water pipes caused much difficulty. It was found that the pipes when laid close to the surface were greatly affected by the heat, which caused so much contraction and expansion in the metal that joints cracked making the pipes utterly useless.

The same complaint was experienced during the laying of the Decaville railway lines. The heat greatly affected the curvature of the lines making them positively dangerous for traffic. The Decaville engines and trucks were delivered in very bad working order, and caused much inconvenience and delay to such an extent that it was considered wiser to substitute mules for the engines. The mules pulled the trucks admirably but were very slow causing much delay & annoyance. The engines, however, were replaced after repair, and things worked smoothly. The transportation of war commodities became easier and less laborious.
The railway lines and road always followed one another running from the canal banks to railhead whicha t Serapeum was approximately eight miles distant.
The Egyptian Labour Corps and our engineers carried out the laying down of the rails and road. The lines were laid first, the metal being brought across in trucks & emptied out alongside. As the Egyptians made the road the lines were lengthened.

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Defending the Suez Canal.

,and so in this way the roadway & railway lines were laid together until they were finally completed.

Life at in the trenches situated miles from the canal was very dead. Nothing else but sand to see, no pleasures of any description, always hard at work building up fallen in trenches, always an intense heat above, a little enough food, and half a bottle of water to last for twenty four hours. We never had a bath then, not even a wash, scarcely enough to drink. A miserable life that. But such are the conditions that our men infantry have had to endure in the defence of the canal during these two or more years of war.

Many brigades were sit have their camps pitched right along the banks of the canal, and they were better off for they could have a swim occasionally. They were acting as reserves and did not occupy the trenches. But they, too, were worked hard at fatigues and divisional training.

Huge camel pits had to be dug in the rear of our trenches, and this enormous work was generally entrusted to the reserve battalions. These pits were very large and harboured from forty to sixty camels from view of aeroplanes etc. These pits were about five feet deep and the sand was heaped up in front which added to the depth. They were dug at different points, each pit being dug by our own men

[Page 73]
Defending the Suez Canal

and that meant a tremendous amount of manual labour.

Our trenches were not always occupied as our aeroplanes were always vigilant, and they warned us in good time if any activity of the enemy was ascertained. I remember well the time in May 1916 that an alarm was given. With full packs, and all necessary rations, and two hundred rounds of ammunition wehurried from struck camp and hurried out from railhead to occupy the trenches which were about four miles further out. We fully expected an engagement during the next few hours but our expectations did not come, and after waiting patiently for several weeks our division was ordered to France.

Sure enough the attack was launched but not until the end of July when the Australian Light Horse, English, and Scottish regiments situated a little further north at Romani and Katia district gained a magnificent victory by putting a furious Turkish attack to rout and capturing over 3,000 prisoners.

Our trenches were well hidden and masterfully hidden situated, but on account of the great length of the frontage and the difficulty of digging in the loose sand, all the trenches were not connected. Huge gaps lay between, through which the enemy could penetrate if our outposts were not vigilant. The third reserve line of defence was situated along

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Defending the Suez Canal

both sides of the canal banks. In case of an actual crossing by the enemy a vast area of land at certain points is prepared to be inundated by water from the various canals.

Warships who have their moorings in the different lakes are dominating all the area likely to be occupied by the enemy in case of an advance. On land batteries, well hidden in gun pits, are placed at different points of advantage. When the trenches were not occupied our camps were pitched at railhead, and at the canal banks. These places were surrounded with canteens, shops, and a Y.M.C.A.

The Y.M.C.A. never failed to oblige. They followed us everywhere in Egypt, in Gallipoli, in France, and in England, providing amusements, canteens, and spiritual exercise. Wherever we went our boys always looked for the sign of the red triangle which they knew meant a welcome & comfortable home.

Ordnance and depot stores with abundance of material, water reservoirs, & troughs for horses are a dominating feature of these camps. The Light Horse had their camps situated everywhere. Some at railhead & others further out near the lines. The horses bear stood the weather admirably & were as assimilated as could be wished.

The Light Horse were used as patrols, and they reconnoitred the country far beyond our lines bringing back valuable information night after night, and often capturing or putting to flight bandsscattered bands of Turks.

The organisation is now perfect, and thanks to excellent leadership & perseverance of our officers, all attacks by the Turks have been hopelessly outplanned.

[Transcribed by John Brooker and Rex Minter for the State Library of New South Wales]