Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
The following is a diary entry from that written by John Gibson Pitt who served with the 8th Infantry Battalion and was part of the landing on 25 April 1915. This is the first hand impression of a man who landed that very day.
Sunday April 25th
Reveille 3 am. 7 transports here now and the number eventually increased considerably. Shrapnel and rifle fire all around the boats. 7.15 am. Embarked in destroyer, one boatload of our battalion went before we did. Transferred wounded and dead from destroyer to “Clan Mc”. H.M.S. “Triumph”, “Bacchante” etc bombarding fort and gun positions as hard as they can. Boats were lashed to the side of the destroyer so that their bottoms just skimmed the water and the men were able to get in them while she was going. When she had got as close to the shore as the depth of the water would allow her, she slowed down and the boats were released from her side, when Pinnace towed us in as far as they could and we rowed the rest, having to jump in the water, knee deep to land. The 3rd brigade were covering party and landed first. We formed up in platoons on the beach and forced our way through the thick and prickly scrub. There being another line in front of us, who had driven the Turks before them, we did not meet with a great deal of opposition, although we got the benefit of a good many bullets fired at the front line, and some shrapnel. When we got to the first ridge in land, we were ordered by Lieut Colonel Gartside to strengthen the line already established there and dig in as he considered that all our fellows out in front would have to retire there before night, as they had met with considerable forces of the enemy and were losing heavily. Tom Keddie and I dug in next to one another and then turned our attention on a very troublesome sniper on our left front, he moved about and we could not get a good shot at him as he was so hard to see in the thick scrub. He eventually got Tom K in the calf of the leg, the bullet must have passed over me , I was dug in deeper than he was. Bandaged him up and took him to the rear, he gave me his automatic. Our fellows in front were compelled to retire during the afternoon after losing very heavily, especially in officers. Entrenched as hard as we could at night, firing all night. Shrapnel did us the most damage, and we had no artillery on land, and the warships were of course at a disadvantage, although they did splendid work. The Turks made repeated attacks during the night but were always repulsed.
Monday April 26th
Artillery expected ashore today, warships still bombarding. Barney Allan shot through mouth. Wounded men everywhere, SB’s and doctors scarce. 12am. Casualties estimated at 4,000, 75% 8th battalion officers out of action, 60% dead, very sad. A.M.C out all night and did splendid work. Rejoined company on battalions left flank, made dug outs till 4pm, then went in trenches to help cover advance to be made on our left. They advanced and were repulsed time after time, shrapnel fire awful. Slight advance at last. The warships helped us considerably. Splendid shooting today. In trenches all night, several minor attacks. No sleep.
Tuesday April 27th
Our artillery will be in position today which should make a big difference. Enemy’s batteries all concealed. In trench all day, plenty of shooting, some marvellous escapes. Went to beach for water at dusk with Jim Price, we were just coming away carrying a tin full of water between us when he was mortally wounded. Sergeant Smith accidentally shot himself in the foot. Heard fighting all night, Jack Hutchinson shot dead 3 yards away from me, Didsbury wounded. Reinforcements expected tomorrow morning, God speed them, our casualties are very heavy. There forces against us said to be 54,000. Snipers very troublesome.
Wednesday April 28th
Very hot fire this morning, reinforcements arrived, but we are not relieved yet. A party went out to settle last night and caught 3. Comparatively quiet today. Gen Birdwood wishes every man to be awake all night, general attack expected but not delivered. A very cold night and a very long one. Had about 3 hours sleep since we landed.
924 Private John Gibson Pitt, a 20 year old Farm Labourer enlisted on 27 August 1914 with 8th Infantry Battalion, "H" Company. He embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 19 October 1914 and subsequently Returned to Australia, 15 September 1918.
Acknowledgement: The entry from this diary first appeared on the Great War Forum 22 February 2005. Special thanks to Julian Pitt for giving permission to allow his Grand Father's diary entry to be made available to this site.
Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, Pitt Account