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The Nek, 7 August 1915


Bill Woerlee
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I have often wondered how those men felt waiting to go over the top knowing what an impossible task they faced

Hi Annette,

My Great Uncle was killed in the charge of the 3rd line. According a survivor of the charge who was standing behind him: "I was the last person to speak with your Uncle. When the word came to go he turned around and said 'Goodbye, I don't think I'll be coming back from this one'." Last seen sprinting towards the Turkish trench.

I also spoke to another survivor who was wounded in the charge and asked him why did they go after seeing the two lines of the 8th LH shot down. He looked at me and said indignantly " Well, we didn't want them to think we were cowards!"

The moulds were broken when these guys were born.

Regards

Chris

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John

G'day mate

Sorry to have missed responding to your post of Aug 30 2006 - I must say that family pressures have prevented me from being as active as I would have liked to have been - darn this real life stuff.

Anyway, thanks very much for the valuable contribution. It really does put a human face to the casualty. It is much appreciated.

Cheers

Bill

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Chris

G'day mate

Thanks for your insightful response.

Cheers

Bill

PS - if you have a look at the list on p. 4 you are bound to find a surprise.

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When I visited Gallipoli to find the name of my Gt. Uncle at Lone Pine I also visited the Nek - a more moving experience than I can possibly say here, the place is haunted by the sacrifice made there.

Jerry

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Chris

PS - if you have a look at the list on p. 4 you are bound to find a surprise.

Thanks Bill. Also saw that he is mentioned in your very detailed account of the charge in the section on the third line. Its an amazing piece of research and very well done. Congratulations.

We have a photograph of him (full length) and a photocopy of a couple of letters written by him from ANZAC and reprinted in The Albany Advertiser.

Regards

Chris

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Chris

G'day mate

I would love to take credit for the extensive work done on the Nek as it is the result of many years of painstaking work by the author whose grandfather survived the episode - but the author is not me. The man whom any Australian with an interest in this subject can praise is Jeff Pickerd from Melbourne. His work is exemplary and tenacious. He is not baffled by researchers before him - he has persistently workded at this task over many years. So, please, like myself, be unsparing in praise of both Jeff's work and his remarkable generosity in sharing his work with the global community. Jeff is a modest man and probably is embarrassed to hear him being lionised but credit needs to be given where it really belongs.

My contribution is to feed him the occasional dribbles of information, have an idea of the role played by the 9th LHR and in the end, attempt to put together a roll of honour which acknowledges the full price paid at the Nek. Even with the best will in the world, typos creep in and so folks like yourself have been great in getting the list refined and corrected. So thanks for your help and support to ensure that our brave men are correctly remembered.

The one group of men unrepresented on this list are the Turks. Enemies at the time they may have been but they suffered just the same as the allies when they were in the trenches at Gallipoli. I suspect we can only remember them in the generality rather than deal with specific names - a sadness that makes the list lopsided and incomplete.

Cheers

Bill

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Jerrymurland

G'day mate and thanks for your comment.

Haunting is a good description of the feelings we all have when we look at the Peninsular Campaign. Many of us writing these histories are haunted by the images of these men and their empty diaries, those diaries whose entries ended on a specific day. Their pix show ordinary men in the peak of their lives, fit and healthy and yet we also see these same healthy men no more than bloated corpses. We are all haunted.

Cheers

Bill

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  • 7 years later...

Anyone know how to track down casualty details for a serviceman wounded in Gallipoli but died after evacuation to the UK? I'm interested in Lance Corporal Harold Harrison 11606 8th Cheshires, died of wounds "from Suvla Bay" in Manchester, UK, and I'd really like to find out in which action (if any) he was wounded.

Any help gratefully received

Jim

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Hello Jim,

Welcome to the forum. Sorry I can't help you, I am sure others might, but thank you for bringing this thread up to the light of day.

This has to be one of the most wondrous threads on the GWF. The detail, the passion, indeed the humanity glows from the posts. I have been mesmerised by it all. Thank you to those who contributed.

Jonathan

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Anyone know how to track down casualty details for a serviceman wounded in Gallipoli but died after evacuation to the UK? I'm interested in Lance Corporal Harold Harrison 11606 8th Cheshires, died of wounds "from Suvla Bay" in Manchester, UK, and I'd really like to find out in which action (if any) he was wounded.

Any help gratefully received

Jim

Hi Jim - and welcome to the forum

You'd probably have a lot more luck finding answers to your query if you start a separate post asking for info - and preferably including the 8th Cheshires & Gallipoli in your topic heading.

Best of luck

Cheers, Frev

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Jim,

I have found it difficult to establish casualties for the 8th Cheshire Regiment from the 7th August onwards until relieved from the trenches on Russell's Top. The only casualties from the regiment I have recorded for the 7th August are: -

Company SM George HARP No. 6089. (DOW 7/8/15. Ari Burnu Cemetery, ANZAC)

Private Arthur CHAMBERLAIN No. 2152 (11349)(8/8/15. Helles Memorial)

Private William LEE No. 2242 (Helles Memorial)

Private Ernest POLLITT No. 413 (12731)( 8/8/15. Ari Burnu Cemetery, ANZAC)

Private Fred SINKER No. 131(12561) (8/8/15. Helles Memorial)

All of these casualties wound have resulted from Turkish shell fire from around 12 noon onwards.

Without a date of being wounded and for dying from wounds makes it very difficult to advise how to find the place of wounding. Hopefully someone has access to the 8th Cheshire's war diary for Gallipoli, or the unit history.

Jeff

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Mate,

The war dairy records its losses for Aug (1915) as 9 killed 66 wounded and 2 missing for the month.

As stated the 8th Bn Ches suported the RWF attack on the 7 Aug around the Nek on Walkers Ridge, and remained in the trenches on Walkers Ridge till the 9 Aug when it moved the No 2 post while half the Bn went into suport at Quinn and Courtney's Posts.

On the 13 Aug to Bn moved to the Apex near Chailak Dere and Rhododendroe Spur and remained there till the 28 Aug when it moved into reserve near Kaiajik Dere.

The casualties given are for the month so when they died or wounded is hard to confirm, as stated it maybe best if posted where some of our British mates who look at British Bn's can see it by starting a new discussion.

Sorry its not much help

S.B

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I suppose you could go on the CWGC website and punch in relevant dates, where you will get your day by day casualties of those died, bearing in mind some may have been wounded a day or days earlier before dying of wounds.

Just a thought which might narrow down your dates. I found it handy.

Cheers

Ian

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Mate,

Since he died in the UK 19-10-15 so when was he wounded?

Since the higher numbers of wounded happened in Aug there were losses in Sept,

the Bn records its losses in Sept as 2 killed 18 wounded and 352 sick

The 8th Bn Ches moved into reserve at Sulva Bay between 1 to 20 Sept taking over the Sulajik Sector on the 20 Sept until relieved by the 1 LF on the 30 Sept.

So was he wounded in Aug on the Anzac front or in Sept on the Suvla Front?

As you mention he died from wounds from Suvla then you may have the answer?

As stated a posting on this question may give you the answer from our British mates.

S.B

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The following were evacuated on HMHS Assaye on or around 8 September 1915. A little later than the date discussed above, however can we assume that these men took part in the action at The Nek. The 5th name is a little unclear but I’m sure someone will be able to clarify. There are one or two names for the 10 ALH and 8 Cheshire and I’ll post if anyone is interested.

Index Number of Admissions: 1556

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: B

Regimental Number: 840

Rank: Private

Surname, Christian Name: Simpson, L

Completed years of Age: 24

Completed years of Service: 1

Completed months with the Field Force: 4 months

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Influenza

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: Deck A

Religion: CE

Index Number of Admissions: 1594

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: C

Regimental Number: 909

Rank: Corporal

Surname, Christian Name: Pearce, A E

Completed years of Age: 28

Completed years of Service: 10 months

Completed months with the Field Force: 6 weeks

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Dysentery

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: Deck B

Religion: CE

Index Number of Admissions: 1613

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: B

Regimental Number: 332

Rank: Private

Surname, Christian Name: Williams, A R

Completed years of Age: 23

Completed years of Service: 1

Completed months with the Field Force: 4 months

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Dysentery

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: Hatch

Religion: RC

Index Number of Admissions: 1637

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: B

Regimental Number: 285

Rank: Corporal

Surname, Christian Name: Borman, B J

Completed years of Age: 27

Completed years of Service: 1

Completed months with the Field Force: 4 months

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): GSW Back

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: -

Religion: Meth

Index Number of Admissions: 1794

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: B

Regimental Number: 204

Rank: Private

Surname, Christian Name: Henkes or Herkes, R

Completed years of Age: 43

Completed years of Service: 1

Completed months with the Field Force: 3 months

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Hemorrhoids

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: -

Religion: Pres

Index Number of Admissions: 1806

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: A

Regimental Number: 877

Rank: Private

Surname, Christian Name: Bird, J G

Completed years of Age: 21

Completed years of Service: 10 months

Completed months with the Field Force: 1 month

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Diarrhoea

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: -

Religion: CE

Index Number of Admissions: 1908

Regiment, Battalion, Corps, or other Unit: 8 Australian Light Horse

Squadron, Battery, or Company: C

Regimental Number: 426

Rank: Lance Corporal

Surname, Christian Name: McLennon, J K

Completed years of Age: 26

Completed years of Service: 1

Completed months with the Field Force: 4 months

Diseases (Wounds and injuries in action): Debility

Date of Admission for Original Disease: 8 September 1915

Number or designation of ward in which treated: -

Religion: RC

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Mate,

If you details on the men you list I can give you want a have,

like;

SIMPSON Lionel 840 Pte 8 LHR 4R tos B Sqn D Troop 5-15 WIA 7-8-15 L/shoulder & hip shot in charge at the Nek (G) to 1 LH FSE 6-16 to L/Cpl 10-16 to Cpl 3 LH Field Troop AE 2-17 to Sgt 5-17 DCM - for his work at Khalassa between Oct to Dec 1917 to MT Dvr/Sgt 9-18 to UK leave (CMF 2/Lt CCo/32Bn 1-11-33 WWII VDC)

PEARCE Albert Edward 909 Pte 8 LHR 5R tos C Sqn 8-15 to Cpl 8-15 (G) disch 13-4-17 MU (ASqn CMF 3 years)

WILLIAMS Edward Richard 332 Pte 8 LHR B Sqn (G) to Ordnance AIF HQ AAOC 11-15 to ER Cpl AIF depots UK 6-17 to ER Sgt 12-18 to ER S/Sgt 1-19

McLENNAN James Killeen 426 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn D Troop? to L/Cpl 8-15 (G) to T/Cpl 10-16 revert 2-17 to B Sqn 2-17 att 115Co Rlwy Constr RE 8-17 rtn 8-18 to Cpl 3-19 AKA McLennon later WWII

Cheers

S.B

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  • 5 months later...

I have found really important information cited in this topic that has helped me understand something that has confused me for 27 years.

I have joined this site so i can express my pleasure at discovering this.

In 1988/89, I travelled to gallipoli and the western front following the journey and writing a journal of a family friend who had served in the 8th light horse at Gallipoli and was involved in The Nek attack. He was one of the many who were desperately sick from dystentery but hung around specifically to participate. He survived, and was evacuated sick the next day and spent almost a year in hospital (his name was catto- c squadron). The length of stay indicates he was definitely not in good nick after his Gallipoli experience.

Luckily this was still a time shortly before the peninsular was discovered by mass tourism and beaten into submission.

My brother and I set up a little camp on the Nek so we could look down Monash valley. We were positioned very close to what should have been the ottoman trenches. Whilst sitting there my brother saw and worked out a strange artefact out from the exposed roots of a shrub. It was a dome of non ferrous metal covered in the remnants of cotton khaki(yes the fabric was still attached). The underside was a cartwheel shaped round no ferrous metal that held shards of cork.

For a long time i have been confused about what part of a uniform this could have been, and whether it was of ottoman, german, british or australian origin. The clue has to be the several references I have read in this post to the Light horse having helmets. If these helmets were 'pith helmets' then i am surely looking at the remains of the top part of pith helmet?

The dome is damaged from a bullet but the whole thing has held together quite nicely over the years. The truly exciting thing for me is that it is a momento of an event that occurred 100 years ago that can be traced to having been 'deposited' there in a specific time frame that could be no more than 30 minutes? Would i be right to assume this?

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Mate,

Catto is an interesting man, while I am still unsure if he was at the Charge there is no dought of this mans story.

Catto's record show he was evac to 1 ACCS 4th Aug and evac to Murdos (16 British Stationary Hosp) on the 8th Aug.

I record him as;

CATTO John Alexander 357 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn C Troop (G) to LH Dtls UK 7-16 to 2 Trg Bn UK 9-16 to ACo/5Bn (357a) 10-16 to L/Cpl 12-16 recom MM awarded MID - for his actions as a stretcher bearer as part of raiding party under Lt Griffiths on Bayonet trench at Gueudecourt near Flers 10-2-17 to Cpl 2-17 to L/Sgt 5-17 to Sgt 9-17 MM - for his actions at Broodseinde 4-10-17 prom 2/Lt ACo 10-17 WIA 18-3-18 L/Leg shrapnel reported Lt Catto and 1 men wounded on work parties around Tournai WIA 19-2-18 back accident knock down by runaway wagon & commended by Corps Commander - for his actions when 4 mules and a GS wagon went to run over his men at Walcourt 19-12-18 F&B to NME UK stock breeding

Cheers

S.B

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Trooper John Alexander (Jack) Catto No. 357, "C" Troop, "C" Sqdn, 8th Light Horse Regiment was from the available evidence still on active service at Gallipoli, 7th August 1915, but as to whether he went out in the charge at The Nek cannot be established. There are no references to him in any of the letters or diaries of any men of "C" Squadron that mention him by name. In his history of the 8th LH Regt, Major William "Lauchie" McGrath, who on the 7th August was appointed temporary Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant, and in charge of the 'carrying party' to go over once the Turkish trenches had been taken, states that the majority of men who made up the carrying party were those too ill to be allowed to go out in the charge. In all probability Jack Catto would have been assigned to this group. But McGrath, and others, do state that a number of men ordered to remain out of the charge by the MO Dr. Beamish, defied that order and went out with their Troop.

If He did go out in the charge, he was with Lt Merv Higgins , "C" Troop, charging on the centre left of the line, from the Secret Sap between the entrance to the 'Whispering Tunnel' and No. 2 Sap. Members of this Troop were those who Major Deeble later spoke to in no-mans land.

I have only found one reference to a letter he sent home to his father at Rheola from the 'Bealiba Times' Friday 27th August, page 3: - "Mr J. Catto received word last week from his son Jack, dated 17th July. He is in the trenches in good health and still "going strong." He describes how on one occasion the Turks attempted to take possession of their trench, but the reception they got was so hot that they held the idea over for further consideration."

What your brother found is the ventilation dome of a British issued 'Wolseley Helmet'. The 3rd LH Brigade were issued with these at Heliopolis Camp on Tuesday 11th May 1915, prior to embarkation to Gallipoli, all slouch hats were ordered to be handed into Base Stores. There a number of photographs of men of "B" Sqdn wearing the Wolseley helmet, going to, and on, Gallipoli from the J.P.Campbell collection held by the Australian National Library, Canberra.

Jeff

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I think that is spot on jeff and fits with the stories we have heard regarding jack.

Also a big thankyou for the detail about the top of the helmet. Once i read that they had those helmets it all fell into place......top part of a light horse helmet. Would there be any other probablity that it was left there at any other time other than 7th august 1915?

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The sun helmet or Wolsely under routine orders for 3rd LH Brigade was to be worn with a puggaree and a tuft of emu plume on the left side.Field service caps were also to be taken, attached to the left shoulder. Of course there were plenty that took their slouch hats despite the order to leave behind. They were Australians after all. Plenty of photos of the men wearing slouch hats.

Re your interesting find, there were Brits up there too from 13th (Western) Division.

Ian

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The sun helmet or Wolsely under routine orders for 3rd LH Brigade was to be worn with a puggaree and a tuft of emu plume on the left side.Field service caps were also to be taken, attached to the left shoulder. Of course there were plenty that took their slouch hats despite the order to leave behind. They were Australians after all. Plenty of photos of the men wearing slouch hats.

Re your interesting find, there were Brits up there too from 13th (Western) Division.

Ian

It was found held encapsulated by the roots of a shrub, in no mans land close up to the main Ottoman position. I cant imagine it being left there by anyone other than those advanced in that attack on the morning of the 7th august. I had considered it may have been left there by burial or occupation forces arriving in 1918/1919, but thats a bit of a stretch isnt it?

Its such an exposed position, so close up on the Ottoman lines that its hard to see how it could have belonged to anyone other than the 8th or 10th. From what i have read its most likely an 8th but there is no way to be sure.

There is one factor that make the 13th division unlikely. I dont think they could have been a few metres from the ottoman frontline positions on such a lethally nighmarish exposed ridge. This is essentially why im so sure this dates from the 8th or 10th Light Horse on that day. From late April onwards it was death to be there.

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With regard to finding the remnant of the Wolseley helmet, to determine whether it had belonged to an 8th or 10th Light Horseman from the charge on the 7th August, would depend upon just where you and your brother found it. Since you state that you had set up camp at the Nek, in a position over looking Monash Gully, I would take it that you were in the scrub on the edge of the gully opposite the Nek Cemetery, and across the road from it.

Now that position makes it a little more complex to determining if it was a relic from the charge, and Ian Gill's mention of the 13th (Western) Division could come into play here. If you were in line from the cemetery half way up towards the Turkish front line trench A1 - A7, in all probability it would be the remains of a chargers helmet, but if you were in the lower half towards the 3rd LH Bde lines, this would make the identification to a set time more difficult. Out on the extreme right of Russell's Top running almost parallel with Monash Gully towards the Turkish lines was Sap No.8 and the tunnel entrance leading from it. From this position we have "A" Troop, "B" Sqdn advancing in the first line; "D" Troop, "A" Sqdn forming the second. The third line 10th LH, Lt Hugo Throssell's "C" Troop, "A" Sqdn, and the fourth line "C" Troop, "B' Sqdn. A man from any of these Troops could have been the helmets owner, but we also have to take into consideration the 9th LH and the 8th Cheshire Regiment who manned the front line trenches after the charge had been called off.

I would however put my money on it being the helmet of a man from either of the two 8th LH Troops in the charge. Lt Throssell put his men to ground very quickly after going over, and had no casualties. In the fourth line 2nd Lt Turmbull's "C" Troop did have casualties, so could also be a possibility.

There is a third option, that being the helmet having being discarded or blown over the parapet prior to the 7th August, and after that date.

Jeff

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Oh thats just amazing detail jeff!

It was in a line substantially further from the cemetery towards the Ottoman positions, at a point where the first folds fall down towards Monash. I havent seen what it looks like up there for some years now but i suspect its well worn from tourism. This was back in the 1980's & the area was still relatively untouched.

Its way too far away from the Anzac positions to have been 'blown there'. But I understand mines were blown there on the evacuation? This may have blown some remains like the helmet from another area, but I think its a stretch.

I agree that those coming out of sap 8 sound the most likely. And a man of the 8th LH moving out from there even more likely.

Your detail is incredible jeff!

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Back in 2007 that position would have been substantially the same as it was on your visit in 1988/89, still at that time mainly only Australians and New Zealanders visiting the Nek Cemetery, from our experience, the Turkish tourists did not venture beyond the bus parking area (gift stalls, ice cream and soft drink vendors) back up on Baby 700.

Thanks also for the clarification as to just where you and your brother were. This puts a whole new light on the discovery of the helmet vent dome.

I am now going to suggest that we can put the ownership of the Wolseley helmet down to the possibility of just a few men of the 8th LH, and a number of these we can name. It can be suggested as fairly certain that SSM C. H. Cameron No.300, Tpr W. A. Hind No. 213, of “A” Troop, “B” Sqdn along with, Sgt Roger Palmer, No. 41, “A” Troop, “A” Sqdn, Tpr J. P. Cameron No. 686, “C” Troop, “A” Sqdn, and Sig G. T. Grant No. 929, “A” Troop, “C” Sqdn, of the second line, got into the Turkish trench on the right hand corner of the Nek, trench line A1 - A7.

Others who came up close to this position and were killed, as mentioned by Tpr D. McGarvie No. 706, "A" Troop, "B" Sqdn, are Tpr C. M. Wingrove No. 225, and LCpl G. T. Hughes No. 201, “A” Troop, "B" Sqdn; and Tpr A. D. Trewin No.752, "A" Troop, "C" Sqdn, but as Angus Trewin was a 3rd Reinforcement man it is doubtful if he would have had a Wolseley helmet. Some other members of those Troops, plus a few of "D" Troop, "A" Sqdn may also have gained this position out on the extreme right of the line, but none are named.

I would now also say that relic your brother found was that of the charge at The Nek, and could only be associated with those Troopers of the 8th LH who got into, or close up to, the trench from which the red and yellow signal flag was sighted.

I sincerely hope that your brother retained that most historically important and relevant artefact.

Jeff

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