Topic: Tk - Turkish Items
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
Halil Koc Account
Halil Koc from Canakkale-Haliloglu village was interviewed in 1981 as part of a Turkish Oral History project. He was a veteran of the 27th Infantry Regiment and on the beach at Anzac when the Australians arrived on 25 April 1915. The original item was first published on the Turkish Website called The Gallipoli Campaign. This is Ali Demirel's story.
Halil Koc from Canakkale-Haliloglu village
I was born in 1893. I am eighty-eight years old. I have fought in the Anzac Cove, Mus Front and Aleppo. At first, we were in Eceabat. Then we went to Gaba Tepe. The British ships came to Gaba Tepe. They left floats. Our men picked those floats. It was one week later the British came again. I was on my turn. It was towards morning. Whole Imbros was burning. I called the sergeants and officers. They all came.
The British began landings. Their battleships were on the sea. There were thousands of men landing on the Anzac Cove. My division was in Anzac Cove. I was on Gaba Tepe. We were looking down. We had four batteries. Our gunners were firing on them. I have seen many barges sunk during the landings. We have stayed on that slope for two or three days and then they have taken us.
They have commanded us to attack at 9 o’clock to Kanli Sirt (Quinn’s Post). As we arrived at Kanli Sirt, we saw thousands of dead men. We slipped down through them. We could see the enemy bayonets in their position. We were shooting to their trenches. All my friends had died there. Only I have remained. I thought, “I am going to be shot as well.” In that moment, probably I raised my head. Then a stone hit my head. It was my captain. He came and said, “if you can manage, just go.” I have left my rifle. The other soldiers helped me to go. I left. I have learnt that, the thing hit my head has not a stone but a piece of shrapnel. I was taken to Demetoka Hospital, in Biga. They had taken out that shrapnel piece. It has been sixty years. I stayed in the hospital for a month.
I have returned to Anzac Cove. I fought there for eight months. I was in the forts. The British dug tunnels, fired the trenches. Nothing happened to me.
We made many attacks. They were taking us out and commanding “Attack!”; “Bayonet Combat!”. We were fixing the bayonets the enemy positions were just twenty steps forward. Before you arrived at their trenches, they kill you. Where you could go? Enver Pasha commanded us to attack. He came there. I have seen him. He was the Minister of War.
In the Anzac Cove, Sefik Bey was our commander. He led us for nine months. There was also Major Kemal Bey. He has died soon. I was with the infantry. I was from 27th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Platoon, 9th Squad. I had a German Mauser rifle.
The enemy later landed on Suvla. We did not go there. Although the enemy assaulted us from all sides, they could pass. We hindered. I have stayed there for nine months.
One night, they have sent a friend of mine and me for reconnaissance... It was a very dark night. We went to enemy’s trenches. We listened to them... They language was like gibberish... While we were returning, we stepped on a dead body. His flask made a noise. With that noise the enemy began to fire on us. We could not have escaped. We found a shell hole and hid in it. Four or five hours later we could leave the hole. We could not find the position of 27th Regiment. We went on deployment with the 72nd Regiment. The enemy evacuated that night. We stayed there four more days and then they sent us to Kirklareli. I have gone to Eastern Front to fight against the Russians.
In Diyarbakir new forces were formed. I was drafted into 24th Regiment’s 3rd Division. Our commander was Suleyman Bey. We have arrived at Mus front. We took our positions. There were Russians against us. First they have attacked on us; next, we marched on them. We defeated them. It was a very hard war. As the Russian drew back, we followed them. In Mus, I volunteered as a machine gunner.
Hunger... Hunger... That was all... We ate the leather of our sandals. We ate what we have found. Horsemeat... Don’t ask dead or alive... We were taking fodder of the animals and eating it. There was nothing... What else could we eat?
There was an officer... Zeki Efendi. He was hungry. Everybody was starving. He said: “Give me some fodder.” He ate... His rank was lieutenant.
I was married before I went to the war. My wife is alive. Her name is Esma. I had two daughters and a son. One of my daughters has died. I have six grandchildren. My health is okay. I have neither a medal nor a salary.
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, Halil Koc Account