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The Nek, 7 August 1915


Bill Woerlee
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Is that possible to narrow it down to such a small group? I always thought it was either somebody who died close up to the ottoman positions or had their body thrown out of the Ottoman trenches.

I returned there in 2005 and found that so many areas had been heavily trampled and it really wasnt the same as in the 80's. Even The Nek was much more heavily worn away. But the greatest damage, as you mention, was the chessboard. Its just horrible there now.

I camped there and did field studies for just over a year and found some significant artefacts at various locations.

Back then I was trying to address a whole range of issues that were often debated back in those days relating to Third ridge, Wire gully, Pine ridge, Chatham & balkan pits, Sazli,Chailak & Aghyl, Hill Q, Chunuk, Hill 100, Snipers nest, & Baby 700.

I also spent a month tracing Simpsons monash valley journeys and have some rather different insights on events there that i have never shared with anyone. there were no forums like this one back in those days.

Third ridge was a particular focus for several months as i tried to find evidence of anzac occupation.... and there was. But this research also raised some bigger questions that probably need to be discussed at some point.

My work in those days at The Nek was focused on the probability of some of the light horse having reached the Ottoman positions. This was not widely considered likely back in those days. But research like yours has brought it into a much clearer light. The helmet vent dome in that position really surprised me back then. At the time I felt it may have been an 8th but didnt have the depth of knowledge that you have so kindly shared with me to confirm it. It took me a couple of days to work out what it was, but it confused me more as i had always thought they wore slouch hats. But then I left all of that research behind me as I pursued my career. Its only now that i begin preparing myself for early retirement that i have opened my files and diaries of that time and returned my thoughts to my research then.

My brother has long since forgotten that he is the one who prised it out of the roots...... I have taken special care of it ever since!

I have a picture of the artefact if you would like to see it. Can you post pics on here or is it better to email? The vent has an interesting groove running across the top of it that has me thinking too. To my mind its definitely a bullet groove (unlikely to be shrapnel or such). The helmet was definitely exposed to bullet fire at some point is my feeling- but im open to other considerations.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Bacon, I am a descendant of C H Cameron 300 referred to by Jeff. I am well known to Jeff and would love to see a photo of the ventilator cap ifpossible. I am happy to share Colin's trench maps from The Nek (sketched) if interested. Charles

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Hi. I'm not sure if this is the place to add this information, but two of my grandfathers cousins died at the battle of the Nek, Albert and Alexander Evans. When my father was telling the story to a bloke at a function one ANZAC day quite a few years ago, the fellow on the other side of my father said simply, "I was there". He recounted how one brother got shot and the other brother went out to him and was shot also, they died in each others arms on the battlefield. One of the ID tags was found during the burial detail in 1919 and was sent back to their mother, their bodies were never recovered.

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Mate,

Not much is known on these boys, there passing not recorded in detail, so the story of there death could be right?

Its know they went out together with C Sqn, as part of the second wave with two troops from A Sqn under C Sqn commander Maj McLaurin.

They like the first wave were cut down soon as they went over the top.

So could one brother survive the attack and get back into our trenches un wounded, then go back out to look for his brother then I leave it to you.

EVANS Albert Lacey 369 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn (G) killed in charge at the Nek NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli brother Alexander 8 LHR

EVANS Alexander George 368 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn (G) killed in charge at the Nek NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli brother Albert 8 LHR

Cheers

S.B

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Mate,

Not much is known on these boys, there passing not recorded in detail, so the story of there death could be right?

Its know they went out together with C Sqn, as part of the second wave with two troops from A Sqn under C Sqn commander Maj McLaurin.

They like the first wave were cut down soon as they went over the top.

So could one brother survive the attack and get back into our trenches un wounded, then go back out to look for his brother then I leave it to you.

EVANS Albert Lacey 369 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn (G) killed in charge at the Nek NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli brother Alexander 8 LHR

EVANS Alexander George 368 Pte 8 LHR C Sqn (G) killed in charge at the Nek NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli brother Albert 8 LHR

Cheers

S.B

I see your point Steve and its probably a realistic point to make, but its still possible that one brother went out later as i believe that a percentage of the men (mostly those too sickly-dysentery) were held back as support. So could still be a possibility?

The trauma those charges must have caused to the men who watched them go out and die.......

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Have read that Lt. C T WOODS was a Boer war veteran of a British regt. He was reported to be about 6ft plus yet he was not identified. Couldn't have been too many extremely tall men but maybe I'm wrong. Can't recall exact height but think it was 6'3" or taller.

As has been stated I too cannot fathom what must've gone through their minds as they prepared to go ove to certain death. When I read today of all the criminals & thugs running rampant everywhere I wonder how many of them would have the courage & dedicatin of these WW1 men? Not many I'd think. Didn';t the Turks call upon the later waves to go back & not come over? Have read of that several times. Tragedy doesn't do that action justice in describing what happened.

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Have read that Lt. C T WOODS was a Boer war veteran of a British regt.

Magyar's Boys has Charles Talbot Woods as initially a Trooper of 'C' Squadron New South Wales Mounted Rifles later receiving an Imperial Commission as Second Lieutenant with Worcestershire Regiment (2nd Battalion). Date given is 19th May 1900.

The Nek was featured in the recent Gallipoli series shown here.

Scott

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Have read that Lt. C T WOODS was a Boer war veteran of a British regt. He was reported to be about 6ft plus yet he was not identified. Couldn't have been too many extremely tall men but maybe I'm wrong. Can't recall exact height but think it was 6'3" or taller.

As has been stated I too cannot fathom what must've gone through their minds as they prepared to go ove to certain death. When I read today of all the criminals & thugs running rampant everywhere I wonder how many of them would have the courage & dedicatin of these WW1 men? Not many I'd think. Didn';t the Turks call upon the later waves to go back & not come over? Have read of that several times. Tragedy doesn't do that action justice in describing what happened.

It may be possible that some of the ottomans did call out but I think its unlikely. It was a much awaited turkey shoot.

The much promoted friendly comraderie between the two combatants didnt develop until after the august battles.

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Mate,

Yes one of the many myths about this action.

One account, I think the movie, shows Turkish soldiers getting out of their trenches to shoot from the parapet of the trench.

Very unlikely.

S.B

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The Ottoman troops occupying the baby700 area/The Nek would have been pretty excited about the free kill opportunities coming their way. There may have been some climbing out of the trenches further back (the tiered system on Baby 700 lent itself to this) to get a better angle, but the men in the direct line of Australian attack would not have done so. The chessboard enfilade fire is also unlikely to have gotten out of their trenches because it would have exposed them to fire from the valley.

But i remember that a large proportion of the Anzac casualties on may 19th came from climbing out of trenches to facilitate a more effective fire...... i suspect for men further back the opportunity was not one to miss.....

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Mate,

While its possible that some in the rear trenches did that, I don't see it myself?

There was a lot of fighting going on around the Baby 700 area, with NZ Troops to their right around Chunak Bair, and there was fighting going on around the Chessbraod and Deadmans by the 1st LHR.

MG fire was directed from Popes towards the Chessboard to help ASqn/1 LHR in its attack across the Waterfall Gully.

One does wonder why MG fire from Russell's was not directed on Baby 700 to support the 3rd LH Bde s attack and keep down the MG's known to be on Baby 700 and the Chessboard?

Or was it as the 1st LH Bde's MGs on Popes were?

Cheers

S.B

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To me it seems like a mish mash of assaults all along the front, maybe they were nervous to use the MGs from Russells as the RWF were also supposed to be attacking up from Monash V.

In anycase I lean in your direction, its possible but unlikely.

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  • 4 months later...

I am at Gallipoli now. At 4.30am at the time of the charge it is pitch black. Assuming there was no daylight savings time in 1915 the charge was at 5.30 using today's clock. At 5.30 am it is a grey dawn, more night than day, but there is still considerable cover from darkness.

Is there any reference to this darkness in any of the accounts?

I am writing this at 5.50am (4.50am adjusted) and it is still grey enough to make an aimed shot a lot harder than in broad daylight.

Len

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Hi Len,

I too am at Gallipoli, in company with Lt Col White's grandchildren. We will be at The Nek tomorrow morning for the one hundredth anniversary of the charge, you are most welcome to join us for a simple service and wreath laying at 4.30am (5.30), if you should wish.

To attempt to answer your question, there are a number of references to the darkness of the morning before the charge, also others mention the early rays of sunlight beginning show in the morning gloom. There are far more references as to it being very cold during the night, and in the morning rather than the lack of light.

Unfortunately this topic is now quite out of date, a vast amount of new information on the charge has since come to light.

I have only just been informed that a number of 10th LH descendants are also going to be up at The Nek tomorrow morning.

Jeff

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Jeff, thanks for that info. We did make it to the Nek today but later in the day. It was great to see all the wreaths there.

I always imagined the attack in broad daylight with the Turks two deep in their trenches mowing the Light Horse down. The reality, although no less lethal seems that the first wave attacked in near darkness.

Len

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Thank Len, it was a shame that we didn't get to meet each other.

When we arrived at The Nek Cemetery at around 5 am (TDST) I was greatly surprised by the number people already assembled there, around 80 or so, the vast majority West Australians. Each group conducted their respective commemorations and wreaths were laid, as you observed, all very moving.

Gilly you would have been filled with pride and emotion, a very real shame you could not have been there with us all.

Jeff

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Well that is a superb turn out of respect Jeff. Hope you got to chat to a few people later. It would have been great to be there. One can only hope to get there next year or perhaps the one after. Very pleased you were there given your connection and all the years of hard study you have put into that particular sphere of operations at Gallipoli. If you stayed with Eric there should be a copy of our book there to peruse, not that you would need it.

Enjoy the rest of your stay.

Cheers

Ian

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Bryn

G'day mate

Thanks for that mate. I will PM the fellow.

Had a chuckle over the name "leanes-trench" - it reminded me of the 48th Battalion known as the Joan of Arc Battalion because it was made of all Leanes. Great double entendre. Someone had a powerful imagination.

Cheers

Bill

Its like the North Auckland Mounted Rifles ,written as NAMR( a Territorial regiment who supplied squadron to the Auckland Mounted Rifle ), nicknamed " Nearly All Mackesy's Relations ", due to the number of family members in the squadron related to Colonel Mackesy, the AMR commander.

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  • 7 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?

HI Steve... I am one of JA Catto's grandchildren and enjoyed being shown his significant booty which he returned with on eventual demobilization I was fortunate to be told a fair amount of hiis history as a child which I remember.. His daughter (my aunt) Joyce Chivers is in her 90's and still lives in Emu Victoria - her collection of his material is extensive and she has done some of her own quite extensive historical (family and district) research. Yes he was (what we called a sniper) in Gallipoli and contracted dysentery just prior to the charge at the Nek and acted as a stretcher bearer but was medically evacuated shortly afterwards for an extensive convalescence. He eventually was reassigned to 5Battalion and saw action in France and Belgium where other responses summarize his services (MID & MM and field commission) He always held his MID in much higher regard to his MM. There was many of his exploits related to us but one story I remember well was backed up with a Flare pistol in his large trunk. The Germans were the first to use these and the Command were so intrigued they offered anyone who could infiltrate the German trenches at night and capture one with flares intact could have a weeks leave in London, The next morning there was a queue of Australians at the Brigade HQ with their Pistols. He returned to Australia and became a farmer and orchardist. He named his property which was built on old recovered gold fields called the Potato diggings the property was named Zonnebeke after one of his actions in Belgium. It was sold off late 1970's.

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  • 1 year later...

Just to add more info on the charge concerning 10th LH in the 3rd and 4th lines. Jeff Pickerd and I spent a couple of years trying to figure it all out, and while not finding everything, we did manage to come up with some new info, thanks largely to diaries, letters and so on from Tom Kidd, Hugo Throssell, Evan Bain, Maitland Hoops, Chaplain Makeham and a few others. Kidd was made Brigade Intel officer a few days prior to the charge and I have posted his troop layout below, although incomplete with names. ironically, Kidd had a letter published in a newspaper in Feb 1916 which placed Throssell on the left in 4th line but I feel this is incorrect, while he also claimed all troops of both lines charged,  and yet his diaries and notes indicate otherwise. A casualty breakdown amongst the troops of certain squadrons indicates some did not charge, also evidenced in the papers of Evan Bain and Henry Foss, both of whom were present.

3rd line OC Major Todd, Capt Fry in charge of A Sqdn,  Capt Piesse the two troops of B Sqdn on the left.

L to R

B troop B Sqdn Tom Kidd, A troop B Sqdn Harold Harper, D troop A Sqdn, C troop A sqdn Tom Heller, B troop A sqdn Robert McMaster, A troop A sqdn Hugo Throssell

This is how Kidd recalled the 3rd line. He said all charged but one troop, saying his troop and all A sqdn troops went out, indicating, to me at least, that Harpers troop of B Sqdn did not go. Throssell maintained he had C troop of A sqdn and that McMaster took his position in the line up by mistake. Only Throssell's C troop of A sqdn had no casualties while the other 3 troops of A sqdn lost  48 killed and 23 WIA without counting reinforcements recently TOS of A sqdn, as their troop placement is unknown. From this I figured Throssell's C troop to be on the extreme right and that he took his men to ground immediately after rising up to charge. I also think Roskams had D troop, McMaster had A troop to Roskams right, Heller had B troop next right with Throssell's C troop on far right. This based on Maitland Hoops' letter and where officers fell near to his A troop.

Phipps Turnbull is an unknown as he had been previously recorded in both B and D troops of A sqdn, but his meeting with Brazier prior to charge, was all in company of B sqdn officers and NCOs. More to come soon in another post.

Ian

Screenshot_2017-05-07-09-24-35.png

Edited by gilly100
Correction
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Mate,

 

Yes Turnbull has had me also

 

TURNBULL Alexander Phipps 164 Sgt 10 LHR A Sqn prom 2/Lt possibly B Sqn? B or D Troop? (from Scott DoW) 16-7-15 shown possibly A Sqn D Troop or A Sqn B Troop? with Lt Roskams Troop at the Nek 8-15 (G) killed in charge at the Nek buried Ari Burnu Cemetery Gallipoli  born 18-7-1888 (Kings Colonials (possibly King Edwards Horse) CMF 3 years) brother Hubert depot
 

He is recorded as replaced Lt Scott, who is recorded with

 

SCOTT Ernest Charles Gordon  2/Lt 10 LHR B Sqn B Troop 10-14 shown B Sqn 4 Troop (in Army lists dated 7-15) WIA 15-7-15 head shot by sniper in No1 post at Walkers Ridge (G) died on HS "Sicilia" NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli (Gnr No1 Tas Bty AFA 9 years to CSqn/25 LH 1-7-12 CMF 2 years) brother John Maj 10 LHR KIA
 

So when he gained his commission what Sqn and Troop did he go to is unknown?

 

My only comment about Turnbull was he was with Roskam's Troop, but as shown no one gives what troop that was?

 

Look forward to what you find

 

Cheers

 

S.B

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Steve

The fact that Turnbull was with Capts Piesse and Rowan, who led B Sqdn troops in lines 3 and 4 respectively,  as well as Kidd, Sanderson, McBean and Sqdn Sgt Major Springhall, of B Sqdn also just prior to the 3rd wave going on Brazier' s confirmation, indicates to me that he may well have been B Sqdn. When he was commissioned the day after Ernest Scott's death in July, Scott being B Sqdn, he may well have assumed Scott's position,, although I found nothing to support this. He had been in A Sqdn prior, that we do know from his letters and another source. I made it clear in our book one could not be sure. All very frustrating as I remember corresponding with you, Jeff and Bill quite alot on various aspects of the 10th LH Gallipoli campaign. At least it opens the door for others who might come across new info, or perhaps stuff I might have missed, heaven help me! I think the Nek account ended up pretty good, given such conflicting accounts and so on. Certainly we found some good new info, all of which bettered the narrative. I am just glad the 8th LH in the first two lines is so well accounted for, better than the 10th. We know who to thank for that!

I think Kidd's newspaper account in 1916 had a hint of home consumption about it, so I discounted some of it in favour of his notes and diaries.

Anyway, 4th line stuff to come soon. Thanks for your input.

Ian

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Mate,

 

Just to stir things, this is the Offical Army Lists dated July 1915

 

This is the 10th LHR Troops dated July 1915, the last recorded date before the August battles;

A Sqn

OC - Maj Todd
2ic - Capt Piesse

A Troop - Lt Heller
B Troop - Lt Burkett
C Troop - Lt Colpitts
D Troop - Lt Campbell

B Sqn

OC - Maj Nichols
2ic - Capt Fry

A Troop - Lt Sherwood
B Troop - Lt Craig
C Troop - Lt Kidd
D Troop - Lt Scott

C Sqn

OC - Maj Scott
2ic - Capt Grimwood

A Troop - Lt Rowan
B Troop - Lt Olden
C Troop - Lt Hamlin
D troop - Lt Jackson
 

So when these Troops were taken was possibly before July 1915 to be published around July -Aug 1915.

 

Clearly there were many changes inbetween July and Aug 1915 with in the 10 LHR.

 

Cheers

 

S.B

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Yes a tad confusing this list. Kidd was definitely B troop in B Sqdn the whole time right up to the charge. Colpitts was wounded with spinal concussion in the Quinn's Post action in late May and did not return to Gallipoli. Hamlin papers and one of his men maintain B troop in C Squadron, while other mentioned officers that I would need to check on service files, had been wounded in May and either did not return to Gallipoli at all, or came back later in September, such as Nicholas. I am much more inclined to follow Tom Kidd's papers in regard to who he had in the lines. Heller, although an original A sqdn officer, arrived at Gallipoli on 27 July. McMaster was a 4th reo officer who came later only to be killed in the charge. Cadden was wounded on 14 June, Campbell on 29 May. So, agreed there were many changes, promotions and so on leading up to 7 August.

Cheers

Ian

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