X Marks the Spot

As every Australian knows, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  We celebrated Anzac Day only two days ago in Australia and around the world. 

In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the Allied Navies.  They lost the battle and retreated after eight gruelling months but ANZAC Day is now commemorated every April 25 as people remember the sacrifice of countless young men on both sides.

On the 20th May, 1915 Ted arrived at Anzac Cove. With the  photos taken during the two months and eleven days he spent there Ted describes life in the legendary battlefield. 

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Ted said that his first camp was on the lower edge of the picture above.    He and a mate used a damaged boat (shown in the photo) to build a dugout.  While they were knocking it apart a machine gun (marked with an X on the hill) started firing so they sat in the water for a while and then made a dash for the bush.  He said they used to swim at that beach but after sixteen men were shot in one morning it became “condemned”.

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This photo shows men bathing while another man is making a dugout.  A sunken trawler lies in the water while a battleship sits on the horizon. Ted refers to Tucker-time Annie and Beachy Bill, two guns which would open fire, clearing the beach and ripping open the boxes of tinned biscuits (hard as the hobs of Hades).  The photo below, taken opposite the Ordnance Store describes it as a perfect Hell Hole of a place on account of the poor cover and the number of shells which lobbed there.

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In the photo below is the place where all troops, stores, guns and ammunition were landed.   Ted marks with an X the spot on the hill where his dugout was for six weeks.  He also marks the spot on the beach where he was shot.

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Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 9.45.08 amTo transport  stores and ammunition mules were utilised .  This is the 9th Indian Mule transport in Headquarters Gully.  It was necessary to keep to the right of the gully as snipers hid in the higher slopes.

Ted spent his first night in Headquarters Gully.  The rain turned it into a watercourse.

All night the crack of rifles echoed down the gulf while every now and again the machine guns, bombs and mountain batteries would combine to disturb the velvety blackness of the night.

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This last photo is taken on the W Hills.  The dugouts have oilsheet roofs as the area was reasonably safe from shell fire but not from rifle fire.  Although men are standing about anyone could be shot at any time and any place.  Sandbags offered extra cover.  The cans in the foreground were used for holding and carrying water.  The men had to get water and had to exercise no matter the risk.

Ted always had a funny story to lighten the mood.  When unloading stores at Gallipoli it was common practice to drop a case on its corner, causing it to break open and empty its contents into the sea.  After dark the men would swim out and retrieve the tins to supplement their rations.  One night Ted was detained by a senior officer who appeared eager for a chat.  He quickly shoved the tin under his shirt but the lid worked loose and treacle oozed its way down his chest and legs.  When he finally escaped he was unable to remove the treacle with salt water and was pestered by flies and ants for weeks.

Ted’s diary entry for July 31:

Attack on the right flank… Midnight heavy shelling of beach.  Just dodged a couple but was caught with the third through the muscle of the right upper arm. Felt like a kick from a horse…Went to dressing station and had wound plugged and bandaged.  Taken to hospital ship with crowds of others.

So ended Ted’s time at Gallipoli.

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11 thoughts on “X Marks the Spot

  1. Hi, Lynda – I agree with the other readers. What a treasure of information and photos you have collected! And anecdotes, like the one about the treacle, are priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hari OM
    it is always amazing to me that there can be humour and humanity which comes from the memories of such times and places… Ted’s recording with his “X”s is quite remarkable from the point of view of the historical context and personal history within the greater picture. YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

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