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Remembered Today:

8th Battalion AIF Diary Found !


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I understand your concern regarding the typing, I transcribed a comparable amount of pages of my grandfather's letters from the front to my grandmother and it seemed to take forever. It was well worth the effort though and allowed me to include photographs and footnotes explaining points or identifying individuals mentioned in the letters.

Brian M

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Why did you think it was the last bit Marina ?



You signed off 'that's all for now'! Wasn't sure if you meant that the diary was finished, or if you were just having a rest from all that typing!

Glad to hear it's just a rest - now you look after the typing digits - they mustn't get weary or worn out ;) as there seems to be quite a bit of work ahead of them...


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Annie Laurie rather than Auntie Laurie? Lovely song.

That was an exciting time when the riot broke out - the brigadier clearly has a handful in this lot!

When does he go to |France?

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Hi All

Apologies are in order as I have just realised I made a mistake or two in my earlier scribblings. The period from March 31st to April 3rd should have read:

March 31st

Parade 8.30 till 11.30am. Outpost duties by day. Brigadier told the officers that by the middle of April we would be in action. Pay day. Parade 6.30pm till 9pm. Outpost duties by night. Rather funny, hailed up the Brigadier and his staff. Beautiful moonlight nights lately.

April 1st

Parade 7am. Divisional day, one of the stiffest we had. Back in camp about 3.15 pm. Went to Red X Hall, very good, splendid contortionists.

April 2nd

Church parade 9am in Red X hall. Good sermon by Capt Dexter. Rumours of our departure on Monday and so I should take the opportunity of having a look at Heliopolis ( a suburb of Cairo) where the 2nd contingent of New Zealanders are camped. There is a splendid service of electric trams, they start on the road and then follow alongside the railway line for a couple of miles and out to the road again. Heliopolis is the T???ak of Cairo. On our way back we saw countless millions of locusts, they are just like huge clouds. Arrived back in Cairo about 3 o’clock and at 4 o’clock, being near one of the lowest streets in Cairo, and noticing a big crowd there, investigated, only to find that a quarrel had arisen between some of the New Zealanders and the natives, with the result that the former went into the houses and entirely cleared them out, throwing everything in to the street, a piano included, and setting fire to it, soon there was a large bonfire in the middle of the street. After a while about 20 of the Redcaps (M.M.P) arrived on the scene and when in the middle of the crowd, they were greeted with lumps of limestone chairs etc, with the result that the redcaps withdrew their revolvers and fired on the crowd, about 10 shots were fired, in addition to a few from our fellows who chanced to have revolvers. Two or three were wounded . About 5 o’clock a platoon of L F’s arrived and half an hour later a squadron of Westminster Dragoons. The Fire Brigade turned out, but they were put to flight by the crowd, the hose cut in halves and a half deposited at each end of the street. More dragoons and infantry arrived later, also the Australasian Provost Marshall, who made an appeal to all those men that wished to help him to clear the street , and were not interested in the affair to return to camp. Barney Allan and I returned, as asked. Arrived back in camp about 9pm.

Sorry about that folks will post next installment tomorrow morning. :D

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Hi Jules

Really looking forward to the next lot of installments - I guess it's sad - we Aussies and our fixation on Gallipoli.

Well, your grandad may not have been on Picquet duty for the "Battle of Wassa" - but he was there - glad to see he wasn't actually involved in the rioting - though he gives the impression that only the New Zealanders were involved - the Aussies were right amongst it too.

Also under Apr 2nd:

Heliopolis is the T???ak of Cairo. This would very likely be Toorak - a "swanky" suburb of Melbourne - and considered "the place to live", and still used today amongst Victorians as a comparison. ie. By saying that 'Heliopolis is the Toorak of Cairo' - we can picture it as being where all the well-to-do people live.

The soldier that died in a motor accident on the 19th March was Pte Leonard Bertram WALKER - he was 26 years old and married. So sad.

At the start of the tenth instalment Mar 13th, where your grandad says:

Entered up this diary in long hand from my shorthand notes, from Oct 9th to Feb 3rd, I cupped?, Mostly from Mac's book as I did not start till Feb 3rd. The only thing I can think of that makes sense is copied. In other words, he's fleshed out his diary with the help of the notes from a mate's diary.

Bring on Gallipoli!

Although you could perhaps have the weekend off - if you'd really rather - we don't want you wearing yourself out you know.

Cheers, Frev.

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Hi Frev and Andrew P

Thanks for the comments and the explanations of various words and phrases in my instalments. I could not for the life of me work out the one that turned out to be "Toorak". I even looked up a whole load of possible words to try and get some ideas but with no luck. Don't worry frev there is no danger of me having the weekend off as I cannot wait to here about Gallipoli myself :rolleyes:

Marina thanks for the info about the song being called Annie Laurie, this is such an educating experience, that I could never have imagined. Oh by the way Frev my grandad did apparently copy the first part of his diary, for some reason I typed "cupped", must have been getting late then !! :o

Onto the next instalment then, see you all later


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11th Instalment

Hi All

Sorry about the wait I hope it has been worth it, so here is the next episode.

April 5th

Arrived alongside the wharf at Alexandria at 5 am, and were onboard the “Clan Macgilloray” about 6.30. She is a small boat compared with the “Benalla” although the accommodation is not bad and I think I shall do alright. A coy of the 7th Battalion is with us. We re duty company today, but T.K. (Tom Keddie) and I are free of course. There is a big crowd of British and French transports in the bay, also the USA warship “Tennessee”, and the hospital ship ”Sicilia”. Did a little fatigue on the wharf before tea. Pulled out from the wharf at 5 pm, and anchored out. Laid down my bunk on the focsle and slept till midnight, when rain sent me below.

April 6th

Hammocks now provided. Reveille 6.15. The “Tennessee” is now only 200yards away from us. She is not a bad looking boat and the first I have seen with a conning tower. Alexandria is a very important shipping centre and at present the harbour is absolutely packed with boats of all kinds. It is interesting although pitiful to watch the niggers loading the barge with coal. The tucker is poor and will require to improve considerably. It mainly consisted yesterday of biscuits 3” in diameter and 1” thick, break them in half (which none but a strong man can do) and you have green mildew; we also got a little bully beef. An improvement today, although there is room for more. The company only agreed to cater from this morning. Breakfast: Bacon, bread, jam and tea; Dinner: Soup boiled beef and potatoes; Tea : Fish (?) Bread cheese and tea. Hammocks comfortable after the sand.

April 7th

Reveille 6.15 am. The sport is very busy. Rumours that we are sailing tonight or tomorrow morning, waiting for Iron rations. A Greek boat the “Oyfana” arrived last night, flying the yellow flag, and boatloads went away from her to quarantine under police escort. Check Parade today and barge loads of provisions taken onboard this afternoon and tonight. Expect to leave shortly now. Have an idea we are going to Lemnos Island?

April 8th

7th and 8th Battalion mail came on yesterday. Crews? Expected at noon today. Sailed 6pm. Good bye Egypt and good riddance. Have just out the pilot off and are off to ? Looks pretty rough tonight and we may have some rough weather, a bit choppy already. A steamer ran down a native sailing craft this afternoon and one of the occupants was drowned (a ******).

April 9th

A lovely fresh morning, not a sign of human life outside of the boat, just the great boundless ocean. A large number

Of fellows ill last night and this morning. Parade 10am. Every man issued with 200 rounds of ammunition. 6 pm. Issued with 2 days iron rations consisting of 11 handfuls of small oatmeal biscuits, 2 tins bully beef and 2 tins each containing 1 packet of tea, one of sugar and 2 cakes of Oxo, the whole in two cloth bags. Officers and Nco’s paraded before the CO tonight, when he gave them some idea of our job, looks as if we will be into it shortly.

Saturday April 10th

Barren looking islands on both sides of us. Expect to reach our destination tonight, where we will concentrate prior to proceeding to the Gallipoli Peninsula. Enemy force there supposed to be 200,000. On guard today, 2nd relief. 2pm land no longer in sight, travelling very slowly all day. Paid 10/-. 6pm. The “Galeeka” behind us is gaining on us and the “Indian” in front. A concert onboard tonight. Lieut Findlay very good.

April 11th

On guard aft from midnight until 4 am. 2 am gave the officer of the watch a hand to haul in the line. H epointed out the Lemnos light, 20 miles distant, more ships to be seen near the light. Dropped anchor in the harbour (which is a splendid one) about 7am. Mail came onboard about 7.30. This island seems to be very rugged, although partly under cultivation., practically no foliage. There area a large number of warships of all kinds here:- Dreadnoughts including the “Queen Elizabeth” and “Lord Nelson”, both of which we went very near to; cruisers torpedo boats, destroyers and the Russian 5 funnel cruiser “Askold”; we saw the latter at Columbo. There are a good many transports in the harbour, and I presume we have to wait until the completion of the army arrives, (probably a week). There is a boat here with a hydroplane onboard and she went for a trial spin this morning, very graceful rising from and descending to the water. The entrance to the Dardanelles is about 40 miles away so we are close and handy. About 10.30 am we heaved our anchor and pulled up alongside A.13 the “Mashobra”(B.I. Line), the sides of the boats are touching. Goodness knows what is the reason for this. The Eng'rs, A.S.C, A.M.C, and some of the battalion transports are onboard the other boat, also the 2nd Brigade Headquarters staff, including Captain Dexter. Some troops are to be seen on the island where there is a fair sized camp, perhaps they are the 3rd Brigade. 4pm. Given half an hour in which to write letters. After tea the hydroplane sailed up at a great rate and went right round the fleet, and soon after a submarine was to be seen ploughing its way between the ships.

April 12th

6 more transports arrived today, also 2, 4 funnel cruisers. Brigadier and battalion CO's said to have gone on the “Lizzie” to take a look at the place where we are going to land. Parade 10.30 am in full marching order. Some platoons practised descending down the side of the boat, where the ladders were fixed, into rowing boats. General Birdwood and Brigade staff onboard. Showers of rain tonight.

Tuesday April 13th

9.45am. Parade. 9.50am Rain. After waiting an hour dispersed. Full marching order frightfully heavy. 2Pm parade and platoon in boats, too rough. Intermittent showers all day. Time drags while below.

April 14th

A lovely morning. 7am. Pulled in as close to the shore as possible. Parade 8am to embark in small boats and go for a route march ashore. Orders apparently cancelled. 7th battalion and A coy practised disembarkation. Parade 2pm. We did do and C coy practised rowing in loose order. We are now anchored only 100 yards away from HMS “Dublin”.

April 15th

Hospital ship “Sicilia” arrived this morning, transports every day. Parade 7.45am. Cutter and boat from HMS “Bacchante” arrived, and we got onboard and made for a point on the shore, passing a great many transports, also the “Queen Elizabeth”, “Prince Of Wales” etc. The former is tremendous, literally scores of ships of all kinds in the harbour. we got ashore about 11am. This island is very pretty and apparently fertile. Shepherds in native dress and sheep with bells around their necks. A large number of troops landed. The population of the island, according to a hawker? Is about 20,000, and there are 38 villages. We skirmished inland for about a mile and then cam e back and waited for the boats to take us onboard again. Arrived back after another “bonza” trip about 4.30pm.

Friday April 16th

Calm as a duck pond. A lot of artillery and small arms ammunition around today. No parade for us, other companies went ashore. We have 2.5 million rounds of small arms ammunition onboard and a lot of shrapnel. Finished loading in the late hours of the night.

Saturday April 17th

Beautiful , calm again. Parade 7.45am. 9.30 embarked in ships boats and rowed ashore to nearest point, half a mile away. Very pretty, flocks of sheep, shepherds, farms neatly built of rock, plenty of cultivation, wooden ploughs. Tom Keddie and I left as guard over the rifles and equipment, while the others made anew landing place. Half an hour before dinner all hands had a swim, I missed it, but Tom K went. After dinner practised formation for when we land. We went over the hill, beautiful scenery, very rugged hills, between two of which is built an extremely pretty and fair sized township. Arrived back onboard about 3pm, then fatigue loading water in kerosene tins with tops soldered down, thousands of them. Rowed ashore with others and fetched back a party.

Sunday April18th

Transports arriving daily. 8am. The oil boat (“Lunik 1915”) came alongside and pumped water into us as hard as she could go. 10am. 8th Battalion band went over to H.M.S. “Sicilia” and gave them a few tunes. 11am. Officers and N.C.O's paraded and were told that we are to go ashore at Gallipoli in 3 destroyers and that we would be under fire before we landed. D Company No 1 destroyer. 2.30pm. Paraded in full order and took up our positions as will have to do when we land. The band went aboard H.M.S “Agamemnon” and were treated royally. Blue jackets and petty officers from aboard her borrowed their boats and came aboard us. Had a yarn with the Chief Engine Room Artificer.

Monday April 19th

and men swimming around the ship. Mail aboard after dinner. Rumours of setting off tomorrow. About 150 reinforcements from 14th battalion arrived 7.45pm.

Tuesday April 20th

Very fresh and a bit choppy this morning. One of a rowing party to row the Officers Patrol ashore and back. 1.45pm parade. Descending into boat. 2 pm. One of a party to row over to Hospital ship and back, rough, a hard tussle. 4.15pm Rowed ashore for party, arrived back about 6pm, very hard pulling , nearly an hour coming back, 2 men to an oar, 6 oarsmen. Artillerymen onboard fixing fuses to shrapnel shells.

Wednesday April 21st

Heavy rain through he night. Blowing hard. Rained till 3pm and then calmed down

Thursday April 22nd

A lovely fresh breeze and blowing. Hospital ship, 2 transports and a fleet of trawlers arrived in this morning, also torpedo boat destroyer. On guard today, 3rd relief. About 20 A.M.C. Men and officers arrived aboard today. Mail arrived today been hung up for days. Tucker these days is bully beef and biscuits, porridge for breakfast. Do not expect to be here long.

Friday April 23rd

Guard 4am-8am, not a baddie yarmed to the cork?. 10.30am practised descending into boats. Naval heat aboard. Hydroplane flying around 9pm. Something doing. Troopship and warships moving outside torpedo nets. Band palying for last time, tonight packing instruments.

Saturday April 24th

5.30 am. Awoke to find the ship under way. We were just going past the lighthouse at the entrance and were followed by the “Mashobra” and “Mumewoska” (Divisional Flagship). Anchored still off the land about 9.30pm. Expect to land early in the morning. Parade 10am. Final inspection of everything. 3am Parade. Practised taking our positions for disembarkation. Captain Coulter read out necessary information and divisional standing orders. D company 2 positions to take tomorrow and next day.

Keep viewing for the next instalment when John comes under fire for the first time


Jules :D

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Sounds like they should have added some of the 3" x 1" biscuits to the iron rations they were taking ashore - they would have come in handy in case they ran out of ammunition!

April 5th: Jules, your grandfather was on board the "Clan Macgillivray".

April 10th: The "Galeka" was carrying most of the 7th Battalion - including my great uncle Andrew Cumming.

April 23rd: Guard 4am-8am, not a baddie yarmed to the cork? Perhaps 'yarned to the cook' - who was probably stewing up pots full of porridge ready for the troops brekky!

Looking forward in anticipation,

Cheers, Frev

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12th Instalment

Hi All and welcome to the next gripping episode!

Sunday April 25th

Reveille 3 am. 7 transports here now and the number eventually increased considerably. Shrapnel and rifle fire all around the boats. 7.15 am. Embarked in destroyer, one boatload of our battalion went before we did. Transferred wounded and dead from destroyer to “Clan Mc”. H.M.S. “Triumph”, “Bacchante” etc bombarding fort and gun positions as hard as they can. Boats were lashed to the side of the destroyer so that their bottoms just skimmed the water and the men were able to get in them while she was going. When she had got as close to the shore as the depth of the water would allow her, she slowed down and the boats were released from her side, when Pi----? Towed us in as far as they could and we rowed the rest, having to jump in the water, knee deep to land. The 3rd brigade were covering party and landed first. We formed up in platoons on the beach and forced our way through the thick and prickly scrub. There being another line in front of us, who had driven the Turks before them, we did not meet with a great deal of opposition, although we got the benefit of a good many bullets fired at the front line, and some shrapnel. When we got to the first ridge in land, we were ordered by Lieut Colonel Gartside to strengthen the line already established there and dig in as he considered that all our fellows out in front would have to retire there before night, as they had met with considerable forces of the enemy and were losing heavily. Tom Keddie and I dug in next to one another and then turned our attention on a very troublesome sniper on our left front, he moved about and we could not get a good shot at him as he was so hard to see in the thick scrub. He eventually got Tom K in the calf of the leg, the bullet must have passed over me , I was dug in deeper than he was. Bandaged him up and took him to the rear, he gave me his automatic. Our fellows in front were compelled to retire during the afternoon after losing very heavily, especially in officers. Entrenched as hard as we could at night, firing all night. Shrapnel did us the most damage, and we had no artillery on land, and the warships were of course at a disadvantage, although they did splendid work. The Turks made repeated attacks during the night but were always repulsed.

Monday April 26th

Artillery expected ashore today, warships still bombarding. Barney Allan shot through mouth. Wounded men everywhere, SB’s and doctors scarce. 12am. Casualties estimated at 4,000, 75% 8th battalion officers out of action, 60% dead, very sad. A.M.C out all night and did splendid work. Rejoined company on battalions left flank, made dug outs till 4pm, then went in trenches to help cover advance to be made on our left. They advanced and were repulsed time after time, shrapnel fire awful. Slight advance at last. The warships helped us considerably. Splendid shooting today. In trenches all night, several minor attacks. No sleep.

Tuesday April 27th

Our artillery will be in position todaywhich should makea big difference. Enemy’s batteries all concealed. In trench all day, plenty of shooting, some marvellous escapes. Went to beach for water at dusk with Jim Price, we were just coming away carrying a tin full of water between us when he was mortally wounded. Sergeant Smith accidentally shot himself in the foot. Heard fighting all night, Jack Hutchinson shot dead 3 yards away from me, Didsbury wounded. Reinforcements expected tomorrow morning, God speed them, our casualties are very heavy. There forces against us said to be 54,000. Snipers very troublesome.

Wednesday April 28th

Very hot fire this morning, reinforcements arrived, but we are not relieved yet. A party went out to settle last night and caught 3. Comparatively quiet today. Gen Birdwood wishes every man to be awake all night, general attack expected but not delivered. A very cold night and a very long one. Had about 3 hours sleep since we landed.

Thursday April 29th

Improve trenches daily, dug communication trench this morning. Turks seem to be taking a breather but we have to be very watchful. First wash today in a dixie at that. Warships continually bombarding. Lance Corporal Walker shot through elbow and lungs by sniper, died almost immediately. Snipers very busy, impossible to locate them amongst the scrub. God help them when we get to close quarters, we all have somebody or something to avenge. Ghurkas, Sikhs, and Tommies arrived, some battalions relieved. Bill Colven? Turned up, things decidedly quieter tonight, merely a steady exchange of shots. Several shot by snipers. Fair amount of sleep, very cold.

Friday April 30th

S.B’s bringing in dead. To be relieved for a spell this mornning. Formed up and marched to a place of comparative safety behind the ridge which slopes down to the beach , and made dug outs. Went for a dip in the afternoon. Several poor fellows killed and wounded in the water and on the beach by stray bullets. A great sight about here, the hill sloping down to the beach for about 1.5 miles, is just alive with troops of all kinds and the beach with stores, munitions, horses, mules, etc. Enjoyed a much needed long sleep from 7 pm until 7 am. Issue of tobacco.

Saturday May 1st

Shrapnel bursting over the water near enough to us. Saw the old “Lizzie” firing close to us, she is a beauty. Reorganisation of battalion commenced, any amount of favouritism shown, Navy still going strong. More tobacco.

Sunday May 2nd

A bonza sleep. To move off to where the 14th battalion were at 9am, where , I believe things are pretty solid. Heavy bombardment on right this morning, probably they have started the big sweeping movement down there. D coy duty company, left beach 12.30 and arrived at position 1 pm after a brute of a climb with a big load. Cut ledge through scrub in rear of firing line. Fatigues all day, we are supports, Indian Mountain Battery arrived today, very handy extremely hard to get some of the bigger guns into position.

A few questions if I may. What are AMC and SB's and what does the bit about favouritism mean ?

Many thanks



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Many thanks Steve, it makes sense now, have you been reading all of it up to now as I have not seen any comments from you prior to this one. Thanks again mate.


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Hi Marina Frev and Krithia and anyone else reading this

You are right Marina it sounded very rough indeed, snipers had a reputation of being able to hold down many men and considerably dent morale in the process. In the meantime things don't get any better as you will see below

Monday May 3rd

Things pretty lively here. 1am ordered to “stand to”, a determined attack made on our front, but repulsed without assistance of support. 3am-7am, digging communication trench, starting from the right of the line under fire always, 1 wounded. Turks shelling with big guns from other side of peninsula, shells falling 200 or 300 yards short of the transports. 1 eventually hit but apparently not damaged much. 5.30pm to 9.30pm. More trench dgging. Tucker now is very fair. Tea, Cheese, Bacon, Jam Beef, “Army Rations” and biscuits.

Tuesday May 4th

No alarm last night, issue of cigs and tobacco. Understand the man of this place is Kapatepe? 8am to 12 noon. More trench digging. Things pretty quiet excepting for about half a dozen destroyers coming close to the fort and blowing up trenches tramlines etc, laid by the Germans for disappearing guns. 4 pm to 8pm fatigue. Big attac expected tonight 8.30pm. In support trenches and then digging, on the alert till dawn. Things lively but not a bit serious.

Wednesday May 5th

5 am returned to ledge. German big guns bombarding the fish. To move off from here this morning. Shifted to hill back from beach. Shelled till 7.30 pm and then marched off down to the beach with remainder of 2nd brigade. Every man issued with two days iron rations and 1 tin Machonoches ration? Rested till 2 am in the morning, during which time Alec Hallam was badly wounded by a stray bullet.

Thursday May 6th

2am Embarked on barges and were taken aboard destroyers. Went at full speed for sometime and then arrived at end of the peninsula (Cape Helles?) about 5am. Landed in cutters, formed up and marched inland a mile, and had breakfast there. We then marched 2 miles or more further inland, chose position on which to camp and threw up breastworks as protection against shrapnel, by companies. We are said to be about 3 miles in rear of firing line. Country less difficult, more fertile and flatter. A lot of artillery down here including some fo the best in the world, by the French 75's. 11am. Tommies advance covered by heavy artillery fire, battle now raging; reinforcements have been sent here to participate in taking the big hill in front of us which is strongly fortified, a big job, the main obstacle. Saw some of the ruined forts and villages when coming here. A good camping place, running stream, well and wood. German officer said if he were General Hamilton he would rather attempt to take Gibraltar than the big hill. Artillery going there hardest at night, any amount of it here.

Friday May 7th

Bitterly cold last night without blankets. Our troops made good progress last night, 3 trenches and 6 guns taken. Took a stroll over hill in rear of us and watched the effect of our artillery, a great sight; battle raging all day. 8pm. Thousands of reinforcements arriving just now. To be ready to move at 7am in the morning.

Saturday May 8th

Twas the Manchester Brigade arrived last night. We were held in readiness till noon today then at 12.15 we moved off, the 3rd reinforcements arriving simultaneously, also Mena sick including John McCulloch. The whole brigade moved off in column of route and we eventually opened out in platoons at specified distances and advanced in this formation for about a mile. We then dug ourselves in behind a hill and were ordered to have tea, but when half way through it we were told to be ready to move off in 10 minutes. We eventually advanced under very heavy fire and then advanced along a creek for a while, but had to leave this and came right out in the open under very heavy fire and advanced in short sharp rushes to within about a mile of where the first line were digging in, they chased the Turks out of their former trenches and pushed the firing line forward about 600 yards. We were unable to go any further as the firing line was full up and so we got in an old trench and improved it, whilst doing so Colonel Bolton and Captain Ebeling came along ( it was dark by this time) and said to our Company Commander that ammunition and reinforcements were wanted in the firing line and Captain E would lead us to it. We followed them, I being directly behind the Colonel and halted when we came to a road about 200 yards in rear of the firing line. The road being of white metal, we were soon seen on it and a heavy fire was offered up on us, we were compelled to get down pretty quickly, but not before a few poor fellows had been shot down. Colonel Bolton had evidently been misinformed as no reinforcements were required and so we dug in as supports just the other side of the road, for our very lives, as we we were getting the benefit of all the shots that took no effect on the fellows in the firing line, who were still potting away at the Turks. The brigade lost very heavily and it is enough to drive a man mad to have to remain in the trenches we had made and listen to the moans, cries and delirium of the hundreds of wounded in rear of us. The Brigadier was wounded in the leg and we lost two of the best officers, we had, viz; our second in command (acting CO of the 7th Battalion) Lt Colonel Gartside and the adjutant, Captain Possingham, who was shot through the heart and fell dead in the arms of Colonel Bolton. We had a good many SB's and AMC men wounded.

Hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did, I consider myself and my father extremely lucky to even be on this planet !!

Regards Jules

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Reading that, you are lucky indeed, jules.

This is silly, but I'm getting worried about John Pitt now - my heart's in my mouth with so many dying round about him.

This is an amzing diary - most of the ones i ahve seen are only notes about where, when and so on - very terse. The detail in this one is a find. Next installment tomorrow ?


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Wow! To be fighting all day and still have the sense and time to record everything he is experiencing in such detail tells us that he is very much aware of the historical event that that is taking place around him.

Brian m

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To add to that thought, I just wish that my Granfather's letters contained as much detail as yours.


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Hi Brian and Marina

The more I read of my grandads diary the more I am amazed that he had the presence of mind to be able to write in such amazing detail, when he must have been so tired. I would imagine he had to do it on a daily basis too, I am very glad he did though. The thing I find strange is that my own father has never read the diary himself, even though my grandad never spoke to him about his wartime experiences. This is eating up all my spare time but I am enjoying every minute of sharing it with you all.



Next instalment to follow.

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You've left him in the trench listening to the cries and groans of the wounded. I[m off work with the flu today and keep checking in to see if you['ve g0pt him put of there yet!


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Hi Marina

Next instalment to follow later, sorry for the wait !!


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AAArgh! The suspense!

BTW, Jules , can I ask if you knew your grandfather? Did he ever speak to you about his wartime experiences?

Don't answer this if you're busy with the enxt installment...


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Hi Marina sorry to keep you in suspense. I did know my grandfather well but he died when I was sixteen and before I really had a chance to find out much about his wartime experiences. I do remember him showing me a 9mm Luger pistol he brought back with him, but alas he surrendered it during a gun amnesty. Anyway here is the next instalment for you.

Sunday May 9th

Heavy firing during night. Probably remain in trench until dark. Steady exchange of shots all day. Went for water a half a mile away, and nearly got lost coming back, and wandered right up to our firing line, but a few shots dropped around my feet and I beat a hasty retreat keeping flat all the while. Heavy firing al night and a tremendous bombardment of their trenches.

Monday May 10th

Fair amount of sleep last night. Position unchanged. Turks trenches about 200 yards from ours, well bombarded this morning. Stores and water half mile away, risky getting them up. Several of no--- down in the bottom of the trench for water and struck it at 3 feet (8 feet from surface). Improving trenches daily, usual mighty battle. Buried dead in immediate vicinity of trenches, a gruesome job.

Tuesday May 11th

Turkish red cross people busy this morning. Improved trenches and connected with firing line. 12oz tin of bully beef and 4 biscuits, a days rations, also tea and sugar, wood a scarcity, also matches. News that we are to be relieved at 8pm. Busy connecting trenches till last minute. Shrapnel pretty close about 8 o'clock. Left trench 8.30pm, into creek, and then roamed about, following a bad leader till about 10.30 when we arrived at the old camping places, after having provided the Turks with excellent practice at night sniping. About 50 of us came to this spot, the remainder of the battalion camped in the creek. Turned into dug out about 10.45, and about 11pm it commenced to rain, and continued, but although I had only an overcaot and no waterproof, I slept on and woke up lying in about 3” of water. Knocked up ---ged breakfast.

Wednesday May 12th

Remainder of brigade arrived about 8am. Roll call, our losses have been heavy although other battalions have suffered more than us. Only seven left in my section now. Gunnelson killed, several wounded. 9pm. Went for my pack which I dropped in the creek on the advice of the CO, when advancing. The brigade shifted to within a mile of the beach. Supposed to have a weeks spell. Rain continued till about 11.30pm, making everything frightfully slushy. Very tired and weary. Dug in. 3pm. A general and his staff came along and ordered us to shift to better cover. Moved half a mile more inland and dug in there. More h---bug. 4 pm. Went down to beach canteen and arrived just in time to see them closing down. On the way saw aeroplane alight on aviation ground, several of them here. 6pm. Heavy bombardment. The Lancashire Fusiliers relieved us.

Thursday May 13th

Routine; Reveille 6am. Breakfast 8am, Roll call 9am. Dinner 12 noon. Roll call 2pm. Tea 5pm. 9am reorganisation of companies and inspection of rifles. Dismissed 10 o'clock. 2.30pm. Several big shells bursting round about main

base, perilously near, probably from away up the peninsula. Prevented us from having a dip this afternoon. Another advance said to have been made last night. 4.15. A few of us in charge of an Officer went for a dip. Several shells lobbing on beach, some marvellously escape for the small craft, especially from the shells fired by the guns on the Asiatic side. A French boat however is returning shot for shot. About 50 horses killed today. Issue of tobacco.

Friday May 14th

Duty battalion. Offered optional acceptance of Orderly room job, easy job so took it. The gully 300 yards ahead of us is heavily bombarded this morning, little damage. 12 noon. D company trench fatigue, I am exempt for a change. Effective strength of battalion to date, 685 men and 16 officers. Brigade strength 1676 men – officers. Percentage battalion casualties about 40%, Brigade casualties75%. Half oz bacon and cigs, present from the “Lizzie”.

Saturday May 15th

Germans must have brought up more guns. A large number of shells bursting around our camp and that of the French artillery which is right next to us. 2 burst in our lines and one only 4 yards from our dugout, but did not get anyone. 5 aeroplanes up tonight. Ordered to deepen dug outs. Issue of rum, the first.

Sunday May 16th

More shrapnel this morning. 8 am. Prepare for voluntary Church Parade at 9.30am. 8.30. Prepare to move at a minutes notice. 9.30 am. Brigade will move at 11 o'clock. Moved off to beach and embarked on H.M.S. “Reindeer” using the red “River Clyde” as a landing stage. We then transferred to A.1. S.S. “Ionian” arriving aboard about 1pm. Said to be bound for Gabatepe. We left Cape Helles at 5.45pm arriving off Gabatepe at 7pm. Prepare for hot tea at 8 o'clock. Destroyers arrived, got ready to trans ship. 7.45. Take off equipment and have tea, stew served out. 8.15pm. Make yourselves comfortable for the night. Trans ship 7am in the morning.

Monday May 17th

Issued with three quarters lb loaf of bread to a man, a luxury. Trans shipped aboard H.M.S. “Colne” at 7am. Shrapnel considerably heavier than when we left, 4 shells at a time bursting over the beach. The Turks however, evidently did not spot us landing as we got ashore without a casualty. Dug in on side of hill about quarter mile inland. Two 6” guns landed today, badly needed. 4.30pm fatigue. 7pm. Issued 24 hours rations; to go to Lemnos with Corp Coulter and 3 other fellows in morning to fetch officers kits, shall be away 3 or 4 days. Some mail. Issued rum.

Tuesday May 18th

Return of several men slightly wounded on the 25th ult?. 6am. SM told me they had brought officers kits, therefore no need for us to go to Lemnos, disappointed. Stray shots and shrapnel finding a mark now and again. 8.30am. Shrapnelbursting right in this gully, result :- communication trenches a necessity, busy digging for rest of day. Lost bacca pouch which was a present form J.S. 9.30am. Fatigue. 7th and 8th battalions in line picquet tonight. Probable result of extra bombardment. Issue of tobacco and cigs being well supplied in this direction.

Someone please explain the picquet references and where I have put dashes it is where I cannot read the words, please offer suggestions if you think of them.



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managed breakfas? Can't imagone what the no at the bottom of the trench was.

Liked it the bit when they went for a dip when the ebach was being shelled - snagfrpoid and HOW!


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Hi Marina, I hope you're feeling better today - it's really hard to imagine someone having the flu, when we're in the middle of summer here in Aus. You've got to tell me what the word in your last post "snagfrpoid" was supposed to be - I've been staring & staring - and still can't decipher it - I have to know, please!!

Hi Jules,

Glad to see your fingers are still nimble.

It's interesting what you said about your dad not having read this diary - my dad would have devoured it if it had been his father's. He often asked my grandad about the war - but grandad never wanted to speak about it, and he never kept a diary - perhaps that's why my dad was so obsessed with it - a trait he's kinda passed on to me (rather than my 3 brothers)!

Do you think your dad will be interested once you've typed it all up?

I really didn't expect him to keep the detail up once the fighting had started - amazing man - your grandad. I've been thoroughly enjoying matching up his story with the unit history - and gathering info on the men who died etc.

April 25th: ......... the boats were released from her side, when Pi----? towed us in as far as they could ....... - the word your looking for would have been Pinnaces - these were small steam boats used for towing.

April 27th:

Jim Price - This was no. 631 Pte James Owen Price, age 24, he's buried at Beach Cemetery.

Jack Hutchison - No. 238 Pte John Hutchison, age 20, buried at Shell Green Cemetery.

Didsbury (wounded) - This was Pte James Didsbury - who saw the war through and was eventually discharged 20/7/1919.

April 29th:

L/Cpl Walker - No. 842, Arthur Edward Walker, buried Shell Green Cemetery.

Bill Colven? turned up - this was Cpl William Colvin, 860 - later became 2nd Lieut - and eventually KIA 25/7/1916.

May 5th:

Alec Hallam, badly wounded - Alec may have been his nickname - or could it have said Hec - because this was actually 895, Sgt Hector Leslie Hallam, who died of his wounds the following day 6/5/15, on board the "Gloucester Castle" - and was buried at sea.

May 8th: (the 2nd Battle of Krithia)

Lt Col Gartside - Robert Gartside is buried at the Redoubt Cemetery. He was a very distinguished looking gentleman - if I ever work out how to post a photo on here - I'll show you.

Cpt Possingham - Alfred Harold Possingham, age 31 is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

May 10th:

Can't quite work out the no--- down the bottom of the trench either (Marina) - but it sounds like they were digging for water - and found it - to save them going a risky half mile to get it.

May 12th:

Gunnelson - 893, Pte Percy Oscar Gunnelson, age 21 was actually killed 8/5/15.

[Just in case you didn't know - the short time that the Aussies spent at Cape Helles earned them the title of "The White Gurkhas"]

May 17th: (back at Anzac)

Dug in on side of hill about quarter mile inland. - This area was known as White's Gully.

May 18th:

25th ult? - ult is an abbreviation for ultimo - which means the month before - ie. he's talking about men that were wounded at the Landing, 25/4/15.

7th and 8th battalions in line picquet tonight. - They returned to the firing line at Steele's Post that night, to briefly relieve the 1st &3rd battalions.

Looking forward to the next installment,

Cheers, Frev.

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Hi Jules,

Have you spoken to the War Memorial about this diary? The amount of detail is amazing and probably as good, if not better, as a lot of the stuff they have. I am pretty sure they would be interested in a copy.



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