Anzac

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sherri
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Anzac

Post by sherri » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:51 am

Saw some photos of commemorative art from Gloucestershire, England.
Very effective, I thought.
Probably suitable for ANZAC day too.


Image

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I've lately been putting together some of the family history too, and here's a small bit of a letter written from Gallipoli by a distant ancestor.
Some people might be interested to read it. This was one of the last big offensives & all to no avail as the Turks took the area again a couple of days later.

It was now 2am on Sunday, August 8th. We advanced out of the gully, and at the entrance met a Battalion who took over our position while we charged. We marched over our lines and into the enemies country and daylight came as we climbed down a gully. We were ordered to fix bayonets - and no shooting.
We crossed the gully and climbed up the other side, and when we reached the top in single file, an officer stationed there said to each man as he passed, "Now lads, at the double, for your life." When we got to the top we found the reason for his advice.
We were on an originally-cultivated plain (that was three quarters of a mile long) which we had to cross to get shelter from shrubs, three feet high, on the other side; the Turks being only a quarter of a mile away and entrenched in the shape of a semi-circle.
You can bet we doubled! I beat Donaldson's time by seconds.

All the way across the field we were accompanied by the zip-zip from Turkish machine-guns. Our men dropped fast, but not as fast as we would have thought. The Turkish guns seemed to aim too high.
We reached the bushes, and after a few minutes' rest with enemy bullets and shrapnel finding our men among the scrub, on we went again. We went along the rise in full view of the Turks, the bushes just coming up to our knees. Then, down into the gully, up another hill, and, advancing at two paces interval, we went down the hill towards the Turks.
Some men reached the Turkish trenches, but did not return; some are prisoners in Constantinople; the rest are on the Roll of Honour. The main body of us got as close as possible, then out came entrenching tools, and we were digging for dear life to get a heap of dirt in front of us. On our right were the Sikhs, and on our left, the Gurkhas, all digging as hard as possible; one man would dig for a few minutes while his mate kept firing, and vice-versa.
We kept this up for a couple of hours, and had just made rifle and machine-gun shelters, when the order came to retire. We had suffered much, and the Turks in front were too many for us. We only had two machine-guns with us, and when we retired the machine-guns took up positions on the hills near our old firing-line, and fired lead into the Turks as fast as they could while we retired.
Amidst heavy shrapnel, we carried the wounded as best we could, and fell back to our old positions.

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jeff
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Re: Anzac

Post by jeff » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:56 pm

Very appropriate Sherri. I don't know if you have a copy of Patsy Adam-Smith's book "The Anzacs" - some really heartbreaking stories and of course the story of J Simpson Kirkpatrick..the Man with the Donkey.
Your mention of Gloucestershire also brought back this memory and is related to my friend Roger Exell in Melbourne.

I found this recently on TROVE Digital Newspaper Archive.

Extract from Coombe Gazette Wootton under Edge Gloucestershire. September 20th 1917
Gallant Colonials wounded together...sons of a Woottonian.
Among the servicemen at present at Wootton under Edge on leave are two Australian soldiers, nephews of Mr Robert Exell of Coombe, where they are staying...are the sons of William Exell a native of Wootton under Edge who went to Australia at the age of 18 and who resides in Melbourne.

They joined in the early days of the war and have 18 months service in France. Both belong to the Australian Artillery.

These gallant colonials were both wounded at the Battle of Bullecourt on....last....
The youngest, Gunner Ernest Exell aged 21 was badly injured in the ........
The other, Gunner William Exell, when carrying his brother out was also ......injuries to the hand. This however was not known to Ernest who was unconscious. Both were taken to Boulogne Hospital though neither knew of the other's wherabouts, although only two wards apart.

Eventually....came to hospital in Weymouth and the other in Brighton though they were unaware of ech other's whereabouts until they met at Charfield Station (Glos).

The brothers, who return to duty on Tuesday are immensely pleased......first visit
to the scenes of their father's boyhood.

(...........unreadable in the TROVE copy.)

The commemorative figures mentioned by Sherri were in fact in the parish church at Slimbridge just a few miles from Wootton under Edge.
There's nothing wrong with being mediocre........as long as you're good at it!

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sherri
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Re: Anzac

Post by sherri » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:11 pm

Very interesting, Jeff. Thank you

The section of letter I posted above was written by a young soldier, William, to his father in Birchip, Vic. It was an account of the battle of Sari Bair.
He survived the war, came back, married and had a family but died in June 1939 at the relatively young age of 51.

The more I look into the past, the more I realise that a lot of past generations certainly didn't have easy lives.

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