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Thursday, 21 January 2010
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 11 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 11
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 11
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 11 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.
KB15 25/4/15 AAA
At 10.30 am Sixth and Seventh Bns were under accurate shrapnel fire from two or three guns AAA Location perhaps just south of Kojadere AAA These same guns have occasionally searched the valleys behind the firing line
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 12 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 12
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 12
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 12 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.
KB15 25/4/15 AAA
At 10.30 am Sixth and Seventh Bns were under accurate shrapnel fire from two or three guns AAA Location perhaps just south of Kojadere AAA These same guns have occasionally searched the valleys behind the firing line
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
10th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account
10th Battalion at their bivouac in April1915
Kearney, R., Silent voices: the story of the 10th Battalion AIF in Australia, Egypt, Gallipoli, France and Belgium during the Great War 1914-1918, Sydney, 2005, pp. 79 - 94.
Go Like Hell
The First To Land 25 April 1915
At 1 AM ON 25 APRIL. 1915, the battleships and destroyers stopped on the se; between Imbros and the peninsula; they were now less than 20 kilometres from the small cove where in just a few hours the legend of Anzac would be born. It was almost time to move and everyone knew that shortly they'd be given the order to begin climbing down the ropes to transfer from the ship to the small rowing boats alongside.
Knowing how busy he and his medics would be after they landed, Dr Harry Nott, the medical officer, had taken the opportunity to sleep while he could. He correctly presumed that after this night, sleep for the men and especially him, would become an uncommon luxury:
I was wakened at 12.45 am on 25 April 1915, put on my equipment and had a hurried meal in the ward room; and then proceeded to my station with the stretcher-hearers. There was some delay, but eventually we f led down a wooden gangway, constructed for the purpose temporarily, into small open boats. In the boat also were Capt. Shaw and about 8 “C” Coy. men, besides my stretcher-bearers. At the last minute, a lot of picks, shovels and sandbags were bundled into the boat. When all the men were settled in the boats, we were towed away into the darkness by small steam pinnaces; and I can remember just seeing in the gloom similar strings of boats on each side of us, and hear the faint thug-thug of the pinnaces.
By 2.35 am all boats were full and they commenced to drop back into their Positions behind the small steamboats that would tow them towards the shore. The moon didn't sink until 3 am and up until the time it did, the men could just make out above the water line the forbidding silhouette of the peninsula and the hills With no ambient light and the moon completely gone, the stars flickering brightly in the ebony sky would have reminded some of the men, particularly the drovers, of the many peaceful nights spent lying in their swags up at the brilliant outback sky.
At 3.30 am the ships stopped and the order was given for the tows to go ahead. As the tows moved forward into the black void, the men, listening intently, could hear only the soft chugging of the steamboat ahead, their hearts pounding, and the occasional slap of a wave as it hit the side of the boat. In his diary, Dr Nott describes his thoughts and the tension in the boat:
Occasionally we slid passed the shadowy outline o some large vessel, 1 was silting in the bow of our boat with Capt. Shaw and we sat there for hours it seemed, occasionally exchanging a few whispered words; every now and then glancing back veer our shoulders; but we could see nothing in the darkness, except he outline of the pinnace touring us. As we neared the shore, the first glimmer of dawn was appearing in the sky ahead of us; and then we saw the ringed clear-cut outline of the cliffs, and hills behind them. It seemed that we would never reach this line of cliffs-they appeared to be so close, but never got nearer. Then my most constant thought was Will we get ashore before it is light enough for the Turks to see us?' and we seemed to be creeping in beautifully, until crack! A single rifle report, and we knew we were seen. The first report was followed by 2 or 3 irregular shots and then a fusillade of reports began. We must have been some hundreds of yards from shore when the first shot broke the stillness of the dawn - because we seemed to sit in the boat for ages, with the little steam pinnaces ‘all out' towing their burdens ashore; while we listened to the irregular crackle of rifles, mixed with bursts of machine gun fire. Bullets were ‘zipping' into the water round the boat; and whirring away into the distance, as they ricocheted. We had all been gradually crouching, lower and lower into the boat, as the bullets got thicker and closer.'
The first faint glow of dawn came at around 4 am and some time shortly thereafter the steamboats cast off the tows. Dr Nott explains how his boat, now on its own, covered the remaining distance to the shore:
Then we were suddenly cast adrift by the pinnace, which swerved out of our onward path, as we-floated in with our impetus. Four men in the boat had been told off to the oars with instructions to pull hard for shore as soon as we were cast adrift; but for a few seconds, everyone in the boat seemed paralysed - but only for a few seconds, because we heard a faint cheer from down the beach somewhere, and that just broke the spell; the oars splashed into the water and the boat leapt towards the shore - a few strokes and we felt the boat ground, and we all jumped over the side into the water and scrambled ashore and lay flat on the sand, surrounded by similar prone forms.
Dr Nott went on to describe the confusion on the beach. From his report one gets a better understanding of how extraordinarily difficult it must have been for commanders at all levels to assemble their soldiers and get on with the mission:
I don't know what time it was, but the darkness was just fading and I could see men lying around me, while others were running about trying to find their platoons or companies. After a few minutes the crowd on the beach began to thin and the firing ceased, with the exception of a fete snipers who were still firing from somewhere along the cliffs to the left. I looked round for my bearers and collected four of them. It was then light enough to see one's way about, and we soon discovered some mounded men lying about on the beach; I dressed these as well as I could with first field dressings, and collected them as well as I could in groups.
For obvious reasons the practice on the battlefield was to try to separate the dead and wounded as quickly as possible:
By this tune it was light and boatloads of men were being towed in towards shore front the destroyers; a Turkish battery was firing on these boats and on the beach from Gaba Tepe, and the battleships were shelling this battery. Then I began to think about catching up the Btn. and collected three of my bearers, and they went up over ridges and down into gullies in the direction I thought the Btn. must have gone. I then realised what a mistake it was for an RMO to lose touch with his Btn - even to wait to dress wounded men.
Dr Nott realised that as part of the headquarters element he should have remained with them and left the wounded to be attended by the stretcher-bearers who were allotted to move with the platoons of each rifle company:
There was very little firing, and now, wounded men were coming back; but we eventually came to the top of a gully and found some wounded men who said we were holding the ridge in front and waiting for reinforcements; the units were all mixed up and I couldn't ascertain what Btn was in front of us; but I thought it a good place to establish a RAP (Regimental aid post) I had no medical equipment but did the best I could with first field dressings, and sending the wounded down to the beach in batches to help one another along. I sent two of my bearers forward to direct the casualties back to me and to bring any back the best way they could - all the stretchers had been left on the beach or in the boats.
After some hours of comparative quietness, the artillery and rifle fire suddenly increased dramatically. It wasn't long before a large number of wounded men made their own way; or were carried back over the ridge to where Dr Note and a couple of his stretcher-bearers had set up a temporary dressing station. Nott was shorthanded to say the least, especially since three of his bearers had got themselves lost during the landing.
I spent all day at the head of this gully, dressing wounded that straggled back, and sending them down to the beach in batches, sometimes in the charge of one of my bearers. towards evening one of my bearers came back from the beach and said he had seen Cpl. Davinett and some of the other bearers; so I went down to the beach to get them to bring up stretchers.'
After finding Corporal Davinett, Dr Nott sent him off to search for the lost stretcher-bearers, who as it turned out were some distance further along the beach. While waiting for Davinett to return with the lost bearers Nott met up with Captain Fry from the 3rd Field Ambulance; the pair sat down and shared their experiences to that point, as well as a tin of bully beef and a few biscuits. Corporal. Davinett and the bearers had not returned by dark so the doctor, after wandering about in the dark and getting lost in a gully, decided he desperately needed to sleep.
This wasn't easy because it was pretty cold and rained a little, and I had neither greatcoat or WP (waterproof) sheet. However, I got a little much-needed rest and as soon as it was daylight, I found my way back to the beach and found Cpl. Davinett, most of my hearers, my medical orderly and two of the AAMC (Australian Army Medical Corps) details.
Dr Nott, now reunited with his men, collected some stretchers and was heading back to the original dressing station he'd set up, when they met a soldier who gave them directions to find battalion headquarters. Failing to find the headquarters they decided to stop on the top of one of the gullies leading off what later became known as Monash Gully. After the soldiers in the gully informed him there was no medical officer in the area Dr Nott decided it was as good a place as any other and there set up a temporary regimental aid post. During the landing there were countless acts of heroism, many of which, as is the case in all battles, would have gone unreported. Private CP Green, having already safely reached the shelter of some rocks along the edge of the beach, turned and saw a wounded mate struggling in the surf and although the beach was under heavy fire, Green, without hesitation or consideration for his own safety; left his sheltered position and ran back over the exposed beach to his wounded mate. He raced into the water, reached the man and dragged him successfully to shelter. Private Green's actions were seen and reported and he was later awarded the Military Medal.
Lieutenant Eric Wilkes Talbot Smith and his scouts had been tasked to find and destroy a battery of Turkish guns as soon as they landed and so on the eve of the landing had sought out a cooperative navy gunner to give them expert tuition on the most efficient way to get the job done. The gun battery they were tasked to destroy was on a flat-topped hill near the objective, about a kilometre inland. Smith and his party of 32 scouts were scheduled to be among the first to land on the peninsula. Just before they landed, Smith recalled the brigade commander's explicit instructions, `No shooting before daylight.' He instructed his men to, `Fix bayonets! Load with five cartridges, cut-offs closed, safety catches out, nothing in chambers.' As soon as his party landed, Smith raced across the beach, climbed 27 metres up a scrub-covered slope and yelled, ‘10th Battalion scouts, are you ready?' He then called, `Come on boys, they can't hit you!' and led them into battle as the Turks above fired over their heads.'
The rest of Smith's story is told in a letter to his mother, written on 7 May 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel Weir:
Your son Eric died at his post bravely fighting for the Empire. He was among the first to land on, Sunday, April 25, at about 4.25 am. He had charge of the scouts, and went about his duty in a fearless manner. After he had done all that was possible with his scouts, he took charge of our machine guns, and was in the act of f ring one when he was wounded in the head. From the first we considered his wound would prove fatal, but he was taken aboard the hospital ship, and it was not until yesterday afternoon, when one of our wounded officers returned to duty, that I learned that Eric had passed away. I sincerely sympathise with you in your sad bereavement. Eric was a soldier who would most certainly have distinguished himself had he been spared. He proved of the greatest assistance during the training of the regiment at Mena. At Morphettville he had charge of the training of the Battalion scouts, whom lie handled most skilfully. I was in close touch with him on the evening before we loaded. He prepared some plans for me, little dreaming that we were to lose nearly half our Battalion during the first twenty-four hours of the landing.
More about Eric Smith is revealed in the official despatch issued from the Royal Military College Duntroon by order of Colonel Parnell CMG. Commandant:
Dear Capt. Ross-Re Lieut Talbot Smith,
He was about the first to land, and was in charge of the Bn Scouts. When scouting became impossible he took up his duty on the machine guns, and was working the same when he was wounded by shrapnel in the temple. The five men, who were on the gun with him were either wounded or killed, but he bravely stuck to his post and fired his gun until thus severely wounded. He was laid at the back of the gun by Sgt.-Major Sawer, who thought that Smith was dead. This all happened in the afternoon of Sunday, April 25. On Monday morning it was discovered that Smith was still alive. He was then removed to the beach and thence to one of the hospital ships, but his injuries were so dreadful that his recovery was beyond human aid, and he gradually sank and died. I don't know for certain the date, but I believe it was April 27. Lieut. Talbot Smith was a splendid officer, most capable and energetic, brave and resourceful. As a scout, during our manoeuvres at Mersa, he furnished me with splendid information and sketches. I miss Lieut. Talbot Smith very much indeed. He had such a thorough knowledge of military subjects that he was always chosen to fill any emergency gap. He was in turn, assistant adjutant, scoutmaster, machine gun officer, and platoon commander. Yours faithfully (Signed) S. Price-Weir Col"
In fact, Lieutenant Smith was taken to Alexandria, and died there on 30 April, two days after his 23rd birthday. Returned soldiers later said he and his scouts captured several Krupp guns. They also said he was very popular with his men and `he would have been alright if he'd retired when he was first wounded, he deserved a VC if ever anyone did." 1172 Bugler Herbert Alexander Bartholomaeus wrote home from Gallipoli:
He was as brave an as one could meet. If you had only been here to see him lead a charge, you would have thought the same. He was simply wonderful, and it did our hearts good to be with a man like that. "
In another letter home sonic time later, Bugler Bartholomaeus Wrote M Lieutenant Smith, `I was right alongside him. He shouted, "Come on Australians; give them the bayonet. That's all they want," and we charged up the hill, but when we reached the top the Turks hadn't waited for its.'"
Private: Arthur Blackburn and his `old tent mate' Phillip Robin distinguished themselves can the first clay of the landing by penetrating further inland and coming closer to the objective of the Gallipoli expedition than any other Australian or Allied troops throughout the entire campaign. The pair were with the battalion scouts and after transferring from the Prince of Wales were in the prow of one of the early boats to land. Their orders were simple but very clear 'When you get out of the boat, go like hell for Third Ridge.
After reaching the shore they scrambled through the scrub and 'go like hell' they did, winding their way inland all the way to and even past Scrubby Knoll, the main objective. Later, Private Blackburn describing his landing in a letter to his brother, wrote:
The beach was very rocky and it was not the easiest thing on earth to clamber over big slippery rocks. All this time bullets were whizzing all around us and men were falling here and there. I rushed across the shore to the shelter of a small bank and there shed my pack and fixed my bayonet then straight on to drive the beggars away. The way our chaps went at it was sight for the gods; no one attempted to fire but we just went straight on up the side of the cliff, pushing our way through thick scrub and often clambering up the steep sides of the cliff on all fours."'
Scrubby Knoll was the most prominent point on Gun Ridge and 15 kilometre's (9 miles) to the northeast of the 400 Plateau, yet these two young scouts, having followed their orders to the letter and reaching the objective, were now alone. It was about 8 am and as the two men looked across to the east they saw the sun brilliantly reflecting off the shimmering waters of the Narrows. Finding no sign of enemy troops in the area they commenced to scout southwards around the knoll until suddenly they sighted a large group of Turks in a valley to the east. Being vastly outnumbered they wisely chose to about-turn and move swiftly back over the ridge before carefully making their way back to the battalion area on the 400 Plateau.
Another man who exhibited great courage was Lieutenant Noel Medway Loutit who, seeing Bugler FT Broughton was mortally wounded, stopped and lifted him out of a boat although under fire himself. In 1980, Captain David Wilson, RAR, then adjutant of the 10th Battalion RSAR, interviewed Brigadier NM Loutit, DSO and Bar, ED. Recalling the events of the landing, Brigadier Loutit described the enemy rifle fire as severe, pointing out that tile Turks were using a nickel-coated bullet with a lead centre, causing 13e Australians to believe that the Turks were using explosive bullets. Loutit said during the interview that when the Turkish bullets hit, the lead drove through the nickel casing, which then created a small hole on entry but a much larger one on exit. Loutit reported having a man in his boat hit in the throat and said that the bullet tore out the whole back of his head. Once the firing commenced and men began to be hit, Loutit and his men jumped from the boat and found themselves in what he described as fairly deep water.
Fortunately, the men's packs were full of spare clothes and for this reason the packs managed to keep the men afloat. As soon as their feet touched the bottom the men ran ashore, dumped their packs and as they'd been ordered to move inland as quickly as possible, commenced to scramble up the slope.
Lieutenant Loutit distinguished himself later in the day by penetrating inland a great distance-for many years it was believed that he and his men had penetrated deeper than any other troops. Loutit had gallantly lead his party of 32 men to a point close to Gun Ridge and then, after leaving the main body in a tight defensive position on a knoll, he, Private Roy Ogilvie Fordham and an unidentified man went forward to another knoll. At the time Loutit thought this was Scrubby Knoll-they'd actually crossed from the 400 Plateau and arrived on a spur leading up to Third Ridge to the south of Blackburn and Robin's Position. Lieutenant Loutit, after coming under heavy fire returned to where he'd left Lieutenant JL Haig and his party of men.
It was approximately 9.30 am and the Turks were beginning to cross Third Ridge in great numbers. Loutit's group withdrew in an orderly fashion and without panic; however, during the last leg they had to outrun the Turks and both sides raced each other to the last foothill before crossing the Legge Valley. By around 10 am the Turks were swarming over Third Ridge like angry bull ants while Loutit and his party raced up Wire Gully under a hail of bullets and finally reached the main line on the 400 Plateau at around 11 am. By this time there were estimated to be around 2500-3000 Turks on Third Ridge.
Brigadier Loutit described the landing and the actions of the first day as a ‘guerrilla affair'. He was probably referring to the fact that during this disorganisation men simply banded together in small groups with men of other units and fought like crazy to stay alive. After telling David Wilson how he and his men captured four field guns at the top of Shrapnel Gully in a depression known as the Cup, he said:
Now this is a story I have not told many people: I had been ordered by Brand uhf appeared out of nowhere as usual), who was on his way back to the beach, to capture the Turkish, field guns by frontal attack. This I disagreed with and took other action attacking the gun position from the rear and shooting; the gun crews. Then proceeding to this position we shot and let loose about twenty horses we found in a stockyard.
The senior officers had drummed it into the men that if they failed as the covering force the entire operation would fail. They were told, `Whatever happens you must press on', and so they knew, no matter what the opposition, they had to keep moving forward. Loutit and his party pressed on and proceeded down Owen's Gully where they came across same Turkish tents with women's clothing in them and gardens around the front of each. This gives an indication of nor only how long the Turks had been there, but just how comfortable they'd made themselves.
Their lanterns here still lit as they had all fled. We pressed on to Scrubby Knoll and then up to Gun Ridge where rage could see the Narrows. The fire here was too heavy and retiring across Scrubby Knoll I lost twenty of the thirty-two men I had with me. The dozen of us spent the next four days out in front of the main positions before being relieved."
Lieutenant Loutit and his men, through sheer determination and courage had actually penetrated all the way to a spur running off Third Ridge, but from his position on the spur could not have sighted the Narrows. He and his party had actually climbed a spur line leading up to Scrubby Knoll where, unknown to him at the time, there were two false crests. Moving along this spur, he passed the first false crest and after climbing a further 275 metres (300 yards) and almost to the top of the second crest, he saw through a sharp dip in the ridgeline the shining waters of what appeared to him to be the Narrows. On such a prominent point it wasn't long before the Turks Spotted the Australians and opened fire. Thinking he'd sighted the water of the Narrows and still without support. Loutit wisely withdrew.
CEW Bean, during his visit after the war, walked over Loutit's route and also saw the shining waters, precisely as Loutit had described it. However, it was not the waters of the Narrows but a stunning ‘view of the Straits about Kilia Liman'.
Until 1934 it had generally been conceded that Lieutenant NM Loutit and Private Fordham had reached the farthest inland point but now with this new evidence, Bean later wrote in reference to Privates Blackburn and Robin: ‘So these two men came closer even than their three comrades of the 10th, closer, so far as we know, to any other soldier of the Allies, to the objective of the Gallipoli Expedition'.
After the war, in reference to which group penetrated the farthest inland, Arthur Blackburn VC said:
All that I have done is to supply Dr Bean, at his request, with charts and descriptions and the course that Phil Robin and I took after leaping from the boats at dawn on April 25, 1915. I do not know precisely now far we or anyone else went, and a statement as to who went farthest to Gallipoli is Dr Bean's responsibility based on information which he gathered from myself, other men, and official documents.
638 Private Phillip de Quetteville Robin attended the Collegiate School of Saint Peter between 1897-1900. He left school early after demonstrating remarkable skill and ability as an Australian Rules football player and in 1905 played his first game for the Norwood Football Club against fort Adelaide. For five years before enlisting he worked at the Bank of Adelaide as an accountant at the Murray Bridge branch. In 1907 he won the prestigious silver Magarey Medal as the best and fairest Australian Rules football player in South Australia. His brilliant form in the 1908 football season ensured his name was known throughout Australia. In 1909 he was chosen to play for South Australia and held his position until enlisting with the battalion in 1914.
Sadly, 30-year-old Private Phillip Robin was killed three days after the landing; he was promoted posthumously to lance corporal. In November 1915, only seven months after Phillip was killed, his young widow; Nellie Robin, died in England. The cost for the Robin family during the Great War was indeed high, for on 29 June 1916 one of Phillip's cousins, 2180 Corporal Arthur Mervyn Robin of the 7th Battalion, was killed at Messines and then in July 1916, another cousin, 329 Sergeant Geoffrey de Quetteville Robin of the 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion, was killed in action at Fromelles. In February of 1917 yet another of Phillip's cousins, Lieutenant James Keeling Robin MC, was killed in action while serving with the 4th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery.
THE WRONG PLACE TO LAND
Sir Ian Hamilton later blamed the tows for failing to maintain direction and landing the troops more than 1,500 metres to the north of the site he'd selected. He admitted however, that being landed in the wrong place actually turned out to he a blessing in disguise, as the actual base of occupation had been much better defiladed from shell fire.''
Lieutenant Loutit has recorded that:
It was quite obvious we had come ashore at the wrong landing place because of the steep hill above the heath. The correct landing place was a flat beach with a fort on the southern end called Gaba Tepe. Both the beach and the water were heavily wired and it sloped gently all the way up to Gun Ridge. (Third Ridge). We would have been cut to pieces if we had landed in the right place.
Fifteen years after the landing, Major Miles Beevor, the officer commanding "A" Company, 10th Battalion at the time of the landing, described the navy's confusion over maintaining direction and what might have caused the troops to be landed in the wrong place. In his unpublished book, My Landing on Gallipoli, Beevor wrote that the night of 25 April 1915 was beautiful and calm with no wind. The moon was due to set well before sunrise. The landing, he wrote,
... was to be effected between the setting of the moon and daybreak. At that time appointed the Foxhound with the other destroyers set off at a quiet pace for the Gallipoli shore to the eastward, the destroyers moving line abreast.
At the time, Major Beevor was up on the bridge with the ship's captain, Lieutenant Commander WGA Shuttleworth, and believed the course they were sailing was due east. All appeared to be going as planned when the yeoman of signals came running up to the bridge with a message just received from the flagship. The message ordered the captain to alter his course to northeast. After the course was altered accordingly, Major Beevor noted that not all the destroyers altered their course simultaneously and this caused the line to buckle and become rather irregular:
Presently another signal came through to alter the course to S.E. again, the same thing happened, that is each destroyer altered course again as soon as the message reached its particular commander, which naturally was not at the same instant.
By this time, although the flotilla was still heading in the same direction, it seemed to Beevor they were not doing so in any particular order:
The explanation of this most unusual uncertainty and vacillation on the part of the Navy is explainable as follows: the landing place for the covering force (3rd Brigade) to the whole of the Australian and New Zealand Divisions was to be on the fairly open beach to the North of Gaba Tepe. As approach to the shore was made, the higher ground of Ari Burnu appeared in the faint light of the stars and the first suggestion of dawn to the NE, while Gaba Tepe was invisible, being a notable promontory but not very high.
Major Beevor felt the navy had mistaken Ari Burnu for Gaba Tepe, and as the latter should have been on their right as they approached the shore, course was altered to bring Ari Burnu on their right. As they came closer to the shore the navy realised its mistake and altered the course to southeast to rectify their error. It was soon discovered, however, that they were so close to the shore that this last alteration would not bring them to the correct landing site. It could have been the case that the navy actually thought the altered course would bring them back to the correct site for the landing, but whatever was thought remains a mystery to this day because shortly after the last alteration, yet another and final change of course to due east was ordered. Lieutenant Commander Shuttleworth was deeply concerned by all the changes, and after using his night glasses to the shore, handed the glasses to Beevor and in a very disturbed voice said to “Major, we are going to land you at the wrong place." Major Beevor, after taking a long look through Shuttleworth's glasses replied, “Yes, I see you are.”
A similar conversation was taking place in the boats between the flotilla commander, Commander Dix, and Lieutenant Colonel Weir. As the boats drew closer to the shoreline the commander was surprised to see, dead ahead of him, a high plateau with a round knoll approximately 60 metres high at the foot of it. `Tell the Colonel,' he shouted, `the damn fools have taken us a mile too far north:
Major Beevor recorded:
It may here he mentioned that we had for some time past been carefully studying contoured maps of the Gallipoli Peninsula, and so were familiar with what the eastern coast should look like. As Ari Burnu was now straight over our bows the mistake was obvious.
When the final course of due east was given, orders carne to increase the ships' speed to 25 knots. The destroyers were each towing lifeboats so that as the shore was approached the men could slip down from the deck into the boats, have their oars ready and the moment the destroyer stopped, pull as hard and as fast as possible for shore. It was planned that after the troops were landed on the beach, the sailors aboard each lifeboat would return the emptied boats to the destroyers in order to pick up more troops. Just prior to the order to increase speed, some of the men had already commenced loading into the boats. Despite the increased speed, the lifeboats, while empty, kept afloat, but those now carrying men were quickly swamped and the men were flung into the sea. Fortunately, the sea was calm. Beevor was immediately informed that a number of his men had been tossed into the sea and in turn he reported it to the ship's commander Lieutenant Commander Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth considered the matter for a couple of seconds and then turned to Beevor and said, “Major, it is hateful but I cannot stop to pick them up.” Beevor replied, “You are in command of your ship, Sir, and must do what you consider to be right.”
Major Beevor was in the second wave of boats to reach the beach and now bullets were splashing around the dinghy. He understood the Young Seaman's desire to get back aboard the Foxhound as quickly as his arms could pull the oars. Beevor hopped out and to his great surprise found himself in water up to his shoulder straps. The seaman, just as surprised to see only the Major's head and neck above the water, offered to stand by. Beevor ordered the young man back to the ship, took a few steps towards the beach but tripped over something under the water and sank. Knowing how much barbed wire the Turks had strung along the beach and under the water near the beach north of Gaba Tepe, he thought it was one such strand that had caused him to trip. He struggled to reach the surface but the weight of the water, together with his heavy pack and equipment, held him under.
I made another effort, without success, when ensued one of those quaint conversations, which one sometimes holds with oneself. I said to me, 'You can't get up.' I replied, "You've got to get up." Reply came, "You can’t." Promptly came the answer. "You have so nearly got ashore you can't stop at this.’ The query was then shot back at me, ‘Well if you can't walk hour is you going to get ashore?' To this there was the prompt answer, `Well, if you can't walk you'll have to damn well crawl.' Of course all of this occupied but some 10 or 15 seconds, and I promptly commenced to crawl, when very shortly I felt the water lighten above me and was them able to stand up, the water now being only about my hips. It must have been a strange experience for the young seaman to have, apparently, a strange monster suddenly emerge from the water almost under his nose, and such I must have looked with my equipment on and water splashing off me from my cap downwards.
The sailor had rested on his oars when Beevor disappeared and as soon as he resurfaced he asked Beevor, “Is that you, sir? I thought you were shot.” Beevor thanked him for his concern and again ordered him to return to the ship; this time the young man needed no further orders and promptly pulled on the oars.
Both my watches stopped at 22 minutes past 4 o'clock in the morning of the 25th April so I am well advised as to the exact time I got ashore on Gallipoli, and as my men were assembling some 150 yards to the North of me, and them was no-one for some distance to the South, I was the, first Australian ashore on this particular patch of the Peninsula.
A few minutes after landing Beevor sighted several figures making their way up the beach from the south. Thinking they might be Turkish snipers who had observed his men assembling and were moving closer before opening fire on the forming platoons, he crouched under cover, pulled out his .45 Webley revolver, shook the water out of it, and waited. When the figures came close enough for him to fire he jumped up and challenged them. To his surprise the figures answered, “Brigadier, 3rd Brigade, and staff.”
Orders for tile covering force had been worked out to cover every detail at each level of the brigade. Briefings were given to the men in each battalion, company, platoon and section, however, landing at a different site than that originally intended made the detailed orders almost entirely useless. when writing orders for a proposed attack, ambush, withdrawal, patrol or any type of military operation the responsible leader, normally an officer but often an NCO, will cover such topics as topography, situation, mission, execution, general outline, administration, logistics, command and communications.
The Brigade Commander, Brigadier General EG Sinclair-MacLagan, who was most naturally very disturbed to find all that good staff work gone by the board, grabbed me by the arm and said, “Beevor, we've landed in the wrong place!” This was not news to me, and I was very wet, which two circumstances no doubt contributed to the rather bored way in which I remember replying, “I know that Sir, I saw it from the ship, but as we are here now - my men are assembling a bit further up - will you give us orders what to do?"'
Under the circumstances Beevor's request seemed to be exactly what was needed at the time. A few years after the war he learned that while he was lying in wait for the supposed Turkish snipers, 1 Platoon “A” company under Lieutenant Loutit were forming up behind him. Apparently, the men of Loutit's platoon had spotted Beevor on the beach and a couple whispered to Loutit they could see a Turkish sniper just along the beach and had asked, `Please Sir, may we go down and bayonet the__?”
Fortunately for Beevor, Loutit was a strong leader and did not grant permission. He had made a decision that the immediate responsibility of assembling his platoon and having it in hand for the main business ahead was tar mart" important than dealing with a solitary sniper.
Later that day Dr Harry Nott set up an aid post immediately behind the tiring line in what was later to be named Monash Valley. From his diary one can almost feel the frustration and helplessness he experienced as a medical officer surrounded by so much death and destruction.
So all my knowledge of medical arrangements, as applied to the proposed landing, came out of the RAM Training Manual; e.g. that I was to keep in touch with Btn HQ and that my bearers would collect wounded and bring them to me at certain collecting posts, from whence they would be evacuated by ambulance bearers. This looked easy enough on paper, but I soon found out in the landing, that in practice it wasn't so simple."
When you go to visit, dear Comrade, please, do something sacred for me.
Will you stand in silence a moment and tell me what you see.
Will you listen for sounds of the battle, the voices of diggers at war,
and, seen with the mind of a soldier will you tell me what you saw?
Will you feel the deepest emotions, the agony and the despair
and all those tender feelings we knew that diggers share.
Will you then, if you can, dear Comrade, kneel down and bless hallowed earth.
Will you cry, quietly cry, dear Comrade; for all that you are worth.
And when you return to Australia recounting your story to me,
will you give me the time to remember, what happened at Gallipoli
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