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13 Bn AIF
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Hi Members

the 4th Brigade AIF under Monash dug in along the head of 'Australia Valley' on 7 August as part of the August Offensive, with the aim of capturing the heights of Hill 971. During its 'long night march' on 6 Aug the Brigade did not reach the Asma Dere, though at the time this was not evident, and the exhausted men spent 7 August deepening trenches. 

On 8 August they were ordered to commence the advance on Hill 971. Lead by 15th Battalion they exited the Kaijik Dere near Hill 60 around 4am. The action was the 'first day of movement' on the peninsula since the landing on 25 April and the 15th Bn advanced in skirmish formation in the open across an 'oatfield' below a spur of the Damakjelik Bair, known as Yauan Tepe heading east towards the Abdel Rahmen Bair of which Hill 971 was the highest peak. The 15th Bn was caught by a barrage of MG and rifle fire from the Turkish 11th Regiment, as were the 14th Battalion on its right flank in support, although 16th Battalion was less exposed on the reverse slope of Yauan Tepe.

The Brigade retired to its original position of the firing line held by 13th Battalion and 7/KOR (Lancs). Over 400 men from the Brigade were either killed or missing that morning and the objectives of capturing the heights abandoned. The Turkish trench line established later in August was opposite the original 4th Brigade line. The remains of the men who were missing or killed on 8 August, behind the new Turkish line, were never recovered.

On  his return to Gallipoli in 1919, Bean sought to establish how far the 4th Brigade had penetrated, and discovered the remains of men scattered along the Asma Dere. About 700 yards north east of Hill 100 Bean found the remains of a group that had been buried and later dug up.

In a recent Phd thesis on Gallipoli POWs (Jennifer Lawless), of the 67 AIF Gallipoli POWs, 49 were from the 8 Aug advance on Hill 971, of whom 31 survived captivity to tell of their ordeal.

Next weekend I will return to the 'oatfield' and the 4th Brigade lines above 'Australia Valley' - to remember those that never returned, in a place that is seldom visited, and which contains no memorial to this failed offensive.

I would appreciate any sources of information from members that may indicate whether the remains of any of the fallen that day were buried by the Turks. Bean suggested there was evidence of a burial for a small group, and a post elsewhere suggested that on a battlefield trip some years ago others found evidence of the fate of those killed or missing. Bean also suggests (based on photos from near Hill 60) that a Turkish practice may have been to light fires to 'clear' areas of battlefield.

Incidentally, the PhD thesis mentioned above argues that reports at the time of brutal treatment of prisoners by Turks was probably not the case, based on letters and repatriation statements of the survivors. 

 

Dean Sherringham

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Hi Dean

A good area to explore so good luck on your trip. A friend of mine was involved in a discovery of some human remains on upper Yaivan Tepe, just shy of Hill 100 in the early 2000's and wrote an article on it. I have a copy of it somewhere amongst all my Hill 60 research, so you may wish to PM me. Not the Asma Dere but certainly part of the fighting that day, either in the advance or on their withdrawal. Since no other Allied troops got any further after that day and the Turks trenches hemmed in Hill 60 and Yaivan Tepe subsequently,  the evidence was strong for members of the 4th Brigade.

Overlays of October 1915 aerial trench photos and google earth are most helpful in the Hill 60, Yaivan Tepe, Hill 100 and Damakjelik Bair areas. I have never ventured over and down into the Asma Dere as my research relates more to the later fighting for Hill 60, so cannot help there. In 2014 I found numerous bones  and cartridge casings on upper Yaivan Tepe, most of which gets tilled by local farmers. I hope to get there next year for another poke around, range some distances between points and so on that I missed on the last trip. You would know that Beans OH Vol 2 has some helpful drawings in this regard. The paddock boundaries around Hill 60 are largely unchanged from the 1915 aerial photos which is helpful also.

Cheers

Ian

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Hi Ian

for months after I visited last year, I couldn't get the image of the 'oatfield' from my head, and the thought of those men, several hundred of them, having their final 'anonymous' resting place there. The scrub is incredibly thick on the tops of Hill 90 and Hill 100 now, and even following the rough track, the scrub is head high so visibility is poor. Interesting that perhaps a couple of recent parties have come across remains. I think my interest is in knowing, or finding out, whether some of the men were buried by the Turks, or left on the battlefield. I am certainly not searching myself for remains. I do not have direct Turkish contacts, but this would be an avenue to pursue. 

I have 'created' my own map, by printing the old publicly available GSGS4000 in large format, and colouring the existing vegetation based on google maps, as well as inputting some GPS points (managed to get pretty disoriented several times last year!). My other objective is to try to confirm the location of the 4th Brigade trench from 6-10 August, as this is where my great uncle was wounded. There are quite a few sketch maps from the various war diaries, all slightly different! I am also searching for the locations of some of the features mentioned in the accounts of the 'long night march' such as the Turkish camp, German officers dugout (my great uncle sent a German officer's spoon home to his finance), the pit for the French 75mm, as well as Monash's Brigade HQ and Norfolk cemetery. Also intend to visit Alai Tepe to confirm which parts of Yaivan Tepe were in the sights of the Turkish MGs. Your recollection of the location of the remains found by your friend near Hill 100, coincides with Bean's discovery of remains on the southern side of Hill 90. Bean also mentions the ammo dump, or 'garrison', as where some burials had been dug up - this is likely the spot near where Lt Luscombe and his small group surrendered - according to the PhD of Jennifer Lawless, only 6 men of the 49 captured from the 4th Brigade were not  wounded or only slightly wounded when captured.

Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments, 

Dean

 

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Welcome Dean,

 

Is that thesis by Jennifer Lawless you mentioned freely available? 

 

Scott

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Thanks Maureen.

 

Regards,

Scott

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  • 3 months later...
Guest RCBHenwood

Hello, Does anyone know of any detailed records/photos of the 13th's actions ar Gallipoli? 

 

My Grandad was in the 13th Battalion at Gallipoli. He was wounded 2nd of May ( GSW) to the left hand and returned to Gallipoli  2nd August - Eventually evacuated 25- 9 - 15 with Colitis. I am keen to trace his footsteps 

 He rarely spoke of the war evidently. I know he had to bayonet a man ( not sure German or Turk) and had numerous encounters and witnessed horrific events  as he served from 1914- 1918 /19

 

Many thanks 

 

RCB 

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T. A White's Battalion history is available in reprinted form - A good place to start. Also look at Bean's official history (online on the Australian War Memorial site). 

 

Giving his name never hurts either as someone else may have researched him.

 

Scott

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/24/2016 at 16:16, 13 Bn AIF said:

In a recent Phd thesis on Gallipoli POWs (Jennifer Lawless), of the 67 AIF Gallipoli POWs, 49 were from the 8 Aug advance on Hill 971, of whom 31 survived captivity to tell of their ordeal.

 

Incidentally, the PhD thesis mentioned above argues that reports at the time of brutal treatment of prisoners by Turks was probably not the case, based on letters and repatriation statements of the survivors. 

 

Dean Sherringham

 

Lawless has been discussed on this forum before. She received a grant from the Turkish Government to produce "her" research.

 

To say the Turks have some previous with obfuscating their history (if not outright lying out it) would be an understatement.

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Many of the Allied prisoners taken into captivity at Gallipoli were wrapped up in the August Offensive effort on Sari Bair. There are some accounts that relate to some men of the 4th Brigade AIF being captured, some wounded, and subsequently despatched by the Turks. German naval machine gunners and or mgs were involved in the fighting around Sari Bair and the W Hills. While I concur that the German effort at Gallipoli has been largely sidelined, on reading the almost 400 page thesis by Jennifer Lawless, I found it well balanced and well backed up by supporting evidence/research. I learned quite a lot. Well worth the read. Others may digress, but I would be interested as to why. The Turk OH does relate to 12  German battleship naval mgs being brought into this offensive around 7 August, at least 4 going to the W Hills to oppose the British efforts there. It would be nice to know more about how effective these mg crews were in relation to the fighting at both Chunuk Bair and the W Hills. Sadly, the Turk OH,  predictably says very little on this.

Ian

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  • 3 months later...
On 2/5/2017 at 20:43, RCBHenwood said:

Hello, Does anyone know of any detailed records/photos of the 13th's actions ar Gallipoli? 

 

My Grandad was in the 13th Battalion at Gallipoli. He was wounded 2nd of May ( GSW) to the left hand and returned to Gallipoli  2nd August - Eventually evacuated 25- 9 - 15 with Colitis. I am keen to trace his footsteps 

 He rarely spoke of the war evidently. I know he had to bayonet a man ( not sure German or Turk) and had numerous encounters and witnessed horrific events  as he served from 1914- 1918 /19

 

Many thanks 

 

RCB 

Hi RCB

there are a couple of sources for 13 Bn photos for the August offensive, apart from AWM.

 

1. There is the Philip Schuler account 'Brothers in Arms', Schuler was a reporter and son of the editor of the Age. Schuler followed the 4 Bde on 7 Aug to Australia Valley. Bean was wounded on the evening of the night march on 6 Aug near Nr 2 Outpost and did not produce a first hand account.

2. Another detailed account is from Joseph Beetson, CO of the 4th Field Ambulance, and a physician from Newcastle, NSW who wrote 'Five Months at Anzac'.

3. The other accounts are the Unit Histories from 14, 15 and 16th Battalions (though from memory, none contain photos)

 

Schuler and Beetson and 16th Unit history can be sourced online.

 

Dean 

 

 

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"Lost Anzacs" by Greg Kerr is an account of a member of 4 Brigade who was captured, and in captivity for 3 years. A good  read if you can get a copy.

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