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Friday, 19 March 2010
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account
Topic: BatzG - Anzac

The Battle of Anzac Cove

Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

2nd Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account

 

Anzac Cove

 

After the commencement of World War 2, Frederick William Taylor and Timothy Arthur Cusack, both former member of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, AIF, felt that it was time to record the events of the battalion before the memory of the events was overshadowed by the history unfolding around him. He wrote the first of many histories of this Battalion called Nulli secundus: a history of the Second Battalion, A.I.F., 1914-1919. The book was published in 1942. The following is an extract from this book detailing the landing at Anzac in a manner that is seen from the members of the Battalion and so contains all the humour, fears, joy and sadness that is the full gamit of human emotions. As such this story fills in the gaps between the dry reports and the official histories.

Taylor, F.W. and Cusack, T.A., Nulli secundus: a history of the Second Battalion, A.I.F., 1914-1919, 1942, pp. 62 - 93.

 

CHAPTER IV.

THE LANDING



The Landing - Few Casualties Going Ashore - Fierce Fighting on the slope, -Birdwood Called to the Beach - Consternation Among The staff - New Zealanders Assist The Battalion - Dr. Bean's Eulogy -Difficulty in supplying Ammunition - Heroism Of Stretcher-Bearers.

SLEEP on the eve of April 25, 1915, came only to the stoics. With the issue of large scale maps, rather vague orders had arrived to the effect that the 1st Brigade was to be held as Divisional Reserve, to be thrown in as required, and as circumstances of the initial efforts of the 3rd Brigade demanded. Owing to the few maps available lacking essential topographical features, it was not possible to give all ranks the full details covering the operations, and an unforeseen divergence to the north of the original landing place of the first landing party-due to local currents-tended to complicate matters further. Owing to this fact, the Second had to operate in an unexpected area.



To Hold On At Any Cost

The first to land were troops of the 3rd Brigade, and they had to seize, and hold at any cost, the lower crests and spurs of Hill 971. The main body of the Corps was to land later, leaving the covering force to hold this position, which guarded the northern flank. It was also to push on to the South in order to seize the inland spur of Hill 971 -especially Mal Tepe, a peculiarly shaped conical hill near the farther end of the spur. It was a mile and a quarter from Kilia Bay, on the Dardanelles, the road from Maidos to Gallipoli running over its foot. These objectives were approximately six to seven thousand yards to the northeast and east of the landing place.

Crowded on the decks of the Derfflinger just before the dawn, the men of the Second, looking towards the chore, saw a sudden flash of light. Then came rifle shots, followed by bursts of machine-gun fire, which finally developed into sustained fire all along the line.

The landing by the 3rd Brigade was an accomplished fact. As dawn broke, the battleships opened their broadsides which threw up great clouds of smoke and earth around the Turkish batteries on shore. The troopships were closely sandwiched among the warships and the men were treated to the awe-inspiring spectacle of a duel between the big guns of the warships and land batteries. Huge shells from the Turkish heavy batteries fell around, sending up great columns of water, while the fleecy balls of bursting shrapnel hung over the ships. The Second had a full view of the silencing of the Gaba Tepe battery by the great guns of the Bacchante. Although there was no news of the success of the landing, figures could be seen on the heights above the beach, and a long continuously moving column of Turks on a far off ridge was visible through field glasses.

 

Landing Party's Strength

Meanwhile, the Second had fallen in on the decks, while Braund awaited instructions to disembark. Stevens reported to him that the Second would land with a strength of 31 officers and 937 other ranks. Every man-as ordered-carried a full pack, supplemented by a bundle of sticks or boards for firewood. Braund set the example by parading with timber complete. Packs by this time weighed about 70 pounds.

The Second Brigade could be seen making for shore under shrapnel fire, and then came the Second Battalion's turn. A and D Companies under Scobie were the first to leave the Derfflinger by clambering down rope ladders to a waiting destroyer into which they were packed like sardines. B and C Companies quickly followed, being taken ashore by the destroyer Usk, under fire from heavy batteries on shore. Luckily, however, there was no mishap. Disembarkation complete, the Derfflinger weighed anchor and moved well out of range.

About 500 yards from the shore, in face of heavy shell, and machine-gun fire, the Second transferred from the destroyer to boats which had been drawn alongside. The small craft were now towed by naval pinnaces, three boats to a tow, and forty men to each boat.

On nearing the shore one of the men asked an A.B., "What time are you coming back for us?" The reply was, "Sonny, there is no coming back!" It was a tragically true prophecy for many.

With the men jammed so closely together and offering a comparatively slow moving target to the heavy shrapnel and machine-gun fire, the battalion was fortunate to reach the beach with only slight casualties. Both A and C companies - Gordon's and Concannon's - came through unscathed.

As soon as the boats grounded men jumped into the water and waded ashore, forming up under the lee of the hills. There they sat down to await orders. Here the troops of the Second had their first real grim experience of warfare, emphasised by the many killed and wounded men of the 3rd Brigade lying nearby.

B Company, under Burke, suffered some casualties while coming ashore, but Richardson, with D Company, reached the rendezvous without mishap, and straightway reported for orders.

 

Shrapnel Dotted Sky Area

The Turkish shelling was very heavy, the sky being thick with shrapnel. The first half of the Second Battalion was ashore by 7.30 a.m., but the remainder, owing to a shortage of boats, did not complete its landing until about 9.30 a.m. The landing place was located in a small bay about half a mile from point to point, where the country was steep, rising almost from the sea to a height of 600 feet.

Immediately Braund and Scobie got ashore they reported to MacLaurin, who had established brigade headquarters on the beach. The Brigadier knew the position was critical and also that the dispositions were not in accordance with the original plans. The 3rd Brigade had captured the first ridge and had pressed on, but word came back that there was very strong opposition, and that the country was difficult.

Two small gullies ran off the beach and came together a little way beyond, and it was at the junction of these that Braund established battalion headquarters.

This phase of the landing was one of the most trying experiences the Second had ever endured, because of the inactivity while waiting to enter a battle already raging, with shells and bullets crashing and singing around them.

From a personal reconnaissance, General Bridges found that the attacking force had captured the first ridge and had passed on to the second one and thence along the spur, afterwards known as "Baby 700", which dominated the Australian position. Aware also of the open right flank, he pushed in the Second Brigade to the vicinity of the 400 Plateau.

 

Two Second Companies

Everywhere there was fierce fighting, and the situation on the vital Baby 700 became critical. Col. MacLagan, commanding the 3rd Brigade, had taken up a forward position which enabled him to see every movement that threatened this important point. His brigade had landed on about a quarter of the frontage originally allotted, and the extension of both flanks was necessary. He therefore asked for reinforcements from Division, and MacLaurin was ordered to send two companies of the Second to the threatened area. Everything depended on the 3rd Brigade holding the line, so most of the units of the 1st, and 2nd Brigades were deployed on the flanks. A Company in charge of Gordon, and D under Richardson were sent to bridge a gap in the line on the left. The most severe fighting was taking place on the left of Baby 700, which was connected with the second ridge by a narrow ledge called "The Nek". The ground fell away precipitously to the north and south of The Nek, and it was to this position that the two companies of the Second were sent.

The actual order from 1st Brigade read

"Major Scobie to take two companies up to Hill 224 C6 to reinforce 3rd Brigade. Two platoons on outpost to be withdrawn. Warn New Zealanders."


The situation was still critical. Had the Turks reached Russell's Top they would have been in the rear of MacLagan's line. It was nearly 11 a.m. when Scobie started with A and D Companies to go in on the left of Quinn's. Proceeding, Scobie found that the front line, with which he was to link, was falling back. The two companies following him thus entered the battle on Russell's Top as part of the 3rd Brigade, and were not again available to Braund until the 1st Brigade was withdrawn from the line on April 28.

Gordon led A Company up to The Nek, and to the top of Walker's Ridge, where it came under very heavy fire. He then ordered his men to charge, which they did, clearing the Turks from Baby 700 with the bayonet. They then reoccupied the line at that point. Unfortunately, Gordon was killed while leading the charge.

Scobie was badly wounded in the head while out in front trying to ascertain the position, but he just managed to make his way back to the outpost line. Dr. Bean says:

"Long after their parties had retired and after battle outposts of the 3rd Battalion had been established in Wire Gully, a tall Australian officer, bareheaded, his face caked with blood, was seen wandering close in front of Lieut. McDonald's post. The stranger was by some chance, unmolested by the Turks, whose fire was deadly. He fainted in the scrub, and was pulled, half delirious, into McDonald's post. It was Scobie of the Second, who had been wounded on Baby 700."

 

D Company's Bag Of Turks

Scobie was evacuated, but returned to play a great part in the battle of Lone Pine some months afterwards. Richardson led D Company up to the seaward slope of Baby 700, climbing from Monash Valley across Russell's Top to its ocean side near The Nek in order to avoid a very heavy concentration of shrapnel and machine-gun fire. Casualties were heavy. As he emerged, Richardson saw Gordon's men doubling up the long Summit of Baby 700 to the right. At the same time he observed a party of about sixty Turks near the head of Malone's Gully, apparently about to retire. He ordered the "Fix", and led his men in the charge. The Turks hesitated for a moment, and finally bolted, but D Company shot a score of them on the run. The time was now a little after midday.

The first position of D Company was at Steele's, where the men were firing at the Turks across the rear of Courtney’s behind Pope's. Before the first charge, Cpl. Craddock was wounded in both legs, but refused assistance, and ordered his men to leave him and go forward.

Whenever the line went forward on the left of Baby 700, it was exposed to the fire of the Turks behind the nearer spurs and by that of the enemy filtering back to the lower ends of spurs not far above the beach.. Under this fire the left front had to withdraw to Malone's Gully, and the troops on Baby 700 were obliged to conform to the movement. Casualties from shrapnel continued to be heavy in spite of the efforts of the warships to locate Turkish batteries, one of which in particular fired a salvo of four shells every minute onto D Company's position from 2 p.m. onwards.

The first relief to these companies was provided by the counterwork of a section of an Indian Mountain Battery, whose members displayed great gallantry.

Farther to the left, near the summit of a hill a party from A Company of the Second was mixed with the 3rd Brigade, the line swaying backwards and forwards no less than five times. To the right where more Second men were mixed with the 1st Battalion in charge of Kindon, the fighting was equally severe, and it was evident that this part of the line on Baby 700, with both flanks exposed, was in extreme danger. As a consequence, reinforcements were asked for. Bridges had thinned out his reserves and altered his dispositions on the Beach. Two platoons of B Company of the Second which had been on outpost there, were withdrawn and sent forward to the danger spot.

 

New Zealanders Sent To Aid Kindon

The New Zealanders had commenced landing and the Waikato Company was sent in at once to reinforce Kindon's troops.

Early in the afternoon a Turkish battery opened fire on Baby 700 near The Nek, and on the heads of Malone and Monash Gullies. The Turks were now penetrating beyond Kindon's right flank. There was never any continuous line from the Bloody Angle to Baby 700, which were connected by the spur known as "The Chessboard" over which some of the Second under Sgt. Major Jones crossed, but none remained there long.

The position appeared serious about half past two that afternoon, when details of the Canterbury (New Zealand) Battalion came up to reinforce Kindon.

Some men of the Second were with Lalor of the 12th Battalion on the ocean side of Baby 700, where the fighting was very bitter. The Second's party hung on, but had to send back for reinforcements, when a section of C Company was sent up. As troops from D Company advanced into battle they saw retreating Turks in the valley and at the top of the gully. Most of D Company crossed a ridge on the left and came down into the gully again, but the Turks were still retiring in small parties. Moving to the right of Pope's Hill, D Company was heavily enfiladed, and suffered severely. Australians, observed advancing on the right, turned out to be some of the same company under C. S. M. Jones. Richardson again led his men in a charge, but the Turks made off, and the Second occupied the position, though there was no trench there. Many of the Turks were shot as they retreated.

 

Many Officer Casualties

Some New Zealanders, who came up about 2 p.m. deployed to the left, but were compelled to return. Richardson was now opposed by a re-formed line of Turks. Captain Kennedy, of New Zealand, with a small party of the Second was thirty yards to the right, with a much larger gap on his own right. He had arrived later than the others, saw the gap, and extended his men to cover it as best they could. When night fell the position was quite obscure. Many senior leaders had become casualties, no reinforcements, messages or ammunition had come up and both flanks were in the air. It was decided to withdraw about 150 yards to a small gully 100 yards ahead of the main one. A party under Lieut. Barton occupying this position, absorbed the new arrivals and held on till the night of April 28, when they were relieved by the Royal Marine Light Infantry. D Company had no chance to dig in, the only cover being the scrub till night fell, and then a trench was started. The continuous demoralising fire - chiefly from an unseen enemy-was a supreme test of discipline. Some of D Company's men, under Lieut. Barton were at the head of Malone's Gully, where they suffered severely from the heavy shelling. Richardson was wounded during the afternoon, and for his handling of the situation was awarded the Military Cross, the first to come to the Second Battalion. After four o'clock that afternoon, hardly an officer, and only a few senior N.C.O.'s remained alive or unwounded in this sector. Late in the afternoon more New Zealanders came in and took the surviving Australians into their ranks.

During the morning a party of the Second was led by Lamb of the 3rd Battalion out of the head of Monash Gully and over the steep lip of the Bloody Angle. Leer of the 3rd, and Giles of the 10th took charge of the parties which Lamb directed to move down the valley and up on to Mortar Ridge. The Turks, however, advanced first and brought an encircling fire to hear on the small parties.

 

Fire Intensity Increased

Gradually, the right of this line gave way, but Lamb continued to reinforce Leer with men and ammunition. Barton and Jones were both sent across with their parties. Jones took his party up to the right of Pope's, picked tip some New Zealanders, and moved across the left corner of the Chessboard. He went far enough to get a glimpse of the sea and a small farm house, but not being able to make contact with either Turks or Australians, he withdrew to avoid being cut off, and fell in with Leer, where all fought desperately until compelled to retire. By 3 p.m. the Turks were working round to the rear of this party, and Leer was killed. The intensity of the fire increased, and movement was impossible. Ammunition was gathered from the casualties.

A slight lull occurred about 5 p.m. and Cowey (3rd Battalion) withdrew the survivors, leaving sixty dead, including many of the Second. A hundred yards back they found a position held by Heugh of the Second, with some men of the Third. Cowey and Heugh divided the party, each covering the retirement of the other till they reached a low mound on the left shoulder of Courtney's Post. The attempts to fill the gap had failed and the Turks, having driven through on both flanks of Baby 700, were pressing towards the head of Monash Gully where Campbell of the Second held the most northerly post-the Bloody Angle. The way across The Nek and Walker's Ridge now lay almost open to the Turks, but Braund and his two companies under Burke and Concannon had by now established themselves on Walker's. Braund had been held back in reserve with B and C Companies until 1 p.m. when the serious developments on the left forced Bridges to send them forward. Braund was now to pass under the command of the 3rd Brigade, and MacLaurin helped him to find a way up some steep goat tracks to the important position on the left Walker's Ridge Braund's instructions were

"Reinforcements required on our left flank. Advance with your two companies, keeping New Zealanders on your left with direction 224 C.B."


The Turks had commenced to work round Baby 700 towards Walker's Ridge, this being the only possible position for Bridge's left flank. Braund knew the New Zealanders were somewhere out on the left front, as he had reported them moving forward at 12.45 p.m., when word came through that the left flank was retiring, he ordered his two remaining companies to drop packs, and he then led them forward under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. The position was finally reached about 4 p.m., when the men were deployed in the thick scrub. The position taken up was at the junction of `'Walker's Ridge and Russell's Top, on the left of Baby 700. Cook, of No. 12 platoon, became involved in a mix-up of units, due to all reinforcements moving along a few small tracks Later, his party, in withdrawing with the others, joined some men of the 6th Battalion. Here there was fierce fighting, and Cook became a casualty. No further reserves were available, as some of the New Zealand transports had been delayed.

 

No Artillery Support

About 4.30 p.m., the tired line isolated on Baby 700 with no artillery support, broke under the constant pressure, and the Turks reoccupied the hill. A mixed party with a machine-gun and including men of A and D Companies still held on at The Nek.

Braund, on Walker's Ridge, could see this crisis on his right, but owing to the heavy enemy machine-gun fire he was pinned to the ground. He knew that a weak and wavering line was out somewhere in front, so in spite of the danger to his troops by a withdrawal on his right he continued to hold his line to which the elements of other units - chiefly New Zealanders-might fall back. Parties under Captain Shout of the 1st Battalion (afterwards a V.C. winner), and Cpl Collingwood of the Second had worked out to the left front for nearly a mile and a half, and when retiring, came across some New Zealanders whom they brought back with them. At 5 p.m. Braund sent Shout to the beach with a message, outlining the situation and stating that reinforcements would enable him to advance. The cry everywhere was for reinforcements, but Shout had to be contented with a mixed party of 200 men, formed into a company on the Beach, and the promise of two battalions that night, to enable Braund to dig in.

A very slender garrison was holding the left flank from the beach to Walker's. The gap between Walker's and Russell's Top, through which our men had been able to pass had by this time become impassable. Braund's right flank remained open and the terrific Turkish fire made investigation impossible. Braund formed an outpost line and ordered the men to dig in with their entrenching tools. He placed a machine-gun at each end of the Second's line under Pain and Wells, and they did their work very efficiently.

These guns, when issued to the Battalion in Australia were painted, one green and the other yellow. Paddy Burke, always ready for mischief, conducted a christening ceremony on the two weapons. He named one Redmond and the other Carson, after the rival political leaders in Ireland.

There were only the two companies of the Second, the 200 men brought up by Shout, the remnants of the New Zealanders and the men who had been fighting on Baby 700. It was an isolated flank unconnected with the main front which faced inland on the other side of Monash Gully. Actually-although unknown to Braund-a small party of Turks had penetrated the gap in the line. Braund's dispositions and dangers were known at Brigade and Division, but as he was expected to do, he held on to his position and consolidated it until the promised reinforcements arrived.

Towards dusk the troops in the firing line heard our own artillery open. This was a gun of the 4th Battery. As darkness fell, the Turkish guns ceased firing, but the rifle fire was incessant. It was now possible to move about and stand up in the front line, with a consequent high rise in morale. B and C Companies immediately began to link up the holes and small trenches, and so were able to get some shelter. At the same time arrangements were made to get supplies of water and ammunition.

No one knew how wide the gap was at the head of Monash Valley. MacLagan knew that .he was out of touch on his left and Braund could not gain contact on his right, so at dusk the former asked urgently for the 4th Brigade to prevent the Turks getting behind his left flank. Colonel Pope, with part of the 16th Battalion and other units was eventually sent up to support the 3rd Brigade, but did not link up with Braund. He moved up Monash Valley and took up a position on the important height known afterwards as Pope's Hill. The Turks continued to penetrate along Russell's Top and passed the new left flank of Pope's position at 5.30 p.m. Braund was bewildered to see the Otago Battalion file up towards his position, and then turn back on its tracks. The explanation as given by Dr. Bean was, that the New Zealand Brigadier had fallen ill and the Brigade had been taken over by Walker, who, like others, inferred from the maps that a continuous ridge ran from Plugge's Plateau to Baby 700. From a personal reconnaissance Walker saw that battalions sent to climb Walker's would be split and disorganised owing to the single tracks, so he ordered them back to Plugge's to take the supposed direct slope of Baby 700.

 

Faulty Dispositions Of Troops

MacLagan, from his headquarters in Shrapnel Gully, saw that reinforcements passing over the narrow summit of Plugge's Plateau were turned by shrapnel fire into Shrapnel Gully, and not having instructions as to the position, were split up in the tangle and forced into the wrong parts of the line. Walker, far up on his own front, did not know this.

At 6..30 p.m. Braund sent to headquarters his modest request for reinforcements: -"Reinforcements wanted--at least one company." About 9 p.m., Major Loach, commanding the Canterbury Battalion, arrived at Braund's position with two full companies equipped with ammunition and tools. Braund promptly reported to Headquarters:-" 9.30 p.m. am digging in on spur indicated. Reinforcements have arrived with ammunition and tools. Have a post on spur joining the ridge to the sea."

Braund left Shout in charge of this vital post at the foot of Walker's, and the newly-arrived Canterburys deployed to the left, thereby lengthening the line. There was no rest for anybody. Digging continued, when possible at night, and Braund set a fine example of tirelessness. The Turks made sustained efforts to break through during the whole night. According to Dr. Bean:-

"The position was so involved that the Turks were acting without confidence, and whereas in most parts of the line both sides were pouring out a tremendous violence of fire on Russell's Top. Some at least of the Second Battalion were trying by their silence to tempt the enemy closer. When a form appeared the word would pass not to shoot. When the Turk fell an argument invariably followed as to who had shot him."


From orders issued on the beach that the Third Brigade was to withdraw for reorganisation instructions reached Braund, which evidently satisfied him, to retire from Walker's and proceed to the beach. As the Second was fighting as part of the 3rd Brigade Braund obeyed, but cautiously sent a messenger ahead. He came back to say there was a mistake. The vital position was straightway reoccupied without the Turks having been aware of their opportunity.

H. Tarrant records: -

"I was close to Col. Braund and heard him say to the adjutant, Captain Stevens, `Stevens, I don't like the look of things at all. I don't trust that order.' As he ordered the Battalion to return and take up the position in the line they had just vacated, the messenger returned to report there had been a mistake."


On the first day many important verbal orders were given and senior officers were justified in acting on them when they appeared to be reliable, especially as the passing of verbal orders and messages had formed such an important part of the training at Mena. Dr Bean says that the order was issued, but the cancelling order was not received.

 

Failure Of Original Objectives

Alternately, fighting and digging, the front line troops were happily ignorant of the impression of failure which prevailed on the beach. From battle messages received during the day, headquarters knew before dusk that the attempt on the original objectives had failed, and the staff was faced with a perplexing problem.

Before the commencement of operations, the possibility of failure was grudgingly admitted, the chances of success optimistically emphasised, but that events would take the middle course was totally unforeseen.

General Birdwood had landed during the afternoon, but returned to the Queen Elizabeth. After a conference between Bridges and Godley about 10 p.m, a message was sent, requesting him to come ashore immediately. This he did after ordering the remainder of the New Zealanders and the 4th Brigade-4000 in all-to disembark.

On landing, Birdwood was amazed at the idea of evacuation, but after consultation with the staff, he decided to send a message to Ian Hamilton, embodying the impressions of the individual generals and brigadiers that the troops were demoralised and would be unable to face shell fire in the morning. Birdwood said if the troops were to re-embark it would have to be done at once.

While the staff was awaiting a reply, Pte. Milne of the Second arrived at headquarters with a message from Braund., Milne's impression of headquarters was that it "resembled a cave with flickering candles and hurricane lamps, and full of staff officers." Birdwood asked "how things were up the line?" and on being told that "they were all right," and that Braund would be able to hold out until the morning, he said to Milne, "I am glad to hear that!" With a reply to his message, Milne, while on his way back to Walker's was mistaken for a Turk, and was fired at. Fortunately, they missed him.

Birdwood's message staggered Ian Hamilton, who would not hear of evacuation, and sent back his cheery and famous reply, with the postscript, "Dig! Dig! Dig!"

Confusion reigned among the units on the Beach, and there was some shouting for boats, but the question of evacuation was never mentioned in the front line. In fact the men were too busy there to think about anything like that.

In the early hours Braund had sent guides to direct water parties as requested by brigade. The gap between Pope and Braund still remained, and the rifle fire was maintained, as in fact it continued for three days and nights with the utmost intensity.

The messages and reports from Braund positively could not have had read into them the hopeless note that was conveyed to Birdwood and thence to Hamilton. Braund's message to brigade and division did not give a pessimistic impression, but just a plain, brief statement of fact, outlining the situation in his sector. In fact, his message sent by Shout definitely mentioned that he could advance if he had reinforcements.

Coincidence had played a big part in the affairs of April 25. This happened to be the day selected as a tactical field day for cross country exercise towards Hill 971 by the 57th-Turkish Regiment. In consequence, there was an organised force in formation to repulse the main Australian and New Zealand advance, so that the moving up of enemy reserves was merely automatic. The Turkish leader, Mustapha Kemal, had a large reserve at hand, and this was promptly pushed forward.

 

Fraught With Difficulties

The difficulties of the country over which the troops had to operate were testified to by commanders of wide experience. Sir Ian Hamilton, with all his practical knowledge of campaigns, said he had never seen any single piece of country better calculated to break up and disorganise a body of troops. It was impossible for anyone who had not actually seen it to realise the true character of the country. In spite of this, at least two Turkish regiments admitted to losing fifty per cent. of their strength in casualties on the first day and night.

On the morning of April 26, Mustapha Kemal was confident that the landing forces were well held, but was unaware that the Turks had penetrated to almost the centre of the position along Russell's Top, where only the tenacity and leadership of Braund had held his seriously weakened force which had been deployed to oppose them.

At 5.13 a.m. McLaurin reported to division that his battalion had been engaged and had suffered severely, that they were split up, and that he was not in touch with all of them.

Daylight on April 26 brought a sense of relief to the weary garrison on Walker's with its semi-circular line so close to the shore and the wide gap between Pope's Hill and Russell's Top. The problems of the day were twofold; the gap had to be filled and the whole line consolidated against heavy counter attacks. At daylight, Concannon set C Company to dig a trench forward of the Second's night position,

At daybreak a feeble counter-attack was launched against B and C Companies, and was easily dispersed, though several casualties were suffered owing to the enemy snipers firing on the exposed flanks. Braund sent Pte. Milne to Godley's headquarters for assistance, but none was forthcoming. The Turks had organised for a counterattack about 800 yards in front of the position held by B Company and the Otagos, but were dispersed by fire from the warships. The Navy had stationed destroyers on the flanks to prevent surprise attacks, and their searchlights swept the country all night.

 

Naval Barrages Effective

The morning wore on without much troop movement. At ten to eleven Braund requested that the Navy shell Fisherman's Hut, which was a real nest of snipers. The heavy barrages by the Navy were a great comfort to the men in the line, and the protection the trenches gave against shrapnel added to their sense of safety. The slightest movement in the open, however, was a signal for prompt rifle, machine-gun and artillery fire. L/Cpl. Howe of the 11th Battalion repulsed an attack by some Turks on Russell's Top between Braund's and Pope's positions, and during the morning both Braund and Pope made every effort to link up their flanks and fill the gap, Braund keeping his runners busy.

The 16th Battalion had its flank covered by two machine-guns. During the day, Major Herring of the 13th Battalion took his Company to Russell's to effect a junction, but after advancing through thick scrub and suffering casualties without being able to gain touch on either flank he withdrew under heavy fire. While falling back, Herring's line extended and some of his men came in touch with the Second, so he halted the line and linked up with Braund, but could not make contact with Pope.

The position at this juncture from the extreme left of the line to Russell's Top was:-

Two companies of the Canterbury Battalion under Loach, and then Braund with B and C Companies of the Second, while Herring with a company of the 13th Battalion was on his right. Then followed a gap to Pope and his 16th Battalion, with two other companies of the Second attached to him.

During the morning a naval shell dropped among Herring's men and Braund promptly requested that more elevation be used when firing over ridge 237R. Braund also took local action, transferring some of the Second to the threatened right flank held by the 13th Battalion, and asking Loach to replace these from his position. At 2.35 p.m. Braund sent back the report:

"Have had to weaken my centre to strengthen my right flank. Want reinforcements."


For this purpose Loach detailed his Canterbury Company, but it was found that the Second party had hardly begun to reinforce the right flank when the whole lot were driven back by the heavy Turkish fire. Herring retired to Monash Valley and the second party returned to Walker's. The gap still remained open, but the Second hung on to guard it. Braund was not content to rest. At 2.41 he sent this message to division

"Have sent party forward and reoccupied 100 yards in front of top of ridge. Advise Navy."


Actually, he had ordered Concannon to advance, and the latter had gallantly led a bayonet charge.

 

Gone In With Bayonet

At 4.50 p.m. Braund reported: "Situation altered. Have report from top of ridge that our troops have gone in with the bayonet. Will advise full position when reported. Are on ridge section 237 Block W5 to 224 Block C5." Here a line was dug and established for the night of April 26 and 27.

Realising the difficulties of his front and his exposed flank, with no local reserves, Braund organised his position into two sectors, the right to be held by his two companies of the Second under Burke on Russell's Top and the left on Walker's Ridge under Loach. The Second's strength was about 200.

During the night the Nelson Company was transferred from the centre back to Walker's. At night a fatigue party from B Company was sent to the beach for ammunition. They were promptly pounced on by a New Zealand staff officer to carry ammunition to the Taranakis, Who were in difficulties. There the men of the Second lent a hand until daylight, and again met the Indian Mountain Battery. On returning to the Beach they were ordered by the same officer to help unload howitzers, but eventually escaped from his clutches. On the way back they met Cpl. Collingwood, who had been sent to look for them.

Soon after daylight Braund was notified that snipers were troublesome, and that the Turks had apparently dug a trench in front of the Second on Russell's Top. He in turn notified Loach in the following terms:

"O.C. Left Position, O.C Right Position is sending strong patrol at 6.30 p.m. to search ridges and gullies on our right. He believes snipers are therein. Please instruct yours to examine any suspicious looking men."

 

New Enemy Trench Captured

April 27 was to have been the day of Mustapha Kemal's general attack. When the sun rose that morning the Second on Walker's Ridge saw the new Turkish trench in front of them. Although without rest or sleep for nearly forty-eight hours they could not allow a concentration shelter to be built, so at 8 a.m. Concannon, with C Company, attacked the new trench It was carried at bayonet point, and the men found themselves with their backs to the sea. The trench had been full of Turks. At 8.50 Braund sent this message to Burke:

"Have told Division your message that Captain Concannon has enemy's front line trenches. Ascertain map position if possible. We make it 224 C3 towards 237 X 9. No reply your query re 237 M. 8." At 9.11 a.m. Braund advised division:

"Occupied enemy trenches on 234 C.3 towards 237 X 9. Enemy machine-gun operating against us. Unable to locate at present. Enemy retiring 8.33 a.m." At 9.45 a.m. Braund reported: "Enemy reported holding 224 D5," to which division replied at 9.55 a.m: "Our guns are being directed onto 224 D.5."

About this time some reinforcements arrived from the Beach. Concannon's Company was so reduced by casualties - having lost four officers and 80 other ranks in fifteen minutes, that the rest were forced to fall back. Braund promptly despatched thirty men under Lieut. Harrison to help Concannon, who advanced and re-established the position. It was a day of epic deeds. Turks concealed in thick scrub in front of the trench maintained a continuous devastating fire, so Braund ordered an advance to clear them out. Whyte, of the Second, was one of two officers responsible for the supply of ammunition to the front line, and he was instructed to collect any men he could and report to Braund. From a variety of fatigue parties on the Beach, Whyte secured 140 men whom he took to Walker's. There he found Braund and Stevens, the undaunted Shout, and Lieut. Dick Tarrant - the last - named issuing packets of small arms ammunition.

Once again the gallant Concannon led the charge, the line advancing about fifty yards, while he and Shout moved them up and down regardless of danger. To a warning cry of, "You'll be killed," Concannon replied, "That's what I came here for." A minute later he was shot dead. Lieuts. Fourdrinier and Smith were both hit, and the survivors were unable to dig in, so that casualties increased. Burke then took charge, but was immediately wounded. Although wounded also, Shout carried on, and Braund came up to direct the line. Without shovels the men scratched on into slight depressions with their entrenching tools. Braund sent to the New Zealand Brigade for immediate assistance. Cpl. Millar, who had been hit during the 25th, was again wounded in two places.

 

Deaf To Order To Retire

Numerous orders were being passed up and down the line, but as these came from unknown sources they all needed careful checking. C Company disregarded an order to retire, and another order issued warned against firing on troops to the right flank as they were Indians.

While this terrific fighting was going on, the staff on the Beach, who knew nothing of the strenuous times on Russell's Top, was reorganising the whole position., Walker's Ridge was allotted to the New Zealand Brigade under Walker. Braund heard this from Loach on his left, and at 10.35 a.m. sent the following report to division:

"Major Loach, O.C. Left Section of my position reports verbally New Zealand Infantry Brigade will, with Wellington Battalion prolong my right flank at 12 noon under General Walker. Will hold Australian troops on right sector ready to move and await General at my position."


Up to this time Braund had shared with McKay and McLagan, command of the front line. Walker reached Braund at 10.50 a.m. and could hardly believe his eyes when he saw a telephone installed, with communication available to the 1st Australian Division on the Beach. Walker asked Herrod if he could speak to the Beach, and was not fully convinced until connected with Colonel White. Walker told White that he would look around for half an hour and then give him an appreciation of the position True to his word, Walker returned and gave White a concise and comprehensive review of the situation, and ended by ordering what he required from the Beach in the way of stores.

Walker had Malone's Wellington Battalion in reserve in a gully near the Beach, Malone being in command of the sector. He immediately ordered the Wellingtons up to Walker's, and they followed the same tracks as Braund's men had used on April 25. The West Coast and Hawker Bay Companies were placed at the disposal of Braund, who filled the gap in his line with them. From that time the Australians and New Zealanders, under Braund, fought as one force. At 11 a.m. Braund advised headquarters: "Tell artillery to keep up a heavy fire." Hobbs was advised, and given Braund's position.

Early in the afternoon the mixed left flank of Braund's sector wavered under sustained and concentrated rifle fire.

 

Bayonet Charge Through Scrub

Realising that the strain was telling on his men, Braund led his combined New Zealand and Second forces in a steady bayonet charge through the scrub and remained out for about an hour. At 8.30 p.m., he sent to division: "Am holding summit (Russell's Top). Between this and line held by enemy is gully at present stage too strongly held to cross. Enemy entrenched. Am digging along crest. Could guns help us?"

As Braund confirmed in his report to 1st Brigade on May 3 concerning this period. "It was not the intention to remain and permanently occupy the position." About 5.30 pm., having formed the opinion that his men were not rested nor ready, he ordered a withdrawal by echelon. Some of the men on the extreme left saw large numbers of Turks advancing in force. They were in double lines about twenty yards apart on a wide front. Word went round that, "They are coming in thousands." Probably thinking that Braund was retiring in face of the strong attack, they began to return. Then Herrod, the Battalion signalling officer, acted promptly. Speaking a few quiet words to the men, he led them back to their position. Thus by his cool, prompt action, at a critical moment he saved what might have developed into a general retreat.

With the Turks pressing on, Braund's command could not shoot fast enough, as the enemy were in sufficient strength to ignore losses. Then the warships with their lyddite got amongst them, playing dreadful havoc, thereby saving the Second from being overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers.

During the whole of this advance, the ensuing fight, and the return to the original position, Braund had been everywhere where most needed. At the height of the Turkish attack, his high-pitched voice could be heard shouting above the continuous din of rifle and machine-gun fire "Steady, men ! Steady!" He was the embodiment of perfect bravery and as cool as though carrying out a field exercise.

This extensive attack, personally directed by Mustapha Kemal was finally dispersed by the fire from the battleships. Braund's men had now been fighting without rest or sleep for three whole days.

Hart now moved up with his New Zealanders and the line was re-established almost across Russell's Top on the line the Second had dug after Concannon's last Mistaken advance. At 5.30 p.m.. Braund notified division For "No reinforcements have arrived, I have fallen Turks back first position which will want more men if we are to hold it." Hart informed Braund that he could see Australians and New Zealanders across the valley on the right, so Walker tried to bridge the gap between Pope's and Dart's with the Otagos. However, it was impossible to advise the flank troops, and in the confusion the Otagos were mistaken for Turks. The gap at the top remained, Braund being faced with another critical night, this being the third. At ten past seven that night he sent this message

"Am at the position reported at 2.31 p.m. Will hold it until otherwise ordered. No officers but self and one other, Lieut. Westbrook. Want picks and shovels, also water. Stronger positions where held last night."


About 9 p.m. a further attack developed against Braund's centre and the New Zealand left. With loud shouts of "Allah! Allah!" and with bugles blowing the Turks advanced with fanatical bravery, all regardless of fire and death. Crawling to the parapet they directed their fellow-troops, who hurled bombs at the Second, though most of the missiles fell short. The trench was on the down slope and the Turks could be seen and heard coming over the skyline. Thankful for their own position, the Second maintained a steady and effective fire, and with hand-to-hand fighting, drove the enemy off after an hour. One Turk, having crawled right up to the trench, called out as he rose, "Don't shoot! Me Indian!" Herrod declined to take his word, and shot him, as well as another who shouted "Hassan!"

Further efforts to dislodge Braund were made during the night. After the first attack, Saunders reinforced with the Rauhine Company, and at midnight a strong Turkish move was repulsed. At 2.10 a.m. on April 28, Braund sent to Godley, now in charge of the front, the following message

"Have reinforced firing line with all troops. Enemy using hand grenades. Send ammunition requested Urgent."


The ground in front of the trench was a shambles, for in addition to rifle fire, the two machine-guns of the Wellingtons had wrought great havoc, and Braund recorded his appreciation of them. Ceaseless activity continued throughout the night, and dawn brought a sigh of relief from all.

On Wednesday, April 28 the troops had reached the limits of human endurance. For three days and nights they had carried on this epic fight, without sleep, without rest, and with little water, holding the key position on the front and stemming effectively, the tide of the main Turkish attack. At last came word that Walker had bridged the gap by gaining touch with the 4th Brigade in Monash Valley, and the tension on Braund was relaxed. Hamilton now decided to send part of the Royal Naval Division to relieve the Australians.

Between 4 a.m, and 6 a.m. on April 29, Braund was relieved by Malone with his New Zealanders.

Dr. Bean, in 1931, wrote of the Second Battalion

"The Second Battalion, under its noble and capable leader Braund, was sent at once up to the most vital position on Anzac.

"Not for an hour or an afternoon-though the strain of that would have been sufficient-but for three continuous days and nights the Second held off the enemy and managed meanwhile to dig itself in, grandly assisted by the New Zealanders."


Again, in Vol. 1 of the Official History of the A.I.F.:

"The Second Battalion had lost 16 officers and 434 men killed and wounded. Almost isolated, strongly attacked during three days and three nights of heavy fighting, it had held the most vital position in the area.

"Its commander, Braund - Theosophist, teetotaller, member of parliament - had shown every quality of a really great leader. For two days the command on the left really fell on him., Now working as a brigadier, now leading his men in the attack, encouraging, organising, he never neglected to keep divisional headquarters fully informed of every circumstance that would be useful to it. Not by a single word did he overstate the difficulty or danger of his situation, and his messages are the most terse and lucid of those which have survived the fight. The feelings of the New Zealand Infantry, as Braund and his Battalion left them, was one of warm and affectionate admiration. Day and night Australians and New Zealanders had fought together upon that hill top."


Braund now moved to the beach and took up an outpost position from the base of the spur on the left flank of the water's edge. At 9 p.m. he was relieved and moved to the 1st Brigade rendezvous at the southern end of the beach, where most of the surviving of A and D Companies were already assembled.

To return to the sectors where A and D Companies had fought, Lieut. Heugh, using entrenching tools taken from the dead, had dug in in front of Courtney's. He then passed the entrenching tools to the men of the 15th and 16th Battalions who had filled the gap between Courtney's and Steele's. The survivors of A and D Companies, which were split up along the centre of the line, had manfully borne their share of the fighting, and they too, in the three days, had reached the limit of their endurance. Heugh was killed near Quinn's on the morning of April 26. The sector in which these two gallant companies fought was afterwards known as MacLaurin's Hill.

About 3.20 p.m. on April 27, the battalions of the 1st Brigade were shocked to receive a curt message from MacLaurin's headquarters: "Colonel MacLaurin is seriously wounded, and Major Irvine is dead." Irvine had been sniped at Steele's at 3 p.m. and fifteen minutes later, MacLaurin was hit at the same spot while standing on the open ridge. MacLaurin died without knowing of Irvine's fate, and without again seeing his beloved 1st Brigade reassembled.

Colonel Owen, of the 3rd Battalion, was immediately detailed to take over MacLaurin's command, which he did at 3.55 p.m. Persistent Turkish attacks had been made on this sector all day, and in the early evening Owen reported that his men were tired out and weak. Division replied that assistance would come from the 4th Brigade, and that fresh British troops would arrive next day.

On the night of April 27-28 the tension did not relax, as the Turks continuously attacked and kept up a furious fusillade. Cries of "Allah!" and bugle calls interspersed with cheers resounded throughout the night, and many messages were passed up and down the line.

Shortly after 2 a.m. Owen asked for artillery support to break up a threatened attack, and at 3 a.m. he reported the position to be critical, as the Turks had sapped up close in order to charge.

Because of a shortage of staff, and the whole of the responsibility on his shoulders, Owen was feeling the tremendous strain. The troops were waiting for the promised advance of the 29th Division on Achi Baba, which was to relieve them from continued pressure by the Turks.

Little did they know that the experiences of the 29th Division had been similar to their own. The whole force was suffering through lack of reinforcements. Eventually, on the afternoon of April 28, two battalions of the Royal Marine Light Infantry were landed, and relief was in sight. This commenced at dusk on April 28, and extended well into the following day. Rain, the inevitable herald of a move by the Second, began at dark and continued intermittently throughout the night. The rendezvous near the beach was disclosed to the troops, and for two days the weary and bedraggled survivors, bloodstained, filthy and tattered, straggled back to meet those of their pals who had come through it all. It was a sad return.

The men, as far as possible, were left to their own devices - to sleep, swim or mend clothes, but first they received the heartfelt congratulations of mates, and the news of those who had fallen. The baptism of fire had turned out to be a fierce battle lasting four days and nights without rest. In spite of it all the men remained in good spirits and required only sleep to refresh them. Stevens called the roll, and it was indeed a sad calling. The second-in-command was wounded, the O.C's of A and C Companies, Gordon and Concannon were killed, while Burke and Richardson, O.C's of B and D Companies were severely wounded. Other casualties among the officers were

A CompanyB CompanyC CompanyD Company
Kelly-killedHeugh-killedDawson-killedSmith-killed
Fourdrinier-woundedWatson-woundedSolling-killed
Stewart-wounded Tarrant woundedCook-wounded
Brown-wounded



After the roll call, Braund with tears streaming down his cheeks, addressed the men, and gave them unstinted praise for their fine work. A message of congratulation from the British Government was read to the troops.

The young Australian N.C.O's had proved their worth and their ability to command. The men had more than fulfilled the most sanguine hopes of those who had watched their training with interest, for, they had become veterans in less than a week of their coming under fire.

Of the 1st Brigade, the Second had actually experienced the heaviest casualties-16 officers and 434 other ranks. This was a total almost equal to those sustained by each of the four battalions of the 3rd Brigade, the unit that made the initial landing in the attack on April 25. The casualties of the three brigades for the period between April 25 and April 30 inclusive were as follows

1st Brigade - 60 officers and 1325 other ranks.

2nd Brigade - 57 officers and 1624 other ranks.

3rd Brigade - 62 Officers and 1802 other ranks.


The casualties of the three brigades totalled 179 officers and 4751 other ranks.

Heaviest casualties were suffered by the 7th Battalion 17 officers and 524 other ranks, while the lightest was in the 4th, with a total of 8 officers and 182 other ranks.

Practically all those at first reported missing in the division were either killed or wounded, the latter having been evacuated without notification being given. Only one Australian was taken prisoner during this period.

The men of the Second now found themselves members of a community confined in a narrow space, with the sea as their "back fence." The area measured approximately a mile and a half by half a mile, with well defined boundaries. Within a surprisingly short time it was crisscrossed by numerous tracks, and honeycombed with trenches, while the gullies were pot-holed with dug-outs. The tracks were all like sheep tracks leading to a tank, they all led to the beach. When Ian Hamilton first landed he was astounded at the difficulties which had been overcome, and at the nature of the country. He was much amused at the large number of men enjoying themselves in the water, as though at a picnic.

On April 30, Walker, who had come to Anzac as Chief of Staff with a high reputation, was transferred from temporary command of the New Zealand Brigade, and appointed to command the 1st Brigade. He established unpretentious headquarters at the southern end of the beach, and at 4 p.m. received his battalion commanders, together with those N.C.O's and men whom they wished to recommend for commissioned rank. Two reinforcement officers - 2/Lts. O. J. O. Tedder and H. Taylor were absorbed, while R.S.M. Lowe and R.Q.M.S. Mackay were, with others, promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

During that day the Second remained on the Beach as reserve battalion to the 1st Brigade's inner line of defence, and on the evening of the 30th they moved up to the head of Shrapnel Gully to the position by then known as Braund's Hill.

At least part of the story of the Landing by now had reached the four corners of the world, and congratulatory messages were rained on the troops from all parts, but the most valued tributes were those paid by commanders on the spot.

While all these stirring episodes were taking place ashore, the Second's Transport Section was playing its part in other spheres. It was aboard the City of Benares, which gradually approached the shore as day broke, and at sunrise unloading operations were begun. Heavy shells, throwing up huge columns of spray were falling round the ship, but the naval officers insisted on her remaining inshore, so that the transfer of ammunition and stores into small boats could be continued. Three small boats were taken ashore and then brought back filled with wounded, who were attended to on board the ship. For three weeks the City of Benares remained at the anchorage, the Transport Section lending a hand whenever possible. In the course of these duties the troops frequently got ashore, and some of them-not unnaturally-tried to join up with the rest of the Second. This was not permitted, but they were temporarily pacified by a promise that they would shortly be sent for to rejoin the unit. This promise, however, was not fulfilled. The work of the Transport Section was both hard and dangerous, but the men filled a very necessary role in the supply of munitions to the garrison. The ship's captain rightly feared for the safety of his vessel, and the repartee between him and the naval officers was much enjoyed by the troops.

 

Getting Ammunition Forward

The supply of ammunition to the Division was carried out under the supervision of Christian of the 1st Battalion and Whyte of the Second. Much difficulty was experienced keeping it up during the first three days. Many expedients were adopted, and on April 25-26 Whyte tried to maintain supplies from Shrapnel Gully to Shell Green. The first two lots were carried by hand-16 men to 8 boxes-and then taken by daylight through the scrub to a point near the firing line. A suitable location for this was found at the head of Shrapnel Gully, where the boxes were broken open and packets of cartridges passed along to left and right. In this way, by 11 a.m. on April 25, it was possible to supply an almost continuous line from the Chessboard to the Pimple. On the right of the Pimple was a break in the line, so on seeing Whyte, MacLagan signalled him and sent him to division with a map, showing the breaks. Whyte also asked for more men to fill the gap. Bridges thereupon instructed Blarney to lead the 4th Battalion to take over the unoccupied territory.

During the afternoon, a few mules with Indian drivers were landed, and as Whyte had served in India and could speak Urdu, he was detailed to take charge of them for the transport of ammunition. During the night, at least four convoys took about 50,000 rounds each up to the line. When sufficient cartridges had been transported the mule train was used to carry up tins of water. Whyte received great assistance from Armourer Sgt. Best and Pte. Hutchinson of the Second, and Gemmel of the 3rd Battalion.

The R.M.O. of the Second, Captain Kane and his staff accompanied the Battalion on the morning of the Landing, packs being discarded. Kane led his men up in front of the Sphinx, where some wounded were attended to, but on being ordered back by a staff officer he returned to the Beach and established a regimental aid post behind the New Zealanders on the extreme left and remained there under continuous fire until the Second reassembled at the other end of the beach on April 29 for roll call.

 

Problem Of The Wounded

During the first days the evacuation of the very large number of wounded presented a difficult problem, so constant was the stream of them to the Beach. Practically every boat that came ashore with stores was utilised to take casualties either to the warships or the transports, where naval or military medical officers attended to them.

From the very first day of the Landing, the Second's stretcher-bearers set that magnificent standard of courage and devotion to duty which was maintained by them, and distinguished them throughout the whole war. The difficult nature of the country called for the utmost care and ingenuity as well as stamina in handling stretcher cases, and no praise is too great for the manner in which these men carried out their arduous duties in the face of the gravest danger.

Dr. Bean describes at length an incident in which two of the Second's stretcher-bearers figured prominently. They were privates S. F. Carpenter and E. A Roberts. Briefly, the incident was that L/Cpl. Noel Ross, looking at the Beach through a powerful telescope from Walker's Ridge, noticed a deserted boat in which he counted about 30 Australians, and a sailor in a life-like attitude. He thought no more of it until the following day about 3 p.m. when he saw that the sailor had changed his position. Then a man began to hobble towards the Beach but collapsed as Turkish bullets splashed around him. This is what Bean says

"Ross went out with four men along the Beach to bring him in. When they had gone a hundred yards the sand and stones about them began to be whipped by the Turkish bullets. They dropped behind the hank of the Beach, and dodging from shelter to shelter reached a point within hail of the wounded man. He was lying out in the open, but tittle by little crawled to cover. He had been shot through both knees and nearly collapsed, but his spirit was high and they brought him back. There were four others in the heap, he said, still alive. There had been eight, but four had died before dawn."

 

Set Out For The Boat

Westbrook had also noticed the boat and pointed it out to Carpenter and Roberts who hurried down to the Beach. Captain Kane was there with his A.M.C. Squad, but he was stopped by Lieut. Col., Peerless, R.M.O. of the Canterbury Battalion, from going out. Taking a stretcher, Carpenter and Roberts set out for the boat, and subsequent events are best described in the recommendations forwarded to 1st Brigade in July by Lieut. Col. E. S. Brown - then commanding the Second - and Lieut. E. E. Herrod

"Anzac, July 19, 1915.

"To the Commanding Officer, 1st Infantry Brigade.

"On April 26, the day after the first landing, an act which is worthy of recognition has to-day been brought to my notice. The reason for the delay has been because the principal witness, Col. Peerless, R.M.O. of the Canterbury Regiment was not able, I understand, to furnish the names of these two men of the Second Battalion, who, it will be seen by the following statements, volunteered at a very great risk and succeeded in bringing in four wounded men of the 3rd Brigade who had been lying on the Beach near a small boat in which they had drifted from the intended landing place.

"This boat had come under very heavy machine-gun fire and shrapnel fire on the first landing. The occupants were all killed or wounded, and the wounded had remained 30 hours on the Beach. The Beach was under fire and the stretcher bearers were continuously under fire while rescuing the men and had frequently to take cover. An account of this act, I am told, appears in Captain Bean's official account of the Landing, but it is therein stated that the stretcher-bearers were shot.

"Attached please find statements from Col. Peerless and Lieut. Herrod, No. 1415 Pte. E. A. Roberts and 607 Pte. Carpenter, who were the two men recommended.

"(Signed) Ernest S. Brown, Lt.-Col. Commanding 2nd Battalion."


The report of Col. Peerless is not available, but on the same day Herrod endorsed Col. Brown's recommendation as follows

"I saw these two men go out to the ship's boat three or four times in succession and bring in wounded men who had been there since the landing on the previous day. For fully 75 yards both going and coming back the two men were under fire and were also being fired on while putting the men on the stretchers. The late Lieut.-Col. G. F. Braund, who was in command of the Second Battalion, also saw these men and instructed me to find out their names, presumably with the object of recommending them for their action Lieut.-Col. Braund noted it, and I have no further knowledge of what action was taken by him."


However, no awards were made to these two men. Every commander paid glowing tributes to the stretcher bearers as a body, and Ian Hamilton was unstinting in his praise of their work at Anzac.

Thus ended the Second's initial adventure into the war. Throughout their initiation of a seventy-two hours' battle they had been sorely tried and not found wanting. The value of the severe training at Mena, at which some were inclined to cavil at times, was fully realised after this first fight, during which no spirit, however high, could have kept men going unless they had attained perfection in stamina.

Proud as he was of his men, the men of the Second, had more reason to be proud of their commander, Braund. For courage, and sheer dauntless gallantry the whole war produced no finer example than Braund's display during those hectic days. Stranded in the key position of the line, he commanded, organised and led where many a brave soul might have collapsed under the strain. Most rightly was it named "Braund's Hill".

So had the standard of the Battalion been set. From this, the first battle of the Second, was born that spirit of conquest and esprit de corps which was to inspire the Battalion throughout the succeeding years of bitter fighting. So history was made and tradition created.


 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 1st Infantry Brigade, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, AIF, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 April 2010 2:21 PM EADT

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