Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Letter from Lieutenant William Christian Beeken, Gallipoli Peninsula, 2 June 1915
Envelope addressed to:
103 Cary Street
Back of envelope:
P1/Beeken, Wm. C.
No 4 General Hospital
14th Dec 1915
My dear Mr Beeken,
I have been wanting you address so that I might write to you and tell you how very deeply I sympathise with you and Mrs Beeken on the loss of your brave son. I personally was much distressed to hear of his death. He was such a fine, manly, fellow and he was a good officer and much esteemed by all who served with him. Brave to a fault, and patient and honourable are the qualities of a true gentleman and a good soldier and such was your son. Please accept my condolences for you and his mother in your troubles.
[indecipherable] 3rd Bn. A.I.F.
2nd June 1915
My Dear Mother, Father, Brother & Sisters,
Now that my Company has been relieved from the Firing line for three (3) days I have a chance of answering your letter which I received about a fortnight ago. I have seen now nearly six (6) weeks of active service at the abovementioned place against the Turks. No doubt you have by now heard of what the Australian Troops have done, how we landed with only twelve thousand Troops on Sunday the 25th April against thirty Four thousand Turks, the Sunday we landed we had no trenches, but the Turks were well entrenched however we drove them back out of their trenches
with the bayonet, the battle raged for four days hardly without a stop, but they received a good beating and retired and gave us an opportunity of entrenching ourselves.
The Turks again attacked us on the night of May 18th at 12.0 Midnight but we repulsed them again they came on very determined at 3-0 am on the 19th May but again we repulsed them with heavy loss to themselves, when day broke you could see the ground piled with dead Turks, the Turks casualties for those two attacks was 7,000 of which just over 3000 were killed since then they have only made one or two very half hearted attacks on our left flank
On Monday the 24th May the Turks asked for an armistice which we granted
to bury their dead. At about 7.30 am hostilities ceased and burial parties from both sides met in the centre of the two lines, the distance between the two Firing Lines is only about 150 yards and in some places as close as 50 yards only. During the day some of our men were talking to the Turks exchanging English money for Turkish and giving one another cigarettes and tobacco, the armistice lasted till 4.15 pm then again at 4.30 pm hostilities commenced again.
The casualties the Turks have sustained since our landing including the British troops who landed in other places on this Peninsula
have are 55,000 which the Turks have admitted so you see they have lost very heavily.
Well this is not a bad life at all plenty of open air and plenty of good food, our troops are fed splendidly, plenty of
potatoes, onions, ham, jam, biscuits, lime juice, vegetables, Fresh meat rum tobacco cigarettes and matches, so you see we are not doing badly at all. I suppose Fred has arrived home by now, it is the best thing they could have done with Fred, he could never have stood with what we had to do the first five days, no such things as sleep for these first five days but as reinforcements kept coming we were relieved for a couple of days. I may just as well tell you that I was slightly wounded on the 30th April, I was hit in the leg with a piece of Shrapnel, however I did not feel bad enough to knock, so I kept going ever since, although the wound in my leg is big enough for me to put the middle finger in the wound. We have had fairly good weather here only had 3 or 4 days
Of wet weather. The climate here is lovely just like that of Australia, the sunsets are glorious. The days here are very long we have daylight at ¼ to 4 in the morning and it does not get dark till 8.303 pm so you see we have a very short night.
Kindest regards to all at home. I hope that all are well and happy.
From Your Loving
Son & Brother
From Lieutenant W.C. Beeken
[Transcribed by Lynne Frizell for the State Library of New South Wales]