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Tuesday, 15 December 2009
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 48 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 48
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 48
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 48 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
Fifth Bn report
KB6 25/4/15 AAA
at 6.55 their right being pressed back and enemy massing on their right possibly for night attack. Only two comps of Bn there and no supports. all in firing line
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 49 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 49
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 49
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 49 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
KB67 25/4/15 AAA
Sixth reports attack threatening on left of fourth on its right. I think reserve half Battalion of eighth has been taken into firing line fifth sixth seventh want ammunition Eighth supplied seventh rep small attack in front n able estimate strength. A gap between left of fifth and third Bde of 300 yds which fifth cannot fill. Fifth was enfiladed from its left by enemy guns all afternoon.
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 15th Infantry Battalion War Diary Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
15th Infantry Battalion War Diary
War Diary account of the 15th Infantry Battalion , AIF.
The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the 15th Infantry Battalion, AIF, of their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
25 April 1915
Embarked to Dardanelles 5.30 am.
Transport "Australind" with Headquarters, "B" and "D" Companies on board reached the entrance to the Dardanelles and witnessed the bombardment, and landing of British Troops.
11.45 am - Transport left the entrance to the Dardanelles. HMT Seang Bee anchored opposite disembarkation point at 4 pm and at 4.30 pm. Torpedo Boat Destroyer took off two Companies. These however, were not landed until about 10.30 pm. While waiting for disembarkation the Torpedo Boat Destroyer came under shrapnel fire from the shore and four of our men were hit. At 12.30 am 26th inst Lieutenant Colonel Cannon took command of all 15th Battalion which had disembarked to that time with the exception of a party under Captain Walsh, who had been ordered to report to Colonel Maclagan.
26 April 1915
At 9 am the balance of troops disembarked from the Seang Bee and Captain Quinn was ordered to support the right of 3rd Infantry Brigade.
The portion of the Battalion under the Commanding Officer took up a position at the head of gulch between the positions held by 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades and remained there until 30th.
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 15th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
15th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account
7th Battalion Machine Gun Section overlooking Quinn's Post, 25 April 1915
After the conclusion of the World War 2, Thomas Percival Chataway, a Private who later was commissioned, recorded the events of the battalion with the assistance Lieutenant Colonel Paul Goldenstedt who revised and edited the book. Chataway wrote the history of this Battalion called History of the 15th battalion, Australian Imperial Forces, war 1914-1918. The book was published Brisbane during 1948. 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.
Chataway, TP, History of the 15th battalion, Australian Imperial Forces, war 1914-1918, Brisbane, 1948, pp. 1 - 24.
The Landing On Gallipoli
The "Australind" with Headquarters Staff and "B" and "D" Companies of the 15th Battalion on board weighed anchor at 6 a.m. on April 24 and put out to sea. After leaving Mudros Harbour she cruised slowly until within twelve miles of the entrance to the Dardanelles, and there "laid to" with other transports until Sunday morning.
Early after midnight on April 25, together with cruisers, torpedo boats and transports she steamed full-speed ahead for the southernmost tip of the Peninsula. Immediately the convoy reached the entrance to the Dardanelles the ships of the fleet opened a fierce bombardment of the Turkish positions. On the "Australind" were a number of pontoons which were to be utilised in the landing of the English troops at Cape Helles. Arriving off Helles the men upon the "Australind" watched with interest the beaching of the "River Clyde" and the landing of the 29th English Division. Nearby, the flagship of the fleet, the "Queen Elizabeth", hurled shells into the Turkish forts, while the Russian vessel, "Askold", nicknamed by the men the "Packet of Woodbines" owing to it having five funnels, blazed away on the right.
At 11.45 a.m. the "Australind" left the entrance, and steaming up the coast took up her position opposite what is now called Anzac Cove.
Upon the "Australind" were the Battalion's Commanding Officer, Lt.-Col. J. H. Cannan, the Adjutant, Captain W. O. Willis (A & I Staff), its Machine Gun Section under Lieutenant H. Kessels, and its Signalling Section under Lieutenant N. O. O'Brien. There were also "B" and "D" companies commanded by Captain J. F. Richardson and Major Eccles Snowden respectively, while the seconds-in-command to each company were Captains Frank Moran and H. C. Davies.
When the "Australind" was lying off Cape Helles the `'Seeang Bee", with the other half of the 15th Battalion-"A" and "C" companies---one company of the 13th Battalion commanded by Captain Hunt, one of the 16th Battalion commanded by Captain Jack Miller, and 150 New Zealand Infantry Brigade reinforcements, put to sea. The Commanders of the two 15th Battalion companies were; "A" company, Captain Jack Walsh and Captain Herman Cannan; and "C" company, Captain Hugh Quinn and Captain Cyril Corser. The O.C. of the ship was Major Bert Carter, second in command of the Battalion.
The division of the Battalion into two parts made the task of the Commanding Officer incredibly difficult, but it had this merit, that no ship sunk by an enemy submarine or mine, or landing party annihilated when going ashore in the pontoons or cutters, would completely wipe the Battalion out.
The "Seeang Bee's" trip was uneventful, other than the incident of a torpedo boat's kindly crew passing crisp newly baked French loaves of bread up the side of the vessel, on the Peninsula, before bread became a daily ration, the memory of those crisp brown loaves was awakened when munching at the sixpenny bit iron ration biscuits to quieten the pangs of hunger.
It is rather an astonishing fact that the division of the Battalion should have placed half the unit on what was known as the best "tucker boat in the fleet"-the "Seeang Bee", and the other half upon the "Australind", with the reputation of being the worst. So bad was the food upon the "Australind" that many of the men of "D" company contracted dysentery before landing.
To the majority of our men nothing seemed capable of astonishing them. When we entered the Suez Canal, after our long and tedious sea voyage from Australia, their complete indifference to this mighty engineering feat was astounding. "Why it's not a decent irrigation channel", one man declared in disgust, as he manhandled sandbags to barricade the decks against stray shots from the Turks in the vicinity of the waterway. The Pyramids of Egypt were to some of the men only a heap of stones, while the famous Citadel would have made an excellent top-piece to a bridal cake if done in icing. Off the Peninsula, this apparent indifference outwardly existed. A few of the men took a marked interest in the exploding shells upon the highlands, also in the "River Clyde" with her dropped side, and the "Queen Elizabeth" owing to the size of her shells, but ever' that interest seemed at times forced. Death stalking the smoke covered ridges, where men were desperately clinging to every vantage point gained, and wounded leaving the shore in boatloads on their way to the only hospital ship and the transports already taking the overflow from it, did not stir them from their habitual air of indifference.
Many took to card playing, as if the spectacle before their eyes was but an imaginative effort of an individual's brain and not the reality of two nations at war. About them, the smaller craft flitted and chugged. A few men who did take an interest in the general activity, yelled questions to the passing ships---questions that were rarely answered for the voices were lost in the general volume of sound.
To the gamblers, deeply absorbed in their games, war was non-existent. During the long hours of the night, when "C" company awaited the order to go ashore, time whiled away playing cards was probably put to good use, for minds concentrated solely upon poker or in some cases euchre, were at peace. The continuous roar of the heavy guns and the rattle of rifle and machine-gun fire from far up in the hills, could not deprive the players of that oblivion to all but the game before them; nor, could you, from the set faces of the players note any emotion except a fierce glint of pleasure in the eyes of the man who pulled off a palpable bluff, or displaying a full hand, scooped a jack-high pool.
One game of cards invented by Private Harry Byrne, of "C" company (whose fearlessness led to his death at Quinn's on May 9), was of the class to set the bravest of hearts quivering. This game was picking the first man to be killed once the platoon was ashore. It was grim humour, and all eyes watched anxiously as the pack was ostentatiously shuffled, and the cards dealt one by one to a group of players. The first man to receive the Nine of Diamonds - that much abused card with the ominous name of the "Curse of Scotland" - would be the first to lose his life. Card after card fell, then a sigh of relief burst from the greatest part of the players as the fatal piece of pasteboard fell to the lot of young Percy Toft, one of the midgets in the Battalion. That the "Curse" was harmless as a Gypsy's forecast of evil, time showed. He went right through the war.
All minds, however, were not so easily diverted from the chances of death awaiting them. On Lemnos Island a story had been circulated by a naval rating in connection with the landing of some Marines during the first bombardment of the Peninsula by the fleet in the month of February. Men had been sent forward after the bombardment to dismantle the forts. Two landings were made, and according to this seaman, the second landing party recovered the bodies of three men, who bad been captured by the Turks, from the first landing party and subjected to death by Crucifix. The very horror of this story, combined as it was with the further information that the Turk made a habit of hamstringing every wounded man who fall into his hands, so as to render such men unfit for further service when healed, drew our men closer than ever together. Solemn vows were made that should a man lie wounded and a retirement ordered, his friend or the man nearest him would despatch the sufferer.
There are two unauthenticated instances of this happening within the ranks of the 15th Battalion. The first occurred during the hectic retirement from the Turk trenches captured in front of Quinn's Post on the morning of May 10. A fatally wounded man pleaded to be despatched before the enemy re-occupied the line. As his hours were numbered his wish was complied with. The other case occurred during the tragic retirement after the failure to capture Abdel Rahman Bair on August 8. In this case a badly wounded man, crawling slowly towards safety discovered a friend of his past aid. He risked attracting the searching Turks' attention and fired the shot to end the man's life.
While "C" company was indulging in cards or sleeping, or in watching from the ship's rail for vessels coming alongside the transport with wounded aboard, "A" company was engaged somewhere far up in the hills in the foremost part of the fighting line. This company had disembarked about 4 p.m. when H.M.T.B. destroyer "Beagle" pulled alongside the "Seeang Bee" and took off Captain J. Walsh's company and that of Captain J. Miller's of the 16th Battalion. In the short distance to the coast, the destroyer came under heavy shrapnel fire and some of the ship's crew were hit, but curiously enough not one member of the infantry. There were five ship's boats attached to the "Beagle", and when the water became too shallow for the destroyer to get any closer to the land, the troops were transferred to these boats and rowed the rest of the way to the shore.
The landing troops were up to full equipment, with two white bags of emergency rations (iron), an extra 200 rounds of ammunition, wearing caps instead of their broad brim felt hats, while upon the top of the pack was carried a small bundle of firewood. The order to wear cap; came after the vessels had left Mudros Harbour. The reason given for the wearing of this headgear was that the men would not be so conspicuous to the enemy as they would in their slouch hats.
The five boats held in all about 80 men or two platoons. No. 2 Platoon under the 1st Tasmanian Reinforcement Officer, 2/Lieutenant Burford Sampson, and No. 4 under Lieutenant Leo Casey, together with the company-commander Captain Walsh, the C.Q,M.S., W. A. Brooks, and the Battalion Armourer-Sergeant R. B. McIntosh, were the first to go ashore. To some among these lies the honour of being the first men of the 15th Battalion to set foot upon Gallipoli Peninsula. Sergeant N. R. Mighell, No. 2 Platoon's sergeant, was left aboard the destroyer, while in the boats were men from Nos. 1 and 3 Platoons, one of whom was Private Jack Fleet. The men left aboard the destroyer were under the commands of Lieutenants N. T. Svensen and Sam Harry. It was from the party in the boats the first casualty in the 15th came, Cecil Rush of No. 4 Platoon, being hit on the head with a shrapnel pellet just as the boat reached the shore. When the two platoons of "A" company went ashore they were met by Colonel W. G. Braithwaite, a Staff Officer of the N.Z. and Australian Division, who exclaimed to Captain Walsh: "For God's sake hurry, Sir. They are giving way on the left!" Walsh, whose coolness and ability for leadership were very soon displayed, was not moving off without a guide. He gave orders to seek shelter beneath an overhanging bank until he found someone from whom to obtain definite instructions. While Walsh was searching for an informant, Casey and Sampson's men collected some picks and shovels and a case of ammunition so as to be ready for any emergency.
A few minutes after Colonel Pope arrived upon the scene with his 16th Battalion, and meeting Walsh said, "We're off to the firing line. Tack yourself on to me." Walsh did so, and the column of men trailed along the beach, and turned up Shrapnel Gully until they came to what was afterwards known as Monash Valley. At this point the 15th men shed their packs, and were drafted into a section of the line now called Courtney’s Post. It was then just on sunset. Pope's men meanwhile continued up Monash Valley to the higher ground which afterwards bore his name.
When Walsh and his men entered Courtney’s it was not in the true sense of the word a post at all. There was a short section of trench that had evidently been built by the Turks during their retirement, for its depth was scarcely three feet and it was not quite twenty yards in length. The position was commanded by Captain Chester of the 3rd Battalion, who had with him several other officers including Lieutenant Heugh, afterwards killed, of the 1st Battalion. Its personnel consisted of men from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 12th Battalions. On the right flank were some me" under the command of Major Lamb, practically all of whom were 3rd Battalion. Orders were received from time to time by Walsh from Lamb, but owing to the distance separating the two men, Walsh was compelled to act at. Most times on his own initiative. The picks and shovels brought from the beach proved of exceptional help. Casey's No. 4 Platoon was ordered in on the left and Sampson's No. 2 on the right, enclosing in much of what to-day is known as Steele's Post.
Captain Walsh's genius for soldiering asserted itself the moment he took control of his sector of the line. He not only commanded the mixed assortment of men from the various units he found there, but some New Zealanders also who found their way to the place. Scrubby undergrowth grew profusely about the position and to its left front ran a gully, known later as Mule Gully. The men were set to work digging a system of trenches, and volunteers were called to form a screen well out in front for the purpose of giving plenty of warning of any attempt by the enemy to approach the line under construction. Two of the first men to volunteer were Sergeant Tom Dorm and Private Fred Hanley, and throughout the whole of the Gallipoli campaign these men were ever to the fore when things were at their worst. They both had an incurable habit of volunteering for anything that spelt danger. Sufficient volunteers having been obtained, 2/Lieutenant Sampson was placed in command of the screen and immediately took his men out and placed them in position. This screen remained out throughout the night. Several attempts were made by the Turk to penetrate it but on each occasion they proved fruitless.
It was during this first night that the sound of digging was heard on the left flank and slightly forward of the position Walsh was occupying. Upon receiving this report from Sampson he ordered him to find out who the men were. Sampson took with him Sergeant Ray Tickner and cautiously the two made their way across the gully until on the ridge they discovered a digging party. The party naturally took the two men for Turks and opened fire upon them, luckily failing to cause any casualties. Upon making themselves known to the digging party they discovered it was commanded by Captain Jacobs, of the 1st Battalion, end a New Zealand officer. With these two officers were a a few New Zealanders and Australians. They were digging - in on the side of the ridge with their entrenching tools in the spot afterwards too well known to the 15th Battalion as Quinn's Post.
The New Zealand officer accompanied Sampson and Tickner back to Walsh and endeavoured to influence him to give some men for the construction of the post. Walsh promised to speed all the work up upon the left flank in an endeavour to get as close as possible to Jacob's position by morning. While Walsh was busy with two platoons in Courtney's the other two platoons of "A" company had landed, reaching shore about 6 p.m. There had been a slight delay in their going ashore but no time was lost in marching them up Shrapnel Gully to the Pope's Hill position, and upon arriving there they were immediately told to return to the beach and marched straight back the way they came. At nightfall they were sent on to the right flank, where within sound of the waves they immediately started digging a line of trenches. When daylight came Lieutenant Harry and his Sergeant, Bill Mundell, indulged in the choicest of language, for their instructor of the night before had for some inexplicable reason ordered them to build trenches facing the sea.
About 6.30 p.m. "D" company went aboard a destroyer and after steaming about for a short time was finally put ashore about dusk. The officers landing with "D" were Major Eccles Snowden, his second-in-command Captain H. C. Davies, and Lieutenants J. Good, A. Douglas, N. Dickson and A. G. Hinman in charge of the four platoons. Many of the "D" company men were ill with dysentery and for this reason the company could not be worked too strenuously to commence with, so they employed themselves collecting ammunition until almost midnight, when orders were received for the company to reinforce the Third Brigade under General MacLagan on the position known as Razorback.
One thousand rounds of extra ammunition was supplied to every two men, immediately following which they marched up Shrapnel Gully to the point where they scaled the side of the gully gaining the high ground of this narrow feature. There they were met by an officer who told them the Turks were massing for an attack down in the gully to their immediate front. As the company had not the slightest idea where the front line was inquiries were made from men lying about in shallow funk holes as to their true position. To their astonishment they were told they were actually standing upon the front line. The disintegration of the company as a whole then took place. A Third Brigade officer called for a Sergeant and twenty men to reinforce his right flank. Sergeant J. J. Corrigan and twenty men were sent along. The other platoons were drafted here and there and everywhere and it was not until the Monday afternoon, when General Bridges appeared upon the scene and ordered an advance, that many of "D" company saw familiar faces again, Corrigan and his men moved forward with the unit they were attached to and after the charge found that No. 16 platoon, Lieutenant Hinman's, was visible to them on their right flank.
In the meantime, during the Sunday evening, Colonel Cannan and his headquarters staff had landed and established their position at the head of Shrapnel Gully, almost directly behind Courtney's and Steele's Posts. While "D" company was on the beach "B" company, under Captains Richardson and Moran, landed at 8 p.m., two destroyers bringing them in and transferring them into lighters. The platoons were in command of Lieutenants C. E. Snartt, G. F. Dickinson, L. J. Waters, and Sergeant Maurice Little. Owing to the Transport Officer, Lieutenant B. G. Walsh, being left behind sick in Egypt, Lieutenant Jack Hill, who commanded the platoon, was detailed to look after the Transport. Hill's platoon was the only platoon in the Battalion which landed without an officer.
Lieutenant B. G. Matthews did not return to the unit, and was transferred to Colonel V. C. M. Sellheim's staff in Cairo and afterwards in Horseferry Road, London.
Upon reaching the beach, "B" company was sent up Shrapnel Gully, and climbing up the high country to the right, an order was given to fix bayonets and clear the ridges of the enemy. This first charge of "B" company's was a bloodless one for the Turks had already evacuated the position. They were then set to work digging a supporting line directly behind the front line. During the construction of this they came under heavy rifle fire and a number of casualties resulted. When "B" company moved forward to the position they were now occupying-the right flank of the line extending along the Razorback-a platoon was left on the beach near Fisherman's Hut, and told to dig in and make shelters in the cliff for the night. This platoon remained there until daylight, when it moved out from the cliff down to the beach. They had barely stepped clear of their posies when Turkish batteries opened out and their shells blew the tin and other material used in making the shelters, skywards. One youngster, Private H. A. Bennett, was so affected when he saw his bedroom going up into the air that he fainted. He quickly recovered, however, and afterwards proved himself one of the gamest men in the company.
Upon leaving the beach they went past Fisherman's Hut, carrying full equipment and a box of ammunition to each two men. During this journey the Turk shrapnel pelted them continuously and caused a number of casualties. The first man to be wounded was Private "Wally" Rose, who glancing back at a bursting shell, received a shrapnel pellet in the right temple. The pellet passed through his head and he spat it out of his mouth. Some Royal Army Medical men, who were nearby at the time, realised the seriousness of Rose's wound and compressing the temple artery, which had been severed, stopped the flow of blood and saved his life. Private M. J. Bailey was another man hit on this march, receiving part of the casing of a shrapnel in his nether quarters. Private M. J. Bailey returned to the unit and served continuously until the last battle in France, when along with some of the original men, including Corporal Gordon Smith, he met his death.
Before going any further with "A", "B" and "D" companies it is necessary to trace the doings of "C" company from early Monday morning. At 10 a.m. H.M.S. Destroyer "Usk" came alongside the "Seeang Bee" and took off the greater part of the company. Much shelling took place while the destroyer and its three hundred men approached the shore. One shell, bursting above the ship, injured some of the sailors but the infantry escaped hurt. After transferring to the pontoons there was further shelling, and a pellet from one burst hit Private W. Spiers on his collar badge in such a manner that the Rising Sun badge closed around the leaden ball holding it securely in a setting which could scarcely be improved upon by a jeweller. Spiers carried this memento with him until the end of the war, and peculiarly enough, it was the only occasion that his life seemed to be really threatened, for he served throughout unscathed.
Upon getting ashore the company was met by the Battalion Quartermaster, Lieutenant Fred Craig, who had landed the night before with Colonel Cannan and his headquarters staff. An extra bandolier of cartridges was handed out to every man, making in all 350 rounds per man. After a hasty meal, the company moved forward in file up Shrapnel Gully to a point behind Courtney's Post, where Headquarters now was. Streams of wounded filed past them on their way up and intermittent shell fire was encountered. Following behind "C" company came the platoon of "B" that had been left upon the beach all night. When the column arrived near to Battalion Headquarters it was halted, and Captain Hugh Quinn went to Colonel Cannan for instructions. Quinn had barely gone when Colonel C. B. B. White ordered Captain Corner to take the men up on to the high country.
Corser acted immediately and two platoons, Nos. 11 and 12, under the commands of Lieutenants D. S. Freeman and Leslie Collin, moved on past an Indian mountain battery that was firing shots at frequent intervals toward the Turk position. It was while climbing this steep hillside that the first casualty in "C" company occurred. A young chap, Private J. W. Henderson, who shared with Private G. S. Rogers the honour of being the youngest man in "C" company, both being 18 years of age, had his ear drums broken when he passed in front of the mountain battery just as it fired. Captain Corser, who was seriously ill just before leaving Egypt for Gallipoli, was still far from well and had to be aided up the steepest parts. At the top of the rise the men kept under cover waiting for the order to advance.
Freeman's platoon occupied the right flank and Collie's the left.
While the "C" company's platoons were awaiting their order to advance, the whole line upon the Razorback was also preparing to go forward a distance of some four hundred yards. This general move forward, which embraced both "B" and "D" companies, some men from the 9th Battalion and the greater portion of the 3rd Brigade, took place at 4 p.m. "B" company in the charge took its objective with ease, which proved to be a line of very shallow trenches. In this advance Captain Richardson was wounded, and the command fell to Captain Frank Moran. Besides Richardson wounded, Private Dave Gillies received two wounds from shrapnel fire, and during the deepening of the position won a regular string of casualties occurred.
"D" company was occupying shallow trenches stretched across a ridge in fairly open country with a slight hollow immediately in front and facing another ridge covered with scrub though not supposed to be occupied by the enemy. This company was subjected to an enfilading fire from shrapnel throughout the day. About 5 p.m. General Bridges instructed the men to move forward and occupy the next ridge. Lieutenant N. Dickson, who had with him Sergeants J. J. Corrigan, G. S. Williams, W. Ellis and Privates F. G. Gale and L. C. F. Lenders, immediately rose to carry out the order when he fell mortally wounded. Deprived of their officer, but still under the command of an officer belonging to the 2nd Brigade, the men moved forward and occupied the Position allotted to them without much difficulty.
Sergeant W. Ellis, who was with Lieutenant Dickson at the time, writes:
"During the afternoon we came under shrapnel fire which did no harm, and at about 5 p m. a Staff Officer rushed up us to advance and occupy the next ridge. Lieutenant Dickson, who had been lying next to me all day, rose on his knees to put his equipment on, and immediately fell forward on his face saying, `I'm done, Sergeant'. I crawled to him, but could see no sign of a wound, and lie was in such agony that he way unable to tell me where he was hit. The line then had teat moved and I sang out and asked the officer in charge if I could carry Dickson down, and he answered yes. I called Private Gale and we laid down on either side of Dickson, who was lying forward on his face, and we got him up and carried him back, being heavily fired at from the left flank. As scan as we got under a bit of cover, we examined Dickson to see what had happened to him, and found a small puncture in his stomach evidently caused by a rifle bullet. As we could do nothing for him w e carried him further down the gully and handed him over to an M.O... I might say that on our way back to the lane, we met some troops coming back in some disorder, and Private Gale was wounded in the arm by a shrapnel pellet which severed an artery. I fixed him up with his first field dressing and with assistance took him back to the same doctor who attended Dickson."
With the "C" company men a complete misunderstanding occurred. A Staff Officer appeared on the high ground and is alleged to have instructed Freeman to advance immediately. Another Staff Officer is stated to have countermanded the order for advance and informed the waiting men that they were to stay in the position they occupied as supports for the front line. Whatever was the real intention of those in command will never be known. Lieutenant Freeman took it upon his own shoulders to order his platoon into action and jumping out, the platoon, working in sections, began to cross the flat country lying between the front line and the gully. They immediately came under heavy machine gun and shrapnel fire. Lieutenant Collin, who had heard the countermanding order, had passed down the line to discover what was intended, and during his absence Sergeant-Major A. Marshall, seeing Freeman's platoon moving in front of him, gave orders for No. 12 Platoon to advance in sections, thus conforming with the general plan. No. 12 hopped out under this N.C.O's. command, and in turn was subjected to a heavy fire. The two platoons advanced with machine-like precision against a hail of lead until in short dashes they arrived within a few yards of the line recently captured. There they lay subjected to the full blast of concentrated fire, unable to get into the front line because it was already overcrowded, and without any orders to retire under cover.
It was not known until afterwards that some of the men in No. 11 Platoon, learning of the countermanding order after the advance began, started to retire in compliance with it, but some of the platoon advanced still farther, and two of them, Private Percy Toft and Sergeant Bob Hunter, 01. No. 12 Platoon, who had been the connecting link between the two platoons, entered the front line. In front of No. 12 Platoon, the men of which were ignorant of what way happening, the men in the line kept urging them to go back, as there was no room in the trench for them. The shortening of the enemy's range at this stage began to cause casualties, when suddenly Lieutenant Freeman arrived on the scene, wandering across the area as if there wasn't a Turk within a thousand miles. This intrepid officer calmly stood in the line of men stretched out across the open, until Marshall in a rage urged him to get down and not give the Turks the range. Freeman would not, but started to walk along the line telling the men to retire. With his departure the platoon, working in sections, made the journey back to the gully with the loss of but a few men.
In "The Story of Anzac", the Official Historian, Dr. C. E. W. Bean, says: "Some of the 15th were found retiring, not in panic, but apparently on some order. The 9th and 10th went in with them and formed the line in front."
Back in the gully the men began to sort themselves out.
Some twenty members of No. 12 Platoon came under the command of Lieutenant Frank Armstrong, of No. 9 Platoon, Lieutenant Collin took command of all the men around him, and Lieutenant Freeman wandered about the open for some time after the retirement collecting most of his own platoon and a few men belonging to other platoons. The men didn't care a rap whom they served under so long as they were at an officer's call, so some semblance of order was regained. The casualties in this mix-up are not known, but they were considerable. One of "C" company's wounded was the well known Private "Tiger" Henry.
The transportation of the wounded to the beach was in itself a nightmare, even when stretchers were available to carry the men, but when as in the case of Sergeant Little's platoon, the men were detailed off to carry wounded by means of an oil sheet the task was a tremendous one. The wounded lay everywhere and as it was essential to get them out of the exposed area as swiftly as possible, oil sheets had to be used. The case of two men's journey-Privates Ralf Reid and Wally Mant - will give some idea of the difficulties associated with carrying of a helpless man upon an oil sheet. Reid and Mant were given a very badly wounded man, and starting on their journey, sliding and slipping down the steep hillside, their hands continually cramping from the insecure hold upon the corners of the sheet, the heavy shrapnel fire continuously bursting above them, and the persistent urge to halt-if only for a few seconds so as to ease the cramp in their hands made the journey one long agony. The two men had not even the satisfaction of afterwards knowing that the man lived, far he flied a few moments after they arrived upon the beach. No praise can be too great for the work of the regimental doctors and their medical staff, including the company stretcher-bearers, on this afternoon. Doctors Luther (15th) and Butler (9th) were both, at various times, in the front line attending the wounded, but it was the remarkable coolness of these two men wandering across the open and succouring the wounded lying exposed to the enemy's fire that awoke within the men a feeling of admiration and instilled a confidence into the fighting men that whatever befell them, aid would always be at hand.
During the Monday night, "B" and "D" Companies dug frantically so as to have as much cover as they could by daybreak on Tuesday morning. It was during the early part of the night a cry was heard continually coming from in front of "D" Company's position. So insistent became this call for help that a patrol was ordered out under Lance-Corporal J. Brooks. The men in the trench were rather dubious about cries such as these, for during the early night a voice had spoken to the men in the trench asking them in the best English to surrender. In one section held by "B" Company, it was stated some Turks approaching the position of the trench, and quite unaware that the company was there, stopped when halted by the English command, and turned and addressed the men in English. German officers had also been noticed during the day speaking to the Turks, and some of these officers are said to have daringly approached the line and called out in English to the lads holding it. So the sound of an English voice from No Man's Land was not an uncommon one. Brooks brought in a member of the 9th Battalion who had been lying wounded between the two forces since the Sunday.
Throughout the night of April 26, in other parts of the line, and in the vacant spaces directly behind the front line. badly wounded men were discovered. Behind the 3rd Brigade lines on the Razorback, in a small hollow in the ground, were a considerable number of the fallen whom the burial parties had not been able to reach. Among these a badly wounded man lay. This man's companion, who was in the front line immediately forward of this position, had constructed a rude shelter out of the bodies lying around, to shade his mate from the heat of the day. Two members of "G" Company, 15th Battalion, discovered the wounded man and, making a stretcher from their rifles and puttees, took him to the nearest dressing station. In front of Courtney's post where "A" Company men were scattered among a collection of various unit, two men were rescued some two hundred yards in front of the position. This rescue was effected by Private Joe Westaway and another man whose name has been forgotten. Westaway, who was a big man, and the other who was very small, started off in the direction of the cries, and the first wounded man they found was some six feet in height and heavily built at that. This chap coolly suggested that the two men should leave him where he was and rescue the other man instead. So they left the big man and walked on to the other chap who was of medium build. Westaway loaded his companion up with the smaller man and then went over to the big chap and carried him in.
During the late hours of Monday, April 26, to No. 10 Platoon under Lieut. Tom. Robertson which did not participate in the fighting upon the Razorback, but was in support to the troops holding the line behind Johnston's Jolly, came disaster. An officer, now believed to have been a German in the guise of an English Engineer Major, approached Lieut. Robertson, and asked him if he belonged to the 15th Battalion. Upon receiving an assurance that Robertson did, he then exclaimed: "Colonel Cannon said you were to go with me!" Suspecting nothing, Robertson detailed the number of men the "Major" required for the party and, leaving Sergeant S. L. Stormonth in charge of the remainder of the platoon, followed the stranger.
With no knowledge of the country, the party quite unsuspectingly passed through the front line into No Man's Land, and being shown a position were told to dig a line of trenches. The "Major" then left them and the lads, setting to work with a will, were down a little more than four feet by daylight. Some time after daylight, a Turk officer walked over to the trench and pointed out to the occupants that they were surrounded on three sides and had better surrender. Robertson said: "No!" and firing his revolver into the Turk, gave the order for his men to get back as quickly as possible. When the men started their run back they found nearly two hundred yards of country ahead of them. The enemy's machine guns opened fire, and seven men only managed to reach the Australian line. Robertson's tall foam was last seen to dodge behind a clump of bush, where he stopped and turned as if to see how his men were faring. The seven men who survived the trap were Corporal W. H. Nicholls, Privates Stan Cousens, H. Cooper, A. J. Small, R. T. Owens, H. L. L. Smith (who was badly wounded), and F. J. Merrell, who had an astonishing escape from death. Merrell had a bandolier slung across his back, and when half-way home a machine-gun bullet struck the bandolier, and cartridge after cartridge exploded, luckily inflicting only slight injuries. Two of these men, Corporal Nicholls (who was afterwards killed in France), and Private Jack Merrell, were to receive their commissions at a later date.
HLL Smith, who was shockingly wounded in this retirement, with a bullet in each thigh, a smashed shoulder and a bullet through the lungs, forwards the following, version of what happened. The other version was supplied by Stormonth, who stated he was with Robertson when the order arrived, and the other details were supplied to him by Nicholls and others, after the incident:
"About dusk on the night of 26/4/15, Mr. Robertson and 23 volunteers were asked to go cut on outpost duty, and were taken cut to the position by a Staff Officer - a big, stoutly built, florid, light hearted man. When just in front of our lines I overhead Mr. Robertson ask: 'Is this an order from H.Q.?' and the Staff Officer replied, 'Yes,' and then proceeded to take us out. We went out to the S.E. edge of Johnstone's Jolly, overlooking Legge Valley, and dug a shallow circular trench around a small rocky knoll, just over the edge of the Jolly. I should say from memory, about eight feet below the level of the Jolly. We stayed there that night, and waited till daylight, when we were supposed to be relieved, but no one came. In the meantime we had been exchanging shots with Turks on our left front, and had been getting the best of it. The Turks then opened up with a couple of machine guns from about opposite to us, and this kept our head's down, but did eat step some of the men from the back of the knoll spotting a company of Turks advancing up Legge Valley on our left. Still covered by intense machine-gun fire, the enemy advanced until opposite and just below us, and spread out in a half-moon shape, when the machine-gun fire stopped, A Turkish officer jumped up level with us and called upon Mr. Robertson to surrender. Now, while keeping low under the intense machine-gunfire, Mr. Robertson had summed up the position, and he told us we were in a tight corner, and that when the machine-guns stopped, to fire three rounds rapid at the enemy and then bolt for our lines. If any man dropped two men were to pick him up and take him to safety. When the Turk officer called upon Mr. Robertson to surrender, he said: 'Surrender be damned,' and shot the Turk Officer with his revolver. Then hell broke loose, and as we had to climb up the slope we were exposed to the enemy machine guns as well as rifle fire. We temporarily checked the enemy when we opened fire, but not for long, and most of us were either killed or wounded. I do not think Mr. Robertson ever left the trench alive, but whatever happened he certainly did not get anywhere near the line."
Anyone who recalls the front line to the right of Courtney's Ridge on the Monday night will remember the ridiculous orders that were continually passing from mouth to mouth throughout the whole line. Such messages as the British force at the southernmost point of the peninsula had gained considerable ground and was actually to our front, or the message that this force was about to attack and so that no accident should occur, all magazines were to be emptied and bayonets alone fixed, and whatever we did we were not to fire under any consideration, and the many of-her orders which, unfortunately in so me instances, were obeyed. It was not, however, until about 2 a.m. that an order which appeared authentic came along the line. This order read: "No orders to be taken notice of except those actually written by the officer commanding." About 4 o'clock rumour had it an interpreter was caught speaking to the enemy and he was to be tried and shot at daylight. Whether this was true or not we did not learn, but the continuance of the stream of orders ceased about this time.
Monday night had been a scene of activity throughout the whole front. On Courtney's and Steele's Post sectors attacks had been launched by the Turks, none of which seriously menaced our men, but on the Razorback information had leaked through that the Turks intended attacking in force at daylight. The "C" Company men, under Lieutenant Frank Armstrong, had been utilised constructing saps towards the front line from the head of the Gully. These men were down some four feet or more by daylight, but in places the trench was so shallow that it afforded no cover whatsoever. With the break of day, this party came under heavy enfilading shrapnel fire, and Armstrong had the perilous job of conducting his men from the position they were in back to the Gully with its shelter in the overhanging banks. After the loss of some eight men this was done. But, with the front line men, daylight found them in shallow trenches and subject to a partial enfilading fire from shrapnel and machine-guns. It was evident that the Turks did not know exactly where the earthworks were. Small scrubby trees were plentiful, but on "B" Company's left front was a clearing about a quarter of an acre in size. Across the Gully on this front the country rose again to another height, and in this area was the Turk. During the day the whole peninsula was subjected to an intense bombardment, consisting mainly of shrapnel, though high explosive was used by the two Naval vessels, "Goeben" and "Breslau," which were participating in the battle from the Asiatic side of the Peninsula and whose shells, coming from a long distance, were easily distinguishable from those of the guns nearer to hand. In Shrapnel Gully shells burst continuously. Just on sunset the expected attack took place upon the whole front. Bugles commenced blowing and, with the evident intention of deceiving our men, the Turkish buglers played the various calls of the British Army-most of them quite incorrectly - and, to the astounded troops listening to the musicians, such a call as "Come To The Cookhouse Door" was mixed up with the "Reveille" and the "Charge."
Captain Frank Moran, who throughout this day had displayed such courage and shown such consideration for his men that he became widely known as "the little mother," warned his men not to fire until the Turks were close to them. So well did the men under his command obey his orders that a Turk actually stood upon the parapet exclaiming, "Me Injun' " before he gave the order for battle. Into the dense mass of Turks the men opened fire. Machine-guns joined in and the guns of H.M.S. "Orion," standing close in under the lee of the land, opened fire with shrapnel at close range. The attack faded away along the whole front; and when calculations were afterwards made it was estimated that over 3,000 Turks were lost in the engagement.
It was during this Tuesday (April 27), when the bombardment of the Peninsula was at its height, that Captain Jack Walsh met his death. Tireless and cool under the most trying circumstances, he gave inspiration and initiative to all with whom he came into contact. On this afternoon, with field glasses to his eyes and in the company of Lieutenant Sampson, he was attempting to locate an enemy machinegun that was causing a number of casualties among his men, when a sniper's bullet passed through the right lens and penetrated his brain. Captain Walsh was promoted to Major a short time before his death, and was one of the gallant leaders who, falling early in the fight, has received practically no recognition for his work. There was not a member of his company who did not feel that his name should have been perpetuated in the Post he had done so much to construct. Although his active service life was but a few days, the men who served under him vividly recall him to their minds as one of the finest company commanders the 15th Battalion ever had. He was a combative leader, and contained in his rather slim form that essential driving force that compels men to give of their utmost, even when at the last stage of physical and mental exhaustion.
It was after the death of Walsh that some 16th Battalion men, commanded by Major V. F. B. Carter and Lieutenant Mountain, came to the post. Unfortunately, both of these officers were killed within twenty-four hours and were buried in the same grave as Major Walsh, Private Paddy Byrne and another 15th Battalion man, Sampson, reading the burial c service over the grave. Before leaving the post, it is necessary to make reference to two of the men who did considerable work during its construction the two Byrnes. They were both Englishmen but, not as many thought, brothers, Paddy Byrne had proved himself as a daring and resourceful soldier, besides being a willing and energetic worker during the entrenching. H. H. Byrne, better known as "Nosey," who died from his wounds on May 4, was the Sandow of the company, Byrne carted nine boxes of ammunition up from the beach to Courtney's on the Tuesday night. No mean feat this when the distance was practically a mile and the weight of each box 80 lb.
Amongst other men in this post were the two Danns - Sergeants Tom and Frank. Tom received his commission at a later stage with the Battalion. He was wounded three times on the Peninsula when with the 15th, and twice in Flanders when serving with another unit. Frank was wounded on the Peninsula and finally lost his life with the unit at Pozieres. Another member of the post was old grumbling Fred Stacey, a South African and Matabele war veteran, whose continual grumbling quickly became a source of amusement to his friends. Then there was Lance-Corporal Keith Watson, who afterwards lost his life on Pope's Hill; Roy Tickner, who received his commission and lost his life with another unit in France; A. T. Wertheimer, who also obtained a commission and lost his life with the 12th Battalion on Broodseinde Ridge; Jack Fleet, a D.C.M, and French Medal Militaire winner; the tall Belgian, F. G. J. M. Dubios, who lost his life in August; Paddy Lennan, who gave his life for his friends at Gueudecourt in France; Corporal Vidgen commissioned at a later date and killed in August; J. P. N. Price, the inveterate sniper, who bagged many a Turk until a Turk bagged him; and the well-known Lance-Corporal "Scotty" Wright, who, with Staff-Sergeant-Major Corbett, received the first D.C.M. in the Battalion. All these men worked like Trojans and, when relieved on the Thursday by the Royal Marines Light Infantry, left the trenches they had built some five feet deep, with firesteps and rude shelters - a position which in time became almost impregnable.
On Wednesday, April 28th, an effort was made to bring all the stray men from the various units back under their proper commands. Slips of paper were sent along the front lines, and to them the names of first one unit, then another. were applied until the exact number of each battalion was known. Word was then passed along for the different units to filter out of the system of trenches to stated collecting Points. The men of the Razorback were to gather on the beach and, to some of "A" Company at Courtney's and Steele's Posts similar instructions were sent. The "A" Company men who did journey to the beach were immediately chased back to the line by the beach officers, who would not listen to what the men said. "C" Company came out under their own leaders and remained on the beach for the night. "B" Company also filtered out along with " D." Privates P. Toft and S. M. Bentzon, of "C" Company, failed to locate "C" upon the beach and passed up the Gully to Pope's Hill with "D" Company. Two members of "D" Company whose work upon the Razorback is worthy of mention were Bugler H. G. Richards and Private (afterwards Sergeant) E. C. Williams. Richards had proved himself the Gunga Din of "D" Company and throughout the Monday night, all Tuesday and most of Wednesday had run the gauntlet of enemy fire over and over again getting ammunition, water and food for the men in the line. This was no mean feat when it is realised that most of the country Richards covered was being swept continually by machine- gun and shrapnel fire. Williams was wounded by a bullet hitting him right on the bald patch in his head. On the Wednesday he was wounded again with a shrapnel pellet in the arm. With his head bandaged and his arm in a sling, he still carried on until he got a third wound a week later at Quinn's Post which finally put him out of action. The last wound was also in the head.
When Lieutenants Casey and Sampson took their platoons out of Courtney's to join up with the rest of the Battalion, to the astonishment of No. 2 Platoon, they were ordered to line a ridge east of Colonel Monash's headquarters to protect the Colonel and his staff from a suspected Turk attack through the portion of the line known as Bloody Angle, next to Quinn's.
The Battalion, less Captain Hugh Quinn's "C" Company, and one platoon of "B" Company under the command of Lieutenant Dickinson, took over the front line on Pope's Hill and Russell's Top on May 1. That night it was learnt an attack would be launched upon the Turk position on the following day, Sunday. In all attacks made by the Australian troops upon Gallipoli Peninsula, one factor alone was essential for success-surprise. Once that element was lost it was a waste of good lives. No example is more striking than that of "D" Company's charge from Russell's Top, unless it be the Hill 60 fiasco at the end of August or the disastrous Bullecourt slaughter in France in 1917.
In this attack, the first to be made from the 4th Brigade's lines, which then included Russell's Top, Pope's Hill, Quinn's Post, Courtney's and Steele's Posts, scenes of the fiercest fighting during the first month of Gallipoli, only "D" Company of the 15th Battalion was engaged. Between Pope's Hill and Quinn's Post ran a gully - a branch of Monash Valley - and into the fork of this ran a spur of Dead Man's Ridge, upon which the enemy was situated. The plan of attack was that the entire line should be pushed outwards so as to control this spur, thus depriving the Turk of his view into Monash Valley and Shrapnel Gully. This would allow movement up and down the gullies, free from the incessant sniping which continued throughout the greater part of the day. The three battalions which were to take part in the charge were the 16th under Colonel Pope, upon the right of the advance, the 13th under Colonel Burnage, in the centre, and the Otago Battalion under Colonel Moore, upon the left flank. "D" Company of the 15th Battalion was attached to the Otago Battalion. The charge was timed for 7 p.m.
Before the charge took place the Battalion suffered quite a number of casualties while merely holding the line. Among the first to fall was Major Eccles Snowden. This left Captain H. C. Davies in command. Captain Frank Moran, of "B" Company, was hit in the knee by a sniper's bullet. Despite this wound he carried on and, though in considerable pain, he hobbled the length of his trench munching a biscuit and instructing his men to keep their heads down. Another "B" Company officer, Lieutenant Snartt, became a casualty shortly after Moran.
Among the others who were hit was Bentzon, of "C" Company, who got a bullet in the brain. Bentzon was a good linguist and spoke French like a native. He had lived in France for years and would have been invaluable to us on the Western Front.
When the Otago Battalion, which had been seriously delayed, got into position for the charge, the 13th and 16th Battalions had secured their objectives. As it was now too late to do otherwise than attempt to connect up with the left of the 13th Battalion the order was given for the New Zealanders to go over immediately. All the elements of surprise had long since been lost, for the cannonade accompanying the fight the 16th and 13th were waging, was sufficient to awaken the dead. It was then almost 8 p.m. The Otago men, who were in full kit, found difficulty in getting out of the trench, and the men of the 15th gave them a leg over. When the first New Zealand platoon stood upon the parapet, the Turks opened out with machine gun and rifle fire and many of the attackers fell back into the trench. The rest disappeared towards the Turkish line. Then platoon after platoon leapt out and with each successive wave the intensity of the enemy's fire increased to such an extent that by the time No. 12 platoon topped the parapet there was a continuous hail of lead. The trench was choked full of dead and dying men and it was almost impossible to move.
During the whole time Captain Davies sat unconcernedly upon the parapet, exposed to the full blast of the Turkish fire, and yet was not even scratched. But, when "D" Company was given the order to charge, he rose to his feet, gave the order, and immediately fell back into the trench with a bullet through his ankle. That finished his service with the 15th.
Lieutenant A. B. Fenton, writing of this engagement, says
"In front of the trenches at Pope's Hill there was a gradual slope up to a fairly high ridge covered with bushes. We got orders to stand up in the trench so that a New Zealand Battalion could step onto our boors and pass over the trench. They were going to attack the ridge in front.
"After the New Zealanders had crossed over and gone on, Lieutenant Good came along the top of the trench and said: `Come on, you men.' We all climbed out and followed him, but what with the darkness and the bushes we got scattered. I came across Lieutenant Douglas wounded in the neck, and took off his equipment and bandaged his wound. At that moment Sergeant Corrigan came on the scene. Douglas said, `You take charge now, Corrigan.' Douglas went back and was hit in the hand on the way down. After Douglas had gone, a number of us gathered around Corrigan, but no one, not even he (Corrigan), knew what we were there for. We were all more or less arguing when a voice in the darkness said, `Do you want someone to lead you?' Corrigan asked `Who are you?' He got the reply: `Jock McCarthy, of the Otagos.' Someone vouching for the truthfulness of the statement, some twenty or more of us followed him up to the top of the ridge. When he called out `Charge!' we all let out a blood-curdling yell, and the Turk poured a withering fire into us. We were right on their trenches. Men all around me fell, including Corrigan, and, thinking they had all gone west, I went back to our old trench.
"On arrival there I found the trench full of men, and from the top of the trench I called out: `Is there an officer here?' A voice answered, `Yes.' I told him that out on the ridge were a lot of men, without either officer or an N.C.O. and no one knew what to do. He then said: `I'm a machine-gun officer and I don't know what's to be done.' He rather nettled me by asking: `What did you come back for? Why didn't you stay with the others?' I replied: `If you think I ran away come with me and I'll show you where to put your machine-gun.' He asked: `Where?' And was told in the b … Turks' trench. Someone then said: `If you will lead us out we will go with you.' So, getting the 40 or 50 New Zealand and 15th Battalion men together, we got out of the trench and went back to the ridge.
"In the meantime a company of the 13th Battalion had also got on to the ridge. I explained to the 13th officer who we were and asked for orders. He gave instructions to extend the left flank and dig in, which we did. Greatly to my delight and relief. Corrigan came along. He had not been hit as I thought, but when the Turks opened fire he had thrown himself down.
"By daylight we had dug a fairly good line of trenches on the crest of the ridge, but during the day the Turks began to come along a deep gully on our left flank which was in the air, and started to move in behind us. Despite a number of messages which Corrigan sent back for something to be done to help us, no not ice was taken, and, during the afternoon, we all got out of it. That night the Turks occupied our trenches and looked right down on our position at Pope's."
The failure to link up the left flank compelled the retirement a day later of the 16th and 13th Battalions and a number of R.M.L.I. from the precarious positions they had secured and held on to only after the most desperate fight.
The retirement of the R.M.L.I., however, was a bit premature.
There were in this unit a number of exceptionally young lads who, immediately upon the beginning of their retirement, became a bit flustered. The 15th Battalion, holding the Pope's Hill line, however, stuck it out. It was during the course of this retirement that Captain Willis and other officers, together with Colonel Cannon, passed through the trenches encouraging the men to remain firm. During this operation, Captain Willis was hit through the neck and killed. Lieutenant Kessel, who had passed through with Willis, went to the machine post commanded by Staff Sergeant Corbett and had barely reached the post when he got the wound from which he died later on in Egypt. It is impossible to pass over the operations from Pope's Hill without making reference to the stretcher-bearers. Doctor Luther, who was as hard worked in those early days as any member in the unit, found time to scribble a few lines in a little diary found upon his body after his death. "The bearers were wonderful and did the work of a hundred men," he recorded. It was estimated that over 250 cases were handled by the 15th stretcher-bearers during the fighting. Among the bearers were Jack Hypes, Corporal Keith Murray, J. E. Hammans. G. E. Gower, W. F. Stevenson, W. P. Darby and Moles, Rubonison and McKenzie. Luther knew the strain his men had been under and, when the Battalion was relieved from the front line and was bivouacking in Rest Valley, he gave them permission on May 4 to go down to the beach for a swim. On their return from the swim two shrapnel shells burst among them and two of the bearers were wounded and there were 14 casualties among a number of men nearby.
On May 4 two reinforcement officers with 50 other ranks reported for duty. The officers were Lieutenants E. G. Wareham and H. C. Heron. Lieutenant Sam Harry was appointed Acting Captain and Adjutant at this time in lieu of Captain Willie (killed), Among other "A" Company casualties was a young Victorian, Lance-Corporal C. Kauffman. Privates W. F. Perkins and L. W. Mazlin were among those who also gave their lives. Lance-Corporal Keith Watson, one of the most popular young fellows in "A" Company, also got a wound which resulted in his death. Others wounded included Privates E. W. Tilley, M. Hewitz, Frank Dann, J'. R. ("Scotty") Taylor, D. Robertson, W. Archibald, F. A. Brace. G. Brindell and G. H. Busby. Sergeant Fred Hanley, writing of the death of Watson, says: "This young chap was standing in the trench talking to Lieutenant B. Sampson. `Nosey' Byrne and I were sitting behind the parades. I heard the young chap say to Sampson: `When this war is over I am going to China. I have an uncle there.' He had just said that when he was hit. They passed him over the parades and `Nosey' took him in his arms and ran with him to Dr. Luther. He died on the way, for the jugular vein was severed." Byrne, who was hit the day after Watson's death, was struck in the hip. He died from the wound shortly afterwards. It was not until May 5 that the Battalion was to operate again as a complete unit. The losses in the charge from Pope's Hill had practically wiped out "D" Company, there being but two officers left - Lieuts. J. A. Good and A. G. Hinman. "A" Company still had three officers - Lieuts. Casey, Svensen and 2nd Lieut. B. Sampson. "B" Company was in the worst state. Included in its losses were Captain Richardson (wounded), Captain Moran (wounded), Lieutenant Waters (killed), and Lieutenants Snartt and Dickinson (wounded)-the last named being wounded in the interim at Quinn's Post. This company's one original officer, Lieutenant J. Hill, had not landed, being aboard the "Australind" in charge of the unit's transport. "C" Company lost two officers killed-Lieutenants Freeman and Robertson-and the second in command, Captain Cyril Corner, was wounded. Pope's Hill had proved rather disastrous to the little coterie of Englishmen in "A" Company, who circled around the ex-lecturer of an English University, Private A. B. Blagden. Blagden was a very popular man of considerable knowledge. He was the first of these men to be wounded and afterwards, on his return to the unit, he accepted in Egypt a commission in an English regiment. Private A. B. Roberts, another member of this group, was the son of a Welsh clergyman and had been associated in a minor capacity at one stage of his career with the New York Stock Exchange. He lost his life at Pozieres in 1916. Private A. C. Hammond was a son of an English clergyman and was wounded the day after his two friends were hit.
In the official History of Australia in the Great War, Vol. 1, "The Story of Anzac," by C. E. W. Bean, the strength of the Brigade is recorded by General Monash as follows:
The above figures for the 15th Battalion did not include Headquarters Staff, consisting of Lieut.-Colonel J. M. Cannan, Lieut. F. Craig (Q.M.), and Lieut. N. O'Brien, Sig. Officer. Besides Lieut. J. Hill aboard the "Australind" there were also aboard the ships off the coast Captain H. Cannan of "A" Company and Lieut. Platt, 1st Reinforcements.
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