Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Gallipoli RAP's


grantmal

Recommended Posts

Looking for some help, please.

I'm trying to gather some information on the RAPs of the 1st (Capt Thompson RMO) and 3rd (Capt Bean RMO & Capt Dunlop AMC att.) AIF battalions at Gallipoli. I've read Bean and Butler's Official Histories, and checked out the photographs in the AWM's collection, but was hoping there was some more information out there -- can any of you kind folk with access to the unit histories of these battalions see if they pinpoint or mention the RAP's, please?

Any other info on these posts, or any others in the southern zone at Anzac, gratefully accepted.......

Good on you,

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grant,

Here's an extract from the 3rd Battalion History - unfortunately no maps and no very informative details regarding the exact position of the RAP, though it is mentioned as being 'near Plugge's Plateau':

'THE LANDING

The first four days' fighting left many gaps in the ranks of the officers. Captains Leer and Burns were killed, while Captains J. C. Wilson and W. B. Douglas and Lieut Hinde died as a result of their wounds. There were very few who were not wounded: Major E. S. Brown, Major M. St J. Lamb, Captain J. W. B. Bean, Lieuts G. E. McDonald, R. O. Cowey, W. B. Carter, T. L. Cadell, and the Goldring brothers, were all included in the casualty list, and, with the exception of Major E. S. Brown, all were evacuated.

Sergeant Holdaway, militia sergeant, 24th Infantry Regiment, had his leg blown off and died on a hospital ship. Corporal Roberts, whose cartoons kept the battalion amused at Mena; Reynolds, the gallant life-saver from Manly Beach; young Bernays, son of Queensland's Clerk of Parliament; Bourne, the sergeant cook, and Bill Henry, a tall lad hailing from Cootamundra, were among those who fell during those anxious days.

At the start of the fight the medical officer, Captain J. W. B. Bean, after consultation with the C.O., had decided to establish a dressing station near Plugge's Plateau. The spot chosen was adjacent to a square pit, about 6 yards by 6 yards and about 4 feet deep. "Here we were quite comfortable," writes Captain Bean, "and I had my three men, Carruthers, Lance-Corporal Duncombe, and Wolsey - the little corn doctor who was afterwards a sergeant. We stayed here some time while the colonel with the adjutant and signalling officer and his men (these constituted headquarters) directed things, despatching company after company into the firing line and to positions on the heights in front. We lay down in this pit and waited for wounded, but very few came. So I planted a 'red cross' flag in a cairn of stones just above the pit.

"We were far away behind the firing line, but many bullets kept flying around-like bumble bees for all the

68

RANDWICK TO HARGICOURT

world - and which gave little cracks, too, at times like a whip -this I think when a bullet hit something and flicked off with a sharp change of direction.

"I was lying well concealed in my pit when bang! I felt a sharp tap on my head and said 'Hullo.' I took off my cap and found it punctured just at the crown and a spot or so of blood on the head. I went forward a bit and found one of our officers, Carter, hit in the arm. I got a message from one of my men, Moore, to come along forward. He had about 10 men badly hit he wanted me to see. So I left the rest there and went forward with my stretcher-bearers to quite close behind the firing line at Steele's Post - in a very safe position, it seemed.

"Gordon, later a sergeant, was one of the wounded, lying shot through the lung. Colonel Owen, with Lieut Brodziak, was quite close by, I think in a shallow hole or pit. I looked about a bit and started Cavanough and the stretcher-bearers to evacuate the wounded down to the regimental aid post. Like an idiot, I didn't think to notice the sniper to our left, though occasionally a bullet would sing by fairly close. He, evidently, was having several tries for me, as I was exposing myself too much. One of my men, Moore, noticed a bullet hit the rock close by me, and was just coming forward to warn me, when 'crack!' I felt a blow like a sledge-hammer on the left buttock. I put my hand to the spot and said 'Damn.'

My knees seemed to slip away from me, and I was just sinking to the ground when one of the men rushed up and caught me. Brodziak, happy and gallant young daredevil, only saw the comic side of it. He slapped his side and burst into a guffaw: 'Old Bean's got it in the bottom. My God that's funny.' 'Shut up,' said the colonel, hotly, 'it's nothing to laugh at.' "

With Captain Bean out of action, Corporal J. B. Malone took over the duties of R.M.O. If there is one memory which original 3rd Battalion men revere above

THE LANDING

others, it is the work of this man at the Landing. For three days and three nights Malone moved freely about the front line rendering first aid to the wounded. Very often his duties took him to some of the very hottest parts. But Malone modestly asserted that the Turks never once attempted to fire at him during his errands of mercy. However, the following reference to him appears in Dr C. E. W. Bean's Australia in the War: "Malone, medical corporal of the 3rd Battalion, when going his rounds after his officer was wounded, had to hop from shelter to shelter. On April 26th a machine-gun put three bullets through his cap, one through puttee and boot, one through his coat, and ripped the bottom out of the bucket which he carried."

The A.M.C. section was a particularly well-trained one. Captain Bean spent a lot of his own money on medical goods, consequently the battalion was better equipped in this direction than most units. All his men had been trained in the use of the hypodermic, and supplied with a mixture of camphor, olive oil, and ether in equal parts, used by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War, with so much success, as a prophylactic against shock.

The distance from the firing line to the beach dressing station was two and a half miles, down steep dangerous mountainous tracks; and for three days and nights the gallant 3rd Battalion stretcher-bearers carried big heavy men back to the safety of the dressing station. '

(Wren, Eric. 'Randwick To Hargicourt. History of the 3rd Battalion, A.I.F.', pp 67-69).

Bryn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bryn,

Thank you so much for posting that extract. Very informative.

I did find a brief reference in Bean's Gallipoli Mission to the 3rd's RAP: "To reach the place [Onslow Thompson's grave] I led Hughes up the steep Bridges Road and thence half right through the old sap through which I had often climbed to my brother's aid post... the trenches here and elsewhere seemed as deep as when we had left them but the aid post was now represented only by the widening of the sap. Next we passed another niche, that had been the shelter of the Chaplain, Dean Talbot of Sydney; and then the 3rd Battalion's Parade Ground, the level patch dug by our troops on the steep side of the valley a little below the crest on which the maze of trenches lay."

I am having a few problems getting around at the moment, otherwise I would have gone into the State Library and had a look at the unit histories myself, rather than ask others to do it for me. You have definitely saved me a bit of grief. Good on you.

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grant,

I think Bean moved his RAP closer to the front line in anticipation of the Lone Pine fighting - Col. Onslow-Thompson's grave was actually in one of the front-line trenches, and 3rd Bn Parade Ground was more-or-less opposite where 4th Bn Parade Ground cemetery now is - in other words, a long way from 'near Plugge's Plateau'.

Bryn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bryn,

I always assumed (without any specific evidence) that the 3rd Battalion RAP was moved forward to Bridges Road quite early, as the 3rd Field Ambulance bearers mention clearing Capt Dunlop's post from May 6th, and most of their work at this time was in Bridge's Road (or Walker Rd/Death Valley as they also called it). Capt Dunlop of the 1st Field Ambulance was attached as RMO to the 3rd Battalion in Bean's absence. I had a look in the 3rd Bn's war diary but nothing there on this.

'Gallipoli Mission' on Onslow Thompson's grave: "...the Australians, who were constantly sapping forward to deepen their foothold, cut one of their trenches almost through this grave. A plate was then put up on the side of the trench to mark it, and I well remembered seeing this during frequent visits to my brothers battalion...."

Saw this on the AWM the other day:

post-4061-1201611311.jpg

Good on you,

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...