Discussion in 'WWI (1914 - 1918)' started by Lone Pine, Dec 31, 2014.
14/12/15: Fatigues all day heavy bombardment of Cape Hellas.
15/12/15: Very easy day, only on fatigues. The shelling still continues at Cape Hellas. Great preparations are being made to evacuate ANZAC. Orders are issued that we are to observe a complete silent for 48 hours, not a short to be fired, although we are to keep a full and careful watch. We hope to mislead the Turks into believing that we are not there, as a try out for the real thing when we leave for good in a few days.
16/12/15: Very easy day very few fatigues, further preparations made to evacuate ANZAC. The firing line is absolutely silent not a shot has been fired for two days our silence has got the Turks thinking.
17/12/15: No fatigues during day, fatigues at night consist of loading the 4th Bn stored and carrying them to the beach and transferring them to the punts where they are ferried to the transports. Everything has greatly changed on the beach, huge piles of stores have either been transported or destroyed, the water front now is looking very bare. While on these fatigues gangs of men are destroying and pouring into hols huge quantities of rum, food and much ammunition, everything that we are taking is ready for transportation. Am now detailed as one of the last in the Bn to leave when the time comes in a day or two. Col. Mcnaughton evacuated today.
18/12/15: All stores are now thrown open to the men who take what they like. Large quantities of tinned fruits, milk, fish, chicken etc are freely partaken of and we have a huge feats, the first good mean for several days, as we have been living on a base living allowance of 5 biscuits, without bread owing to destruction of supplies, which had been hoarded up for the winder as it will be impossible to land any supplies during the rough winter, there has been great difficulty even in [ ] [ ] of the evacuation of the sick and wounded, who have been accumulating for a few days awaiting a favourable opportunity to embark when the wind and sea have abated. Large stacks of tobacco and cigs which have been hold for the same purpose as hospital supplies are all thrown open and can be had for the taking. We now have more food and tobacco than we can consume, gun [ ], shells and ammunition that we are not transporting are destroyed on the beach. Am included among the select few whose duty it will be to “man” the front line when the BN holds its [ ] for the last time as we have been definitely informed that we will be leaving tomorrow night. The Turks are very quiet all night, with us everything is packed up ready for leaving, all personal kit packs, blankets etc have already left with a large number of the men who have been under orders leaving a regular intervals during the last two nights the remainder will remain as the last garrison for tomorrow night. Before dusk we send a little joke on “jacko” for the last time. A Coy are under orders to parade at Bh Hdqrs with full equipment at 5pm, after “falling in” we are being continually marched up and down several times and parts which are exposed positions and under observation from the OP on Gaba Tepe after making several visits we all grumble about the “march”, especially on exposed position finally we are dismissed about 6.30pm later the reason for this manoeuvre was explained, we have been bluffing them into believing that we are reinforcing the line, when as a matter of fact we are preparing to leave it. Coy this morning all silence was broken, a Turkish solider crossed “no mans land” to try and find the reason for such inactivity, one of our sentries allowing him to come quite close, shot him, by that short they must have realised that our line despite its silence was still occupied, hence the little bluff of the “route march” to make them think we are reinforcing prior to an attack. Everything very quiet tonight, deadly quiet not a shot or any noise from either side, we are however all watching anxiously, not knowing what may happen, or whether they know our intentions and are awaiting their opportunity.
19/12/15: Sunday Turks pretty active today with their howitzer and 75 shells we wonder if they know anything everything now is finally completed for tonights evacuation of the ANZAC positon. We hold the line for the last time today and those who are selected are detailed to their posts for tonight. The men who leave in the evening take the remainder of our packs and blankets in case the last party have to make a fight for it when it will be necessary for us to be equipped as lightly as possible. Am detailed for the rear guard which is again divided into three parts, A, B and C. Am in A party. Everything tonight is to be done with absolute quietness not the slightest noise is to be made. All spare blankets have been cut up to make pads for our feet as a precaution against noise when the time comes to leave. At midnight each party meets a selected place. A party met at the cook house where we tie ourselves together with lengths of rope, each man is tied to the belt of the man in front of him as a precaution that no man will go astray and get lost, should a man get left behind by accident he would have no chance of getting away as being an isolated figure attached to no party he would be shot on sight, as we have strict orders that we are the absolute last of the garrison and that anybody seen behind is after the last man has gone is to be shot on sight as it is thought likely that an attack may be made, and then our plans may not be secret after all. Finally the order is passed quietly and we move off, each party taking its own separate trench, the guide along the track has a lighted cancel inside a tin, in which small holes have been punch narrow strip indicating the route. All other trenches etc have been filled up with barbed wire and barred with sentries posted on each, We attach the sentry to our party, back up the trench through which we have just passed and move on, there is not a single member of the AIF now left in the trenches, support or reserve lines. We all now making their way slowly towards the breach blocking up all paths as they do in case of a sudden rush if anything is found out. We all carry extra bundles of ammunition and two bombs should they be necessary if not our instructions are that we are to hang on to the SA ammunition and throw the bombs into the sea when we arrive at the punts. The Officer in comment of A section is Mr Pierce. The Bn now being under the command of Major Scott. We eventually arrive at the beach and take up a specially prepared position for a defence in case of attack while the last troops are embarking. Here we wait for B and C sections who taking other paths arrive after us. Everything has been very carefully thought out by the higher command and has passed off without a hitch not a men being either missed or wounded at least during the evacuation, the Bn had one casualty about 5pm, a man was wounded by a shrapnel splinter nothing serious, the only case all day. Here the arrangements are that in case of trouble we are to stick to the job to the last man allowing those to whom are acting as rear guard to get away. A hospital has been erected in a gully and staff of Ra MC and a few doctors have volunteered to remain with the wounded and surrender with them if necessary fortunately it was not. About 1 am orders received to go direct on to the beach and take up positions for evacuation by the navel boats. Finally we board a navel punt at Websters Pier after throwing our bombs in the water and are transhipped to the Siyalion Prince, after waiting for the unites to arrive. We leave for Mudros at 2am the next morning. Before we leave we witness the last “stunt” at ANZAC, Lone Pine and other posts have been heavily minded and ready for the big blow up as the final act before we leave, this “stunt” happens just as we leave the bay and the food dumps have been prepared with tar etc. are set on fire, these have been well prepared in advance during the day, being stacked around with plenty of wood, loads of tar, petroleum etc the fire are very bright and blasting up very high illuminating the whole of the ANZAC position. The Turks suspicions are now aroused and suggest that there is something doing so they open fire on our evacuated positon at dawn then they get no reply from us they sent our strong parties to see what is doing, the navel guns catch them in the open and chop them up very badly. They however arrive too late as the last man has embarked before they realise the position. We have managed to effect a clean get away with not even one casualty. Achi Bara, again very heavily bombarded during the afternoon for several hours, this attracting their attention to Cape Hellas, while we finalised our arrangement’s at ANZAC
20/12/15: Took my last look at ANZAC as we moved out of rifle fire at dawn it is very badly scared as the result of our occupation, shells now bursting fall all over it and huge fires are burning the war ships who are standing in much closer than we are, are giving the Turks their last heavy bombardment before leaving not a soul remains behind the dead now only occupy the position. We arrived at Mudros early in the morning and waited in the harbour until 9 o/c when we were taken off the SS “Waterwitch” to the pier from where we marched to the site of our old camp. Other parties continually arriving during the day by other boats everybody now is off the Peninsula and re-joining their units here. The last to arrive tell us that there has not been a single casualty in any of the units that left last of all. We are all very sorry to have left ANZAC without gaining our objective after 9 months hard efforts, but the position in front of us was impossible, and our position untenable during the winter months. The whole business has been a very sorry mess up and a sheer waste of men and material. After reaching our camp and receiving a rousing welcome from the advance guard, who have been in camp for a few days we dismiss to our tents. Thus ends the Gallipoli expedition and we are able to rest for the remainder of the day.
21/12/15: Fatigues all day and general clean up of camp.
22/12/15: Two hours drill today 10 –12 am. Christmas Billys and other presents issued today the “billys” have come from all over Australia mine coming from a Melboune family. We are all issued with our winter clothing 1 sheep skin vest , 2 shirts, 2 socks etc today no fatigues.
23/12/15: Short parade today for kit inspection, everything is packed to move off at a minutes notice – Christmas puddings issued today 1 tin between 3 men, just a good slice each, paid £2. Visited villages for stores.
24/12/15: Christmas Eve. Under orders to move off this morning a 9am, everybody packed and ready. It rained heavily this morning, the ground is very muddy marched to the pier and embarked on the paddle steamed “Hendon” being later transferred to the S S Simba waiting for us in the harbour. We are not told where we are going but officially we hear that it is Alexandria large concert given tonight on deck.
25/12/15: Christmas Day Very quiet day. Christmas pudding issued at dinner present from Adelaide South Australia. Moved from our anchorage this afternoon and proceeded to entrance of the harbour, but did not go out. The alarm was sounded this afternoon for “stations” in case of submarine attacks. Muster parade at 10 am.
26/12/15: Sunday Left Lemos harbour at 4am, orders issued that life belts are to be worn continuously all day in case of submarine attack. The Mediterranean is supposed to be a hot bed of enemy submarines, at night we are to sleep with the belts under our heads, in fact we are never to be separated from them. Many ships have been already lost. We have nothing to do but lie about the decks and smoke all day.
27/12/15: Muster parade 10 am. We are now well out to sea, lazy day, nothing doing.
28/12/15: Drew into Alexandria at mid-day and anchored in the harbour all the afternoon. At 4pm we moved towards the wharf, towed by a tug, tied up at 6pm. We remained on board all night.
29/12/15: Remained on board until midday, when we disembarked and marched to Mustapha about half way to our camp where our transport are, we bivouacked on a vacant piece of ground by the side of the [ ]. Am wanted for camp guard immediate on arriving in camp. Mounted at 2.30pm. Leave granted to half the camp, completely desolated, everybody had left and gone into Alexandria for the night except the guards.
30/12/15: Guard all day, finished at 5pm. Afterwards visited Alexandria. We are under orders to move off tomorrow morning and to hold ourselves ready to leave at a moment’s notice for an unknown destination if necessary.
31/12/15: Reveille 4.30 am. Full marching order, at 6:30 we marched to the railway siding and entrained for Tel-al- Kelier arriving there during the afternoon. The camp is situated on the edge of the desert by the side of a railway line, this is very miserable and lonely spot, far away from any town. The General commanding the troops in Egypt has decided that the AIF are not to be camped near Cairo or any other large cites hence we are all condemned to the desert. We all wonder how long we are to be kept in this dismal place, many ex wounded men and reinforcements are already there before us and give us a welcome as we march into the camp. The camp extends about two miles along the railway line and his unlimited space for extensions with the tremendous area of the desert behind for a parade and manoeuvre grounds. Camp very quiet tonight.
You may not pass this place
Here you must stop,
Though all the world’s great tides run heedless by
These quiet graves, where wandering goats now crop
The thyme and saltbush, under a silent sky
Where pine and myrtle speak our pride and sorrow
The boys who made us men lie buried here
As once in Greece men mourned their lost tomorrow
And said, the Spring was taken from the year
These hills where trenches fill and crumble under,
And migrant birds find peaceful resting-place
Erupted once in such a cosmic thunder
And fire, as when a star is born in space.
Here, racked with thirst and dazed and blind and sweating
Through pain, and dread, and ecstasy, and blood
Our flesh and bone climbed to their self-forgetting
And in this place was born our nationhood
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