First published in the Weekly Times (Melbourne), Saturday 1 May 1920.
The writer is a young lawyer of Sydney. He has declined offers of military advancement preferring to serve in the ranks. From time to time soldiers letters have been published. They have given many stirring incidents, especially of the great attack on Lone Pine. Our object in publishing this diary is to throw open the day-to-day life of the soldier at Gallipoli. There is something more intimate than is found in a hurried letter inspired by one sensational event. Our young lawyer became sick (one notes the record of his ailments with sympathy), and big things happened while he was away. (At another time the ‘Mail’ will fill up that gap — other diaries will come to hand.) His Diary was resumed when he returned to the Peninsula. Then come the entries relating to the wonderful evacuation.
10/4/15.— A Company (only) of 13th Battalion left Heliopolis Camp at 7.13 p.m. and marched with band playing through Heliopolis to railway station (about a mile) and entrained for Alexandria. We were cheered by all our chaps at Heliopolis Camp as we marched out, and by the soldiers and crowd in Heliopolis — train moved off at 11.20 p.m.— packed pretty close in train, and chaps sleep all over the floor and under the seats.
11/4/15.— Arrived at Alexandria at about 5 a.m. and embarked on s.s. —— . A Company of 13th Battalion and two companies of New Zealanders and one Company of the 15th Battalion and one of 16th — about 1100 troops all told — great military activity in the port — many transports, English, French, and Australian, taking troops on board — moved away from the wharf and anchored out in the stream taking in cargo all night from lighters.
12/4/15.— Left Alexandria at 6.30 a.m., beautiful weather and sea, but still a little rolling made some men seasick. Food good and plenty of it — no work, and only muster parades on deck — it is said we are going to some island off the coast of Turkey which we are to use as a base for operations in Turkey.
13/4/15. — In Mediterranean; had a nice shower of rain — passed several small and apparently uninhabited islands were served out with 200 rounds of ammunition each — informed we are en route to island of Lemnos.
14/4/15. — Fine sunny morning— other boats in sight, and also Island of Lemnos, where we anchored at 7.30 a.m. in a nice little bay, where numerous other transports and men-of-war and gunboats are anchored — Lemnos, a rocky island with hills and peaks — a few trees or shrubs, but several small villages and many cultivation patches in view, also numerous old-fashioned round windmills for grinding grain — nice green cultivation patches here and there — some troops are ashore here — had practice climbing down rope ladders into boats and back with all our full marching gear and rifles.
15/4/15.— Beautiful day — nothing much doing — some more transports arrived and warships are going— a little drill aboard ship — we are now part of the “Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.”
17/4/15. — Message from General Birdwood re conserving water and food during first three days of our attack in Gallipoli read out. We are warned we may get no more water than we can carry in our water-bottles during that time.
18/4/15.— Sunday— usual Sunday service. The rest of the 13th are on the s.s. here. We hear that a Turkish torpedo-boat chased a British transport which was making for here and fired three torpedoes at her, which missed, but caused a bit of panic on board. which resulted in some going overboard and being drowned; also that subsequently two British cruisers chased the Turkish torpedo-boat and ran her ashore and blew her to pieces. The transport subsequently arrived here O.K.
19/4/15. — Went ashore with a full pack, climbing up and down ship on rope ladders — had a much-needed swim on the beach — many of the local (Greek) villagers came round selling edibles, cigarettes, etc. Saw some English troops ashore, who appear to be much smaller men on the average than our chaps.
20/4/15. — By order each man cut a small faggot of wood from the waste deal cases aboard to take ashore, as it is said firewood is very scarce where we are to land. 21/4/15.— Colonel Burnage came aboard from the —— to have a look at us.
24/4/15. — Several transports and battleships leave this harbour — told we are leaving to-morrow.
25/4/15. — Those sleeping on deck heard big gun fire during the night, and it could be heard this morning — presumably the Allied fleet bombarding the Dardanelles. We left port in company with the —— , clearing Lemnos Island about 11.30 a.m. We carry very heavy packs, including three “iron” rations (little bags containing biscuits, small tin of bully beef, and little packets of beef extract), 200 rounds of ammunition, and bundle of firewood. The —— has the rest of the 13th aboard — heard the big guns going an hour after leaving Lemnos — heard bombardment all day off Gallipoli (in the Gulf of Saros). Saw our warships all along the coast firing continuously, and many transports lined up along the coast ready to land, and some landing, and some transports which had landed their troops returning. On arriving close inshore saw the warships firing distinctly, and could see where the shells landed. Anchored off Gallipoli about 4.30 p.m., and had dinner — many other transports and battleships all around us. In the evening just before sunset the warships round us shelled all the hills in front of us, and raked the whole of the skyline with shrapnel. Several Turkish shells fell in the water amongst the transports close to us and some transports moved further out. Our aeroplanes went up and made several reconnaissances. The fire from our ships seemed very accurate. Some of the troops from our boat landed at sundown, and through the afternoon and night rapid rifle and machine-gun fire could be heard. We were ordered on our troop deck fully equipped to disembark about 6.30 p.m.; but later orders came that we might not disembark till 1 a.m., and to sleep in packs as best we could in the meantime — numerous naval launches came alongside during the night, some with wounded aboard; various rumours of our losses current. (We had heard earlier in the day that those of our Australian and New Zealand troops who had already landed had occupied a ridge on our right.) Had coffee about 1.30 a.m., and waiting orders to disembark — chaps in good fettle and very cheerful, being glad to be into the real biz. at last. Four chaps, who went ashore early in the evening were sent back aboard us wounded. The bombardment of the Turks’ positions on the hills (there is only a small beach oppo- site us, where the troops are landing, and then very steep hills and deep gullies), was a fine sight, and demonstrated the accuracy of the gunners and great method — every command from the boat directing the fire being carried out smoothly and quickly. Just been up to the hospital, and find two men wounded in head, one in leg, one in arm. Order given that nothing would be doing till daylight, so all turned in to get what sleep, we could.
26/4/15.— Gunfire started at daylight again, shelling the hills. (The Queen Elizabeth is now with us.) Troops still landing from transports, being taken ashore by torpedo boats, which transfer them to barges close inshore, guns from our ships keeping up fire to cover them — our shells and shrapnel bursting over top of hills and in gullies and throwing up columns of smoke. Behind our boat an observation balloon has gone up to a great height — fine day, and cool. Had breakfast aboard about 7.30 a.m., and immediately after went aboard torpedo-boat, which took us near shore and transferred us to a punt with open ends (like a horse punt), from which we landed, getting wet to the waist in doing so. Shrapnel was bursting all round us while the boat was making for the shore, and one sailor was hit while on the torpedo-boat and one of our chaps while on the punt. Most of the landing parties had some men killed or wounded in the boats. One felt inclined to ‘duck’ one’s head when one heard the shrapnel burst overhead — heard our chaps had captured nine Turkish machine-guns and also various rumours as to our own losses — also that one party of Turks had shown the white flag and then fired on our men with a machine-gun when they advanced to take them prisoners. Troops landing all the time, and ships bombarding as they pick up the Turkish positions — aeroplanes are out, and no doubt directing fire on ships — balloon is also up about four miles out at sea. We (A Company of 13th) awaiting orders — told that on first lot of Australians landing on day before they had met the Turks right at the water’s edge, and charged up the steep hillsides which rise from the sea. The Turks also had machine-guns firing on our chaps in the boats as they landed; but our chaps jumped out of the boats up to their waists in water and went straight for the Turks (leaving many dead and wounded in the boats), having fixed bayonets while still in the boats, charged up the steep hills, and cleared the Turks out of their trenches — but, of course, we lost a good many. The artillery are now landing, also horses and mules — a good bayonet charge is going on above us, while we still await orders on the beach, and continuous rifle fire all round, and shrapnel bursting all round the beach. We went to the head of the valley and occupied a ridge (afterwards known as Pope’s Hill, after Colonel Pope). About 200 yards from the Turks’ trench we kept up a continuous fire, which they returned; many of our chaps killed and wounded.
28/4/15.— Been in the trenches ever since last note, with the exception of yesterday afternoon, when our section were posted on the left of the hillside to pick off snipers who were concealed on the hillsides and shooting our men from the rear. We have occupied and made trenches on three sides of the position of which a valley is the centre, and also hold the other side under control by fire from the ships. We are sending out parties to clear the hillsides of snipers, who are shooting a lot of our men from the rear and right and left flanks. Several men and officers of A Company wounded and dead. Very steep ascent up to our position. You can hardly get a foothold — enemy keeps us at it day and night, and if we show ourselves at all the snipers are at us. We have shot many of the snipers. It is difficult to locate them, as the hills are all covered with short scrub and undergrowth. Had several narrow shaves from bullets lobbing up against me while digging cover with entrenching tool — our chaps on the right of the position have had to retire at times from part of the trenches, but they have always reoccupied them with a bayonet charge. The Turkish artillery is pouring shrapnel into us all the time. Some more transports with an escort of warships arrived this morning (we can see all the boats below from our position high up on the hills about a mile and a half from the beach). Our aeroplanes go out scouting every day — fighting on our right very stiff — one of our mine trawlers sunk on the beach by the enemy’s shells. They are now burying some of our dead at the head of the valley on the right — poor Tom ——, shot dead by a sniper in the trench alongside me — shot through the mouth. Our machine-gun is about six yards above me on top of hill, and it draws a lot of the enemy’s fire, of which we get the benefit. We had to dig ourselves in deep and bank up the sides and rear of the trench, as we are being sniped at from the right flank and rear left.
Later, same day.— Still in the same trenches, and we have had to take turns for a sleep, as we have not been relieved since we came here — feeling pretty good, but very cold at night, as we had to leave our packs and overcoats on the beach (being too much to carry up the steep hillside); very hot in daytime and very cold at night. We keep up fire a good deal in daytime, and it goes on merrily nearly all night on both sides.
29/4/15. — Still in same trenches — enemy’s shrapnel still going strong, and the shells from our ships and artillery below whizz close over our heads on the top of the hill on their way to the Turks’ positions beyond — some of it comes uncomfortably close. Got relieved about 7 p.m., and went down the hill about a hundred yards below for a sleep, having had only a few dozes in the trenches since we landed. Find our company has lost a good many killed and wounded since we went into this position. Made dug outs for ourselves and went off to sleep, but were called to arms twice during the night, as it was thought the Turks were advancing down the head of the valley just opposite our position.
The Main Supply Depot At Anzac
This spot, where supplies of all sorts, valued at millions of pounds, were stored, was safe from enemy shell-fire. In the background is seen the precipitous Walker’s Ridge, which is about 500ft above sea level.
Sydney Mail, 26 Apil 1916, p. 11.
30/4/15. — Got up at daylight and went down the valley and made a dixie of tea (first since we landed), and had breakfast — returned to our trenches in the firing line about 6.30 a.m. Find Turks had dug some more trenches during the night on the crest of the hill on the right about 400 yards in front of us and about 60 yards from our chaps’ trenches on the other side of the valley (Quinn’s Post). Heard while below that Willie —— had been shot dead in our trench, and of others of our crowd wounded — later in day machine-gun playing on our trench, and had to lie very low. C —— and C —— with me in trench.
1/5/15.— Turkish machine-gun on us again, and kept us low in trench — dug deeper. Continuous rifle fire most nights, and intermittent rifle fire and shell fire each day.
2/5/15.— We came out of our trenches about 7.30 p.m., all hands having first given the enemy a terrific fusillade of rifle fire for about 20 minutes — another battalion taking our place. We went up gully quietly (orders no one to fire if avoidable) to attack Turks in trench in front of trenches we had just come out of. Someone ahead took wrong turning, and instead of one platoon coming out (it was pretty dark) where they should, a part of it (which I was with) got lost, and ran into a nail of bullets — whose we didn’t know. We all lay down for a while and then went on a bit; but the officer in charge was lost, and a few yards further on we found ourselves between the fire of the Turks and our 16th Battalion. The bullets zipped every where amongst and around us, and many of our chaps fell wounded or dead — amongst those near me C —— and J —— fell badly wounded. The fire became too hot for anything, and those of us left trooped into the head of a gully into which the officer cleared for shelter, singing out for us to follow. Here most of the bullets flew a little high over us, but many went amongst us. I went back and brought C —— in; someone else got J —— and some others who had fallen when we ran into the fire. The bullets were still as bad as ever, and it was very unhealthy anywhere there. Stayed in gully for a while and helped first aid ambulance chap bind up C —— ‘s wound and a lot of other wounded. The top of the gully, or rather the narrow bed of it, was full of dead and wounded, and I had to pick my steps moving about for fear of treading on them. We sent the word down for stretcher-bearers for the wounded, and took wounded as far down gully as we could to be out of the fire. Got word back stretcher bearers could not come for a while, as they were removing the wounded further down the gully, who were blocking up the way. Started out to find the rest of the 13th Battalion, and after getting into 16th trenches we eventually found them, about 3 o’clock on Monday morning.
3/5/15. They had driven the Turks out of their trench and occupied it. We dug down trench deeper aud a support trench at the rear. Some English marines were at the rear of the trench we had taken in the open. At dawn we found we were enfiladed on both sides by Turkish machine-guns, and the marines who were outside the trenches were shot down wholesale before they realised what was up. Most of our chaps in the trenches were also wounded. All that day (a Monday) we had to duck down low in the trenches, as the Turks had a continuous stream of machine-gun fire on us from both flanks, and rifle fire on our front. A good many of our men were wounded during the day in the part of the trench I was in, and one near me who exposed himself above the trench was shot through the heart. Sergeant M —— very pluckily exposed himself to pass sandbags up from the support trench to the firing line and was shot, I believe, three times by the machine gun, but not (I think) very seriously. I had no water, having given all mine to the wounded during the night before and most of us had nothing to eat all day; but we didn’t think of that — we were so busy crouching down to dodge the bullets. At dusk we evacuated that position, taking our wounded with us, and we were very thankful to get out of it. We lost a lot of men that Sunday night and Monday, and it was the hottest, thing we have had to date. The Sunday night, when we were lost for a while was a perfect nightmare; we couldn’t shoot, and yet were being shot at from all directions. However, we had driven the Turks from their trench, and must have killed, I think, more of them than they did of us. We were all dead done up, and went down the valley for a spell. I then heard of many of my mates who had been killed and wounded; one or two had had their heads practically blown off by bombs, others were “missing” — which I am afraid means in most cases dead.
4 and 5/5/15. — Still resting, and feeling a bit better now; we wanted our spell and the sleep badly.
6/5/15. — I was one of a burial party to bury the dead, result of scraps of 2 and 3/5/15 (so far as we could, of course; there were many we couldn’t get near, as they were under the enemy’s fire; buried many of our chaps and some Turks. One Turk in particular had been dead about a week, and was very unpleasant. (N.B.— That is not my exact note.) The 14th chaplain searched the dead before we buried them — some Turks had a couple of pounds and more in Turkish money on them, which goes to headquarters. Went back to our old trenches in the afternoon. Shrapnel bursting over our heads a treat as I write this note, and makes writing a bit shaky — you bet.
7/5/15. — In the trenches. Turks pouring in a lot of shrapnel, but not doing so much harm as would be expected. On picket duty myself that night and until next morning. Have got poisoned hands; very sore. Our battalion got some reinforcements.
8/5/15. — Came back to our old trenches — very cold at night without overcoats.
9/5/15. — Sunday, comparatively quiet, but snipers got several men in our part of the trenches, and the Turks dropped in some shells, which killed or wounded a few in trenches.
10/5/15. — Enemy sent in a lot of shrapnel amongst our chaps in the valley, and it was flying all over the place several men wounded, and N —— (in charge of our Pioneers) killed near me. We kept up a steady fire most of last night to cover the attack of the 15th on the enemy’s trenches on the right. They took the trenches, but had to retire later, being enfiladed. The 15th report that they lost a good many men in their attack last night, but when they got into the Turks’ trenches they found so many dead Turks that they piled them up in front of them in some places for shelter. They say the Turks had dummy trenches in front, and when they reached these the Turks opened fire on them from the real trenches— ‘cute trick!
11/5/15. — Spelling — things quiet — went down valley a bit, saw General Birdwood talking to some of the 15th, who were lined up in a gully. He asked several men, “Were you in the charge last night?” They shook their heads and said, “No, sir; I was in the supports.” Our Brigadier, Monash, was standing by, and he chipped in: “Most of those who were in the charge didn’t come back, sir.” It is reported that a Turkish artillery officer and 40 men surrendered to-day; they say they were without water for three days. (Note. — We get some of our water from the ships, and some by digging for it in the valley.)
12/5/15. — In trenches in our old position.
16/5/15. — Have been on the beach doing “fatigue” work for the last three days, the 13th having been relieved in the trenches by the Light Horse (who came here as infantry, leaving their horses behind them in Egypt) last Wednesday. The enemy are putting a lot of shrapnel amongst us on the beach, and knock a good few, but nothing much considering the number of shells they send. Our party dug out a post-office in the hillside opposite the beach and roofed it with sandbags.
17/5/15. — Fatigue — unloading cargo from barges on beach — much shrapnel, and a dozen or so hit. Am camped in a dugout on the hillside with C ——. Very hot day. Warships are replying to enemy’s shell fire. Enemy also firing some very big shells at our warships lying off the beach. Hands all over sores, and several boils on me — feel very off-colour. Insects (sic) damnable.
19/5/15. — Got hit in shoulder by spent bullet while unloading cargo on the beach about 1 this morning (we do this work mostly at night, because of shell fire). A glancing shot. Just cut my shoulder a little— no damage done. There was a big attack by the enemy on our lines all round last night and this morning, but we repulsed them with very heavy losses. Big shells bursting all over the beach and hillside where I am this morning. One which struck the hillside just above me nearly filled up my dugout with dirt and stones. A boatload of our wounded being taken to the hospital ship lying off the beach just missed a big shell by a boat’s length. It sent up a column of water 20 or 30 feet high. It made us ashore very anxious for the boatful of poor helpless wounded chaps. But although a few more shells went after them none were close, and they got on board all right.
20/5/15. — A company came back from beach and rejoined battalion in gully. Big shells (9in.— “Jack Johnsons,” we call them) falling on our trenches, and several fell near us as we went up the gully. Turks lost very heavily in their attack on our trenches last night.
21/5/15. — 13th went into trenches on Quinn’s Post. Trenches very uncomfortable and cramped, and not much good to fire from. Turks’ trenches only twenty-five yards in front of us. We threw some bombs into their trenches, and they returned some, which shook things up a bit but damaged no one. Deuced awkward not knowing when a bomb is going to land on you (bomb-throwing being nearly all done at night) and having very little room to get away from it.
22/5/15. — Still in trenches on Quinn’s Post. Can’t show your nose above it in daytime. They even broke some of our periscopes — it is too easy to shoot straight at 25 yards. Things quiet. We used some big new bombs thrown from the mortar; kick up as much dust as 3in. shells. Moral effect on Turks very good.
23/5/15. — Rotten day; very damp and muddy in trenches. No fighting in the trenches, but we and the Turks exchanged bombs during the night; one man injured. G —— F —— , who came over with our reinforcements, officer in charge in my part of the trench. Major Chisholm of Light Horse came along during the night, trying to improve our trenches to fire from by making loopholes with sandbags. It is a month yesterday since we landed. We have been fighting ever since. The stench from the dead around the trenches on Quinn’s Post is very bad. In one place the trenches are only 12 yards apart. Had our first issue of fresh meat, and grilled some of it and had a good square feed.
24/4/15.— Armistice all day till 4 p.m. to bury the dead. Both sides came out of trenches and stood on top of them, and our chaps yarned to some of the Turkish soldiers who could speak English. As soon as the white flags went down rifle fire started again. Our chaps say they saw hundreds of dead Turks on the left.
Sydney Mail, 26 Apil 1916, p. 8.
28/5/15.— The Turks blew up part of our trenches, as we and they had been sapping to undermine each other’s. The explosion threw up a lot of earth and buried some of our sappers alive, and injured some of our men in the trenches, and shook the whole of the top of the hill where I was. Our chaps threw bombs and drove the Turks back again to their own trenches. We lost some men, but the Turks’ losses were much heavier. The attack was general; but the main attack was on Quinn’s Post. When things quietened down a bit we got the dead out of the trenches and laid them on the hillside at the back of our supporting trench. This heap of dead was a ghastly sight in the daytime, as most of them were fearfully mangled with bombs. Our colonel (Burnage) was wounded on the arm by a bomb. We were relieved about 4 p.m. by the Light Horse, and went down the valley for a spell. The sergeant, my mate in the dugout, was wounded while having a wash in a biscuit tin: taken down the valley to doctor. Most of the battalion have gone to the rest camp. Dr. Clayton, of the 4th Field Ambulance, sent me on a mine-sweeper to Lemnos, where we boarded the Cunard liner for Alexandria, Egyptian Hospital.
Above is a copy of short notes I made in my note book from time to time. I expect to be out of here and back in the firing line inside a fortnight. I have been remarkably lucky so far, having had very close shaves time out of number. There is a lot of luck in it. Chaps have been shot dead right alongside me. but I have escaped so far. However, there is a long way to go yet.
View of Walkers Beach
This photograph depicts the scene at Walkers Beach after the British operations in August had drive back the Turkish artillery and snipers. The vessel lying at one of the piers is a hospital barge. The tents are the hospitals, and in line with the barge is the main supply depot, a closer view of which is given in the first picture.
Sydney Mail, 26 Apil 1916, p. 11.
30/10/15. — (Lemnos Island.) Received orders to march off at 2 a.m. to-morrow for Anzac — A Company going in advance. Had little sleep all night; reveille at 4 p.m.
31/10/15.— Left camp at 5 a.m. (13th, 14th, and 15th Battalions), and embarked on s.s. —— ; left Mudros Bay (Lemnos Island) about 3 p.m., and arrived off Anzac about 7.30 p.m., when a lighter came alongside; but it was too rough to land the troops, so after waiting till about 3 a.m. off Anzac we went to Imbros Island, where we lay in a nice little bay protected by nets (against submarines and torpedoes). During the night one man of the 14th (while we lay off Anzac) was shot dead by a bullet through the head, and two were wounded.
1/11/15. — Lying this morning in little bay in Imbros Island— beautiful, fine morning. Lay there all day and moved off to Anzac as soon as it was dark, where we disembarked on lighters, getting off at a good little pier (a change from our first landing), and went round the beach to the left by a good track (sap), and camped for the night in Taylor’s Gully. Plenty of ready-made dug-outs and very comfort able — pretty cold during the night — settled down to sleep about 1 a.m.
2/11/15. — Fine, sunny, fresh morning; did nothing all day. A little excitement at midday, when half a dozen big shells bobbed in amongst the crowd, but by great good luck no one was injured. One chap was wounded in the arm by a stray bullet last night. One of our aeroplanes went over us to-day, and the Turks were potting at it with shells, but went nowhere near it. One of their empty shells dropped where we are camped.
3/11/15. — The brigade went up to Durrant’s Post. We are getting the position formerly held by the 13th. Position seems to be safe, and ready-made dugouts and good trenches — very different from our first couple of months here. Got in dugout with T —— .
4/11/15.— Got shifted from our dugout and had all the trouble of making another one — language suitable to the occasion. Some of our boys (reinforcements) got wounded by the explosion of a box of bombs in our own trench through one of the new hands letting off his rifle accidentally. Went out with a couple more in front of the trenches at night cutting down and removing scrub from the front of our firing line, and carried it back behind our firing line. Trenches seem pretty good. Could hear a brisk rally going on at night on our left.
5/11/15. — Heard this morning that Turks blew up part of Quinn’s Post last night, and our Light Horse took a trench there and still hold it, but don’t know if it’s true. One of our chaps (D Company) got shot, and died shortly after, and three more were wounded near D Company’s cookhouse.
6/11/15.— A few shrapnel shells fell on the hillside opposite — quiet.
7/11/15. — Nos. 3 and 4 platoons in trenches. One of our aeroplanes flew over our trenches towards the Turks’ lines, and returned and descended in the water towards Suvla Bay, apparently disabled, near the hospital tents on our left on the beach, where the Turks shelled it. A Turkish aeroplane flew over our position shortly after, and though fired at a lot returned apparently, undamaged. Some mail arrived. Trenches very good to what we were used to at first. Turks about 700 yards away. Quiet night in trenches.
8/11/15. — Came out of trenches into supports. Enemy aeroplane went overhead. Very quiet on this position.
9/11/15.— Got a big mail of mostly old letters — 21 letters in all. In support trenches to-day, and go into trenes to-night. Was sitting just outside our dugout with T —— my mate, when a bullet (apparently a stray one) went just past my ear and between us and into the sandbags of the next humpy.
10/11/15. — Out of the trenches, resting in our dugouts.
11/11/15.— Quiet; nothing doing.
12/11/15.— Nos. 3 and 4 platoons went into the trenches — some of the old chaps and some reinforcements who had been in Egypt returned (about 68 for the 13th).
13/11/15.— Fine morning; cold last night, which was quiet.
14/11/15. — In trenches last night and to-day; cold and windy last night — quiet. K. of K. is reported to be here.
18/11/15. — For some days have been on a regular job sapping a tunnel through a hill under the trenches. Eight hours a day in four shifts. Pretty hard work on this tucker. Very strong wind and rough sea yesterday, and heavy rain last night, which washed a lot of the dugouts out; but ours held dry. Working 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. This morning some of our company made a fire in front of our dugout, and were making tea about 5 a.m., when J —— was shot dead through the ear; he never moved or spoke. Just in front of our front door seems pretty dangerous, as several bullets have hit the sandbags there, and one narrowly missed T —— and myself some days ago. Was very cold this morning, but beautiful line day.
21/11/15. — Heard a lot of our inward and outward mail (361 bags) has been lost at sea— this would probably include over a dozen letters I have written from here, so wrote some more. I am still digging tunnel.
26/11/15. — Wrote some more letters, as heard a lot of our mail has been torpedoed on ship —— .
27/11/15. — The last few days have been very cold — things quiet — a good few stray bullets or snipers in front of the humpy — threatening, but not much rain. Lieut. Barton returned the other day. Hardly any firing here yesterday. It is said the Turks think we are evacuating this position, and the cessation of fire was to encourage this belief, and get them to attack. The Indians are doing most admirable work with the mules here; bring all our stores, ammunition, and water up from the beach, and they do it all most coolly and without any confusion or noise.
28/11/15.— Woke up this morning to find a couple of inches of snow on the ground, and still snowing. Very cold, and freezing wind. My mate and myself had put off digging under, and are now sorry for it. Must get under ground at once. Pretty sight. We would like more oatmeal and other heating food. It rained a good deal yesterday. The roof of our dugout being an old blanket covered with old oil sheets won’t stand much snow. A little snow and continuous sleet all day. Bitterly cold wind.
29/11/15. — Rain and snow stopped, but everything is frozen hard this morning, and strong ice-cold wind blowing.
30/11/15.— Still freezing cold, and snow not all thawed yet; but sun out a bit. Several men of this company have been sent away with frozen feet.
1/12/15. — Still cold, but not quite so bad; but wind very cold. It was freezing so hard that a lot of the snow still lies on the hillsides. Our water ration has been cut down one-third the last few days, owing to the difficulty of getting it here per mules in this weather, up the narrow, steep, and slippery paths through the saps. We finished digging a big oblong pit yesterday, which is being roofed in for a cookhouse. My mate and I are digging into the hill at the back of our humpy, as it is much warmer underground, and our roof (waterproof sheets) would never stand the weight of a heavy fall of snow. I hear that one man of 14th Battalion had to have both feet off owing to getting them frozen. Also a rumour that the Turks have blown up part of Lone Pine trenches, and 30 or so of our men (not this battalion) killed or wounded. A good many men (mostly reinforcements) are going away sick, etc. A couple of days ago my mate and I had tin of bully beef for breakfast, as we were very hungry, and there was little else (the day it snowed), and got such a thirst that we had to drink something, and nearly swallowed several small icicles in our water-bottles. The cork of T —— ‘s bottle got frozen, and he had great trouble to shift it. Four or five hospital ships are lying off the beach, and they say a lot of the English and some of our troops are going away sick and with frozen feet, etc., result of the cold snap. Also some of the Indians, who have been doing such splendid transport work with the mules.
2/12/15.— Frosty morning, but fine day and nice sun. Snow now nearly all thawed. A couple of shells burst over the hill, and one man (machine-gun) on top was wounded by shrapnel in leg and arm. Still at work in our dugout. Shifts change, and I go on 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 12 noon digging a tunnel for cook’s quarters. Sun beautiful after all the cold.
3/12/15.— Dull and cold (but not so cold as lately), with a little misty rain. There is a rumour of Allied victory against the Bulgarians, and it is said the Russians are coming through Roumania to attack Bulgaria. One man got hit here to-day by a stray bullet. Still a good many going away sick. A good deal of bomb-throwing was going on last night, I am working on another tunnel for winter quarters (a bit late!) for the men.
8/12/15.— Still quiet on our position, but can hear bombs on the Apex and on our right every night. A few days ago the Turks lobbed a few high explosive shells on the field hospital below us, and killed a couple of wounded men (can’t blame them much, as the hospital is alongside the track our supplies come by). The warships shelled the Turks’ position behind Chocolate Hill heavily the day before yesterday. Am getting weaker, and have a boil on the jaw from it. We heard a rumour that there are internal disturbances in Germany, also that 300,000 Russians had entered Bulgaria. Also that some Turk prisoners we have taken say the Turks have plenty of food and ammunition, but are short of clothes and doctors. Weather has been nice and mild the last few days. A few chaps returned to the battalion from Lemnos last night.
9/12/15. — One of our signallers shot about 20 yards in front of our dugout yesterday by a sniper or a stray bullet — through the chest. He has a chance of pulling through. Hear this morning that while some of the 16th were out last night making a new firing line, in front of their present one, the Turks turned a machine-gun on them, and one man was shot dead and another through the stomach. Nice fine day. Nearly finished our dugout and humpy. Working day shift in the tunnel, 12 noon to 6 p.m. One of our planes overhead this morning — usual shelling.
10/12/15.— Went to Dr. Storey (13th doctor), got boil lanced, and had day off duty. A good deal of shelling going on, but our position not affected. A machine-gun was playing on our position after dark, and J.L. got shot through the neck, and another chap in the elbow, and several had narrow shaves. Can’t make out how Turks can bring a gun to bear on these chaps. Also a good few shots coming from Turks’ machine-gun on ground around and below our dugouts.
11/12/15.— Fine day. Off duty with boil on neck. One of the D Company got shot in the leg — broken — probably done by a sniper. One of the 14th machine-gunners also got shot through the chest while on the gun. We hear rumours that the hospitals are to be cleared, and that there is to he something doing shortly. The warships bombarded a good deal this afternoon. There are also rumours that the Russians are advancing on Constantinople, and have given Turks notice for non-combatants to leave within 24 hours; but we hear so many rumours that we can believe nothing. Our dugout is very comfortable now; it is quite elaborate, and we shall be sorry to leave it. There is a good deal of machine-gun fire at night.
12/12/15. — Nice weather; things quiet, various rumours as to our advance and as to our brigade moving elsewhere for the winter, but nothing one can place. Usual shelling by both sides, but nothing out of the way. Saw three planes up at once this evening. Two were ours, and one went pretty low, and the Turks went pretty close with shrapnel, but did not hit it. Quiet night, but can, of course, always hear a few bombs going round Quinn’s Post way and Walker’s Ridge, and the Apex, near us.
13/12/15. — Fine sunny day. Ships sending the Turks a few shells. Looks like rain, it is so warm. Still a few going away sick — tonsilitis, jaundice, etc. It. is said (evening) that the 15th Battalion headquarters go this evening, and iron rations are being served out, so there is evidently something doing. Evacuation rumoured, but we don’t know.
14/12/15. — All sorts of rumours floating round about our leaving here, but nothing authentic. N.Z. Engineers and a good many Australian troops are fixing barbed wire across gully below us, and the sick have gone. Very quiet, today.
15/12/15. — Colder and windy. Quiet last night, except for a bit of a rally and some bombs somewhere on the right. Warships giving the Turks a few shells this morning, and a Turk’s machine-gun is rattling away at some of our chaps down the valley as I write. Rumours that the Germans have forced their way through Servia.
16/12/15. — Fine day. Evacuation operations still going on smoothly; 15th Battalion have gone. Went into trenches at 4 p.m. — in all night. Quiet on our position, but a fair bit of rifle fire and bomb-throwing on the right. Moonlight night, cloudy, and a little rain towards morning. Not so cold as we might expect.
17/11/15. — Fine days; in trenches, quiet. Five hospital ships lying on beach — operations for evacuation going on smoothly. Quiet at night, but hear that Beachy Bill lobbed a couple of shells on the beach and killed 13. There was a big bonfire on beach; no doubt that attracted them. In supports myself.
18/12/15.— Very quiet, and apparently everything going on smoothly so far. In supports till 4 p.m. Got orders to report to Lieut. Barton at 7.30 p.m., when he sent myself and two other men to report to Colonel Dane of the 14th, and found we had to fall in, in rear of the 14th, after their machine-gunners. Left with them for beach about 8.30 p.m., and went to beach (having only a few halts in the saps), and everything going very smoothly. When we were on beach a couple of shells, apparently from Beachy Bill, burst on our left a bit up the hill, and in line with the bonfire which was burning on the beach (stores, etc., being destroyed), but did no harm, apparently. We got on board a lighter and on board ss. —— ; everything going like clockwork. A few bullets from machine-guns came close overhead in some of the saps going down, but otherwise we were not troubled at all, and there were no casualties. Every thing was managed splendidly. It was, of course. crowded on the —— , and we got little or no sleep, lying down anywhere. The crew were very obliging, and a fireman gave myself and a few others some bread and cheese and tea for supper. We left the beach about 11 p.m., the time we were scheduled for.
19/12/15. — Arrived in Mudros Harbour, Lemnos Island, early in the morning, and were transferred to H.M.S. —— , when we were given a real good breakfast — as much as we could eat — in the messrooms of the Jack Tars, who waited on us. They were real good chaps, and different from the English “ai, chum” soldiers we have met. It appears the spread given us was from the ship’s canteen, and the expense was borne by the ship’s company. They could not have treated us better. Afterwards we went ashore and marched to a camp which bad been prepared for us. We three of the 13th paid a visit to the town of Mudros, and later in the afternoon some more (about 100) of the 13th arrived. To-night as I write the brigade band is playing the old 13th tune. Pretty tired, and glad to turn in.
20/12/15.— The rest of the 13th (and the other troops from Anzac) arrived in two batches, the last about 4.30. The band played them into camp, and the boys lined up and cheered them. Brigadier Monash made a speech, in which he said all our men from Anzac (45,000) have been got off the peninsula with only three casualties (these from stray bullets, I think). A marvellous military achievement, for which I think a lot, if not most, of the credit is due to the navy. We were all very glad to see that the chaps who had remained to the last had got away safely, and that the whole operation had been a complete success. We hear there is trouble on the Canal, and we may go there. We are short of tents, and have about 17 men in each, which is very uncomfortable.
21/12/15.— Windy and raining last night, and windy and muddy to-day. On picket in village of Mudros. Crowded with our own and English and French troops, and hard to get any food. Some of the French Senegalese troops were moving off somewhere to-night. The names of those of us who were at the first landing at Anzac, and also at the evacuation, were taken for some reason (it is said possibly for furlough).
22/12/15.— On picket in the village. 4th Brigade, now all in camp.
23/12/15.— Had a little drill. Heard that Greece had declared war on Bulgaria and that Roumania had joined Allies. Cold.
24/11/15.— Christmas Eve— cold and raining. No parade. Told we are on picket to-morrow in village. Feel pretty crook, and have boils on neck.
25/12/15.— Christmas Day; sick and off duty. A German Taube dropped some bombs, they say, on foreshores. Fine, but a bit chilly.
29/12/15. — Left camp at Lemnos about 4 p.m., and went aboard ss. —— .
2/1/16.— Arrived off Alexandria, and anchored about [6?] a.m., and got alongside wharf at 10.30 a.m.
3/1/16. — Arrived at lsmailia, on Suez Canal, and went into camp on Sandy Desert, just out of town.