If only they knew, what we now know.
3rd Brigade War Diary
April 18th - LEMNOS
Transfer of stores
All fighting units cleared from MUDROS
Night landing practice from 'Queen' and 'London'
18.4.15 Warm day, some troops went ashore. Exercising horses on deck. A company of 12th Infantry came aboard, also a number of sailors.
3rd Brigade War Diary
April 19th - LEMNOS
Transfer of Engineer Parties to Malda, Dirwanha and Suffolk
Arrangement of echelon stores
12th Battalion split up between the 4 ships
Naval Ratings placed on all ships for transport, disembarking and signal work
Preliminary operation orders received from 1st Aust. Div.
19.4.15 Raining all day, unable to exercise horses, had a holiday. Mail from Australia came aboard
April 20th - LEMNOS
Operation Orders from Division received
Night landing practice
5 Bde Interpreters detailed
21.4.15 Wet day, had a swim in afternoon. All hands expecting to move any day soon, some very funny tales floating round about the Turks.
3rd Brigade War Diary
April 21th - LEMNOS
Conference Army and Navy at Div. Hqrs.
Detail of final orders
Bde Operation Orders issued
Verbal orders to C.O's by Brigadier
Cipher regwords given
22.4.15 A nice fine day, troops practising with the boat crew. Had a swim in the evening. Received a letter from Claire also Paper from home.
23.4.15 Exercising horses all day. Troops getting ready for the fight. Everybody excited, extra rations issued. A nice fine day.
Lt Col Lee addresses the men on deck and read out a Special Order from Col Sinclair-Maclagan, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Brigade. In it he says:
"I had hoped to have been able to see the battalions of my brigade personally and to put these few matters before you. Circumstances have prevented this, so I am asking your Commanding Officer to read you this letter."
"It is necessary you should understand that we are to carry out a most difficult operation, viz., 'Landing on an enemy coast in the face of opposition'. Such an operation requires complete harmony of working between the Navy and the Army and unhesitating and immediate compliance with all orders and instructions."
"You have been selected by the Divisional Commander as the covering force, a high honour, which we must all do our best to justify. We must be successful at any cost. Whatever footing we get on land must be held on to and improved by pushing onto our objective - the covering position, which we must get to as rapidly as possible, and once obtained must be held at all costs and even to the last man."
"In an operation of this kind there is no going back. We shall be reinforced, as the Navy can land troops, and meantime 'Forward' is the word until onto our position, when 'Hang on' is what we have to do until sufficient troops and guns are landed to enable us to push on."
"We must be careful not to give the enemy a chance of any kind; no smoking or lights or noise from midnight onwards till after daylight. Take every chance of reorganising (under cover, if possible). Attacks must be as rapid as the ground will allow. You will probably have to drop your packs; but carry tools forward as far as you can - it may mean saving many lives later in the day. Until broad daylight the bayonet is your weapon, and when you charge do so in as good a line as possible; one or two pieces of good bayonet work now may stand us all in good stead later on."
"Every man must keep his eyes skinned and help his officers and NCO's to the utmost by reporting things quickly seen. Look out for your flanks. After taking a charger out, shut the cartridge pocket. Once ashore don't be caught without a charger in the magazine. Look after each cartridge as if it were a 10 pound note."
"Good fire orders, direction, control and discipline will make the enemy respect your powers and give us all an easier task in the long run. Wild firing will only encourage the enemy. Keep your food and water very carefully; we don't know when we shall get any more."
"Don't show yourselves over the skyline and give your position away if you can avoid it."
"We must expect to be shelled in our positions, but remember that this is part of this game of war, and we must 'stick it' no matter what the fire. One thing I want you to remember all through this campaigning work is this, and it is very important: you may get orders to do something which appears in your positions is the wrong thing to do, and perhaps a mad enterprise. Do not cavil at it, but carry it our wholeheartedly and with absolute faith in your leaders, because we are after all only a very small piece on the board. Some pieces have often to be sacrificed to win the game, and after all it is to win the game that we are here."
"You have a very good reputation that you have built up by yourselves, and now we have a chance of making history for Australia and a name for the 3rd Brigade that will live in history. I have absolute faith in you and believe few, if any, finer brigades have ever been put to the test."
April 24th. All the troops got a bit excited as this was the day we got orders to have everything ready to leave the Malda.
We left the Malda and embarked on a torpedo destroyer and subsequently boarded the H.M.S. Queen. At about noon we left the harbour at Mudros on the battleship. There are a lot of things of interest to be seen on a battleship and we kept ourselves busy looking around.
24.4.15 Cloudy in the morning. Torpedo boat took off A and B Companies from "Malda" at 11am. C and D Companies went off at 2 o'clock, remainder at midnight. Exercising horses in morning, all the ships preparing to move.
As the extreme right flank of the landing, the 9th Battalion was to be landed at the southern most portion of the Brighton Beach landing zone and tasked with securing the right flank of the line by taking the heavily fortified guns of Gaba Tepe and the lower slopes of the 3rd Ridge (Gun Ridge) around Andersons Knoll.
Once those positions were taken they were to hold on, to the last man if necessary, until follow up forces landing later in the day from the 1st and 2nd Brigades would sweep through and drive on towards the main objective of Mal Tepe.
A and B Companies leave the Malda and board HMS Queen and head for Imbros Island.
And then they faced their own sheer hell.
|Knitted and crocheted poppies in Melbourne|
Photo: William Sydney Duchesne died on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign. (Supplied: David Duchesne)
Written from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) camp at Mena, in the Egyptian desert, these were among the last words the family of the young officer, known as Syd, received from their beloved son and brother.
From Egypt, Syd travelled to the Greek island of Lemnos and onto the battlefields of Gallipoli, where he was killed in action on April 25, 1915 - exactly one month before his 21st birthday.
The story of Syd is not an extraordinary one in the context of the time.
The young soldier was one of more than 20,000 who sailed in the first contingent of Anzac troops from Albany on November 1, and he was one of an estimated 903 Australians and New Zealanders who died on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign.
Over 8,000 more young Australians were to die on the battlefields of Gallipoli and 61,522 Australians were to die by the time the war finally ended in 1918.
From a 2015 perspective, it is almost impossible to imagine a generation of young men willingly signing up to fight a battle on the other side of the world under the banner of the British Empire.
But Syd's poignant letter home provides a deeply personal insight into the mind of a young recruit, who "was ready to give what is most precious to all - that is our life".
Suburban upbringing in beachside SydneySyd grew up near the beach in Waverley, Sydney, the eldest son of Edwin and Rachael Duchesne and was a keen sportsman, playing for the Manly Juniors rugby team.
Military matters had long interested him and he joined the army when he left school, training with the 39 Militia Battalion as second lieutenant.
When war broke out in August 1914 he immediately applied to join the AIF, and was appointed as a second lieutenant in the 1st Battalion.
Training began in western Sydney soon afterwards, and by mid-October Syd and the rest of his battalion marched through the pouring rain to Woolloomooloo, where they boarded HMAT Afric a British steamer requisitioned by the Australian government for use as a troop transport ship.
The ship arrived in King George Sound in Albany, on Western Australia's south coast, on October 25, joining 15 other troop ships already gathered there.
On November 1, Syd was among almost 21,000 members of the first AIF contingent to leave for war, glimpsing the land of his birth for the last time as HMAT Afric steamed out of the Sound.
The ship was part of a 36-vessel convoy to leave Albany that day, escorted - at least initially - by the Australian cruisers HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne, as well as HMS Orvieto and Japanese cruiser Ibuki.'
Syd and his fellow soldiers on board believed they were on the way to England for further training, but a lack of accommodation and suitable facilities meant they were instead sent to Egypt.
Photo: Syd Duschene (sixth from the left in front row) trained at Mena camp in Egypt before heading to Gallipoli. (Supplied: David Duschene)
The ship arrived in Alexandria in early December and the Australians and New Zealanders were sent to a training camp at Mena, about 16km from Cairo.
Syd penned several letters home from here, but his final one, dated January 31, 1915 is the only one to have survived.
Letter reinforces reasons for signing upAddressed to "My Dear Father, Mother, George and Annie", Syd talks about the weather - "beginning to get warm" - and the evening entertainment on offer in the camp - "four picture shows, two boxing stadiums".
He refers to his sweetheart Rita, whose photo he has positioned next to his swag so "when I am in bed she is looking over me and taking care of me", and asks the family to send a photo of themselves so he can put it beside hers.
But the purpose of his mission is never far from Syd's mind, and he is at pains to remind his family that he is doing the right and honourable thing by joining the war effort.
Tell them, Dad, that for them and our country we who are from Australia are ready to give what is most precious to all - that is our lifeSyd Duschene, in a letter to his family
"Tell them, Dad, that for them and our country, we who are from Australia are ready to give what is most precious to all - that is our life," he writes.
"That if by doing so we help to keep you all safe and free and tell Mother and Aunt Ada that I wish them to remember the text of one of Canon Vaughan's sermons 'Weep not for the Dead but for the Living'.
"If by chance my time has come to leave this world I wish not for a better death than one on the battlefield helping Englishmen keep our Empire in freedom.
"I know that my father will only be too pleased to know that his son was able to go and take the share of his family's safekeeping."
Syd was upset to hear his mother had been worrying about him, and implored his father to reassure her.
"... the chief thing I want Mother to understand is that she [is] not to worry over me .... If my time to die has arrived, well I shall die a soldier as it was my wish to be a soldier and a man."
He signed off with another plea: "Mother don't worry I am enjoying myself and am happy."
"Remember mother I am only a son and that many a husband with families are here and it is for them who we must pray that they be spared to return to their wives and families, and not for us single boys, who have nobody depending on us."
Syd's battalion was in the third wave to land at Gallipoli on April 25, disembarking at Hell Spit early in the morning before receiving orders to reinforce the 3rd brigade in their struggle to take the high ground known as Baby 700.
The ensuing fiercely-fought battle saw the Australians take the hill five times before being pushed back five times.
It was during this series of battles that Syd was killed, although the details of his death remain unclear.
His identity tag was recovered by a New Zealand officer and returned to his family in 1920.
I read these stories, and wonder what would Monty have written to his mother?
"Don't worry mother, I will be alright. You just make sure you look after my sisters"
Somehow I think that would be what he would say.
Ali Zeynels' (Major) Grave
Anafarta Village Cemetery Memorial
Halid (First Lt) & Ali Rıza's (2nd Lt) Graves
Halit (Lt-Col) & Ziya's (Lt-Col) Graves
Kireçtepe Gendarmes' Memorial & Cemetery
4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery
7th Field Ambulance Cemetery
Anzac Ceremonial Site
Baby 700 Cemetery
Beach Cemetery (The)
Chunuk Bair Cemetery
Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial Wall
Chunuk Bair New Zealand National Memorial
Courtney’s and Steel’s Post Cemetery
Embarkation Pier Cemetery
Farm Cemetery (The)
Hill 60 (New Zealand) Memorial
Hill 60 Cemetery
Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery
Lone Pine (Australian & NZ) Memorial
Lone Pine Cemetery
Nek Cemetery (The)
New Zealand no 2 Outpost Cemetery
No 2 Outpost Cemetery
Plugge’s Plateau Cemetery
Quinn’s Post Cemetery
Shell Green Cemetery
Shrapnel valley Cemetery
Walker’s Ridge Cemetery
57th Infantry Regiments' Cemetery & Memorial
Atatürk's Arıburnu Memorial
Hüseyin Avni Manastırs' (Lt-Col) Grave
Istanbul University Memorial
|At the Going Down of the Sun|
Kocadere Hospital Cemetery
Lone Pine (Kanlı Sırt-Bloody Ridge) Memorial
Mehmets' (Captain) Grave
Mehmets' (Sergeant) Memorial
Nazif Çakmaks' (First Lt) Memorial
Soldier's (respect to Turkish) Memorial
Soldiers' (unknown) Grave & Memorial (Chunuk Bair)
|And in the morning|
Akbaş Cemetery & Memorial
Ali Riza's (First Lt) Memorial
Bouvet (battleship) Memorial
Çamburnu Cemetery Memorial
Halileli Battery Cemetery
Hamidiye Battery Cemetery
Hospital Hill Cemetery
Intepe Battery Cemetery
Mecidiye Cemetery & Memorial
Tahirs' (Captain) Memorial
Unknown Artillery Captains' Grave
76 Cemeteries scattered across one small Peninsula and probably the same number of Turkish sites.
|We shall Remember Them|
A minute’s silence
When the guns finally fell silent on 11 November 1918, England burst into joyous celebration. But a Melbourne journalist living in London at the time, Edward Honey, felt that the four long years of war called for more sombre reflection and suggested that the nation pause for a moment of silence.
A few months later, Sir Percy FitzPatrick, a South African author and politician whose son was killed in action in 1917, put forward the same idea to the British Cabinet. It is unclear whether Edward and Percy ever discussed their proposals but in any case, it soon drew the attention of King George V.
The period of silence was shortened to two minutes after a trial at Buckingham Palace and a week before the first anniversary of Armistice Day; the King proclaimed that all normal activities across the Commonwealth should cease at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” so that “in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”
As the years passed by, one minute’s silence began to be incorporated in Anzac Day ceremonies as well to provide a time for reflection.
There had to be some sort of expression which would help to rationalise the unbearable circumstances of their lives, and some way to obtaining relief from the shock of it all, and since tears were impossible this callous hard-boiled laughter became the thing. They were not fatalists.
They believed that a mistake had been made in the landing at Gabatepe and that they might easily have to pay for it with their lives : but they very much wanted to go on living, they were all for the battle and they hoped and believed obscurely that in the end they would win.
Gallipoli, (Ware 1997), Alan Moorehead, p. 148
With many Chinese immigrants in the country, the only choice for a bride was with an Irish or English girl. This is story of Billy Sing. A bit of a larrikan, as many of the soldiers were.
While researching this period of time, I often thought about my great uncle and his life, and indeed of the children of my great aunt. How did they cope?
This is the story of William Edward Sing. He probably has some sort of relationship to our Chinese cousins, as the Sing family from Cleremont has links with Sam Young's nephew.
The Chinese community stayed close to each other, as can be learnt from all different newspaper reports of their activities, good or bad. They grew crops, they traded gold, and they ran stores and worked as labourers or miners.
But in the mid 1880's there were 4000 working in Cleremont, the town must have been quite lively.
William Sing's family lived at Sandy Creek, and his father was a market gardener. But it was what William did, and what he faced as a soldier that is remarkable.
Abdul was one of Sing’s 201 confirmed Gallipoli kills, though he probably took the lives of many more Turks –there was not always a spotter to verify kills, and it was sometimes difficult to
The Croix de guerre ("War Cross"; Dutch: Oorlogskruis; German: Kriegskreuz), is a military decoration of the Kingdom of Belgium established by royal decree on 25 October 1915 It was primarily awarded for bravery or other military virtue on the battlefield.
The award was reestablished on 20 July 1940 by the Belgian government in exile for recognition of bravery and military virtue during World War II The post-1940 decoration could also be awarded to units that were cited. The decoration was again reestablished by royal decree on 3 April 1954 for award during future conflicts.
In 1942, he left the district for Brisbane. He told his sister Beatrice that it might be cheaper to live in the city.
In December, Sing was living in Brisbane and took on a labouring job. It did little to help his poor health. A workmate, Joe Taylor, who had also mined with him on the Miclere goldfield, later recalled that Sing was stubborn and would never see a doctor.
Billy's Gallipoli reputation faded from memory with the increasing number of Anzacs who passed away each year.
On Wednesday, May 19, 1943, William Edward Sing's aorta ruptured and he died alone in his room at the house where he boarded in 304 Montague Road, West End. He was 57.
Apart from five shillings, which were found in his room, and six pounds ten shillings and eight pence, owed to him in wages, the only thing of value left by Billy was a hut, probably on the Miclere claim, worth twenty pounds. It was a pathetic postscript to the life of a man whose name was once known to an army and a nation.
From The Courier Mail 2014 GRANTLEE KIEZA April 23, 2014 12:00AM
Historian Alistair McEwen, who is due to give a talk in April on the pipers as part of Scotland’s war commemorations, said: “The high death toll led the government to ban pipers leading their comrades into battle, but the pipers defied this order. Many battalions lost all their pipers more than once but there was never any difficulty in getting fresh men to take their place.”
McEwen began his research from a 1920 book, The Pipes Of War – A Record Of The Achievements Of Pipers Of Scottish And Overseas Regiments During The War 1914-18.
The first occasion on which pipers played troops into action is believed to have been at Givenchy on 25 January, 1915, when the 1st Black Watch suffered heavy casualties.
Private James Kerr, a piper in the King's Own Scottish Borderers fought at Gallipoli in June 1915. He kept a diary of his experience.
The Scottish Bagpipes and Gallipoli