14th 1915 Monday Examined
and proclaimed fit by Dr Warne.
16th Some of the gang
spent the evening with me.
17th Sworn in at Sturt
18th Arrived at Seymour
Military Camp. Made Acting Corporal.
Tent mates: Sergt.
Edwards, Boyle, Corp Stack, Stillman
19th Fatigue Work
20th Regimental Orderly
8th Left Seymour for
final leave. Appointed Provisional Corp.
9th Home again and a soft
bed last night. Saw Scotch v Grammar.
10th Went to Dulcie’s
12th Back again to camp
by 6:35p.m. train. Had afternoon tea with Dulcie.
23rd Schemed some more
leave from Major hart.
24th Dulcie’s again.
Red Letter Day.
26th Back again to camp.
4th 1st Anniversary of
the war. Divine service in camp and half holiday.
6th Norman wounded
dangerously in Gallipoli.
7th Evening at Mrs
Mulhall’s and at the Clydedales.
8th Mother and the girls
came out to Seymour. Tea at Mrs Mulhall’s.
Had to look after Mr
13th Left Seymour and
took up new quarters at Broadmeadows.
21st Sid and Hugh came
out to Camp.
22nd Said goodbye to K.K.
24th Busy issuing
25th Home for the last
time. Saw Mrs Miller.
26th Dulcie’s birthday
and date of the embarkation for front via Egypt per "H.M.A.Transport
27th Just a little sick
31st Very bad weather in
2nd Arrived at Freemantle
and departed the same evening. Address Jeanette King, Leslie St, Mt
Leeveley W.A. One man wishing to liven things up a bit fell overboard.
17th First saw the low
lying hills of Africa. First land sighted since leaving Freemantle.
18th Sports held on boat
deck. The 24th won Tug-of-War, passing the ball and came out winners.
19th Communion Service
held on board T.S.S. ANCHILES.
24th Arrived at Port Suez
and dropped anchor at 6.30 a.m.
25th Spent waiting to
disembark and trying to learn the nigger’s lingo.
26th Disembarked at Port
Suez and trained to Zeitoun. Was much impressed by the wonderful country
we travelled through and the great irrigation system. Found out that
Ginger had contracted sunstroke and left on the Friday previous.
27th First drill on the
desert. Route march through Zeitoun. They feed us jolly well here, and
we sleep on wicker beds in great Indian huts.
28th Visited Heliopolis
in the evening. A fine city indeed, composed of large symmetrical
buildings. Found out from Corp Kemp of the 8th Light Horse that Norman
had returned to Australia.
29th Saw Cairo for the
first time and was not impressed by the inner city. The outer city,
however, contains many beauty spots. I much enjoyed a canter round.
30th Orderly Corporal.
1st Birthday in Egypt.
Route march in afternoon through the great irrigation area. Received
orders to proceed to the front on Monday morning the 3rd prox. Great
rejoicing. Evening spent in correspondence. 1st letter home.
2nd No parage morning.
Inoculated for the 3rd time. Open camp from 12 a.m. went to Cairo,
pyramids and saw the wonder of the Sphinx. Six thousand years old and
probably last for another five thousand.
3rd Church parade at
8.45. Pay 1:0:7 (pounds) Went to Cairo in the evening.
4th Reveille 3.30 a.m. ;
Breakfast 4 a.m. ; March out 4.45 a.m. from Zeitoun Camp and entrained
for Alexander at 4.30 p.m. Our ship is the "Menominee". She
has been an old cattle boat and still retains many of her old
characteristics – notably smell. There are sheep and goats on board;
they add to the general comfort(?) of all. Went to sleep early and slept
well. Early this morning I wrote a long letter to Dulcie and one to
Father. Am dead tired.
Departs Egypt to Lemnos
5th Lay at Alexander
until 5 p.m. ; then up anchored and left for the Dardenelles.
Found out that this tub
is the same Norman travelled over by.
6th Some poor beggar fell
overboard, and in spite of attempted rescue, was lost.
One less for the Turks!
Found out late to-day that two French transports and a store ship were
sunk two hours sail in front of us. If there had been no delay
occasioned by the man overboard incident, we, too, would probably have
met the same fate.
7th Wrote home to D.B.,
8th Sighted the Isles of
Greece early this morning. A beautiful sunrise. No wonder Byron went
into ecstasies over the Isles of Greece. 6 p.m. Ran in an anchored at
Mudros Bay, Lemnos Isle. Great numbers of men-o-war in port. 72 hours
9th Lie at anchor all
day. Went in for a swim from the ship’s side. Food on board is very
meagre, consisting of bully-beef, jam, bread all the worse for age. Soup
we get occasionally and porridge was served till we refused to eat it.
As a couple of naval officers came aboard to-day some one queried in a
stentorian voice "Where in hell is this --- argument we came to
10th Church parade this
morning. A manly address was given by the Colonel. Stole the ship’s
dingy in the evening, went ashore at Lemnos. Battalions 1-14 are resting
there. Saw Merne Gardiner and several Public school fellows. N.B. It is
rumoured that we may get salt in our soup and sugar in our tea, but
no-one believes it.
Leaves Lemnos and Arrives
11th Tranship from the
"Menominee" to H.M.S. "Sarena". Left Lemnos at 2
p.m. and landed ANZAC at 10 p.m. Upon the heights the crack and boom of
guns welcomed us. Camped at White’s Gully.
12th Addressed by Major
Watson. Attached to No 3 Platoon A Company 24th Battalion. Saw Alan Keir,
Fat Edgerton (Old Wesley boys) up to the trenches at 10.30 for a
night’s sapping. There met Johnson (Wesley 1912) Saw my first Turk,
but missed. No second chances given.
13th Saw Warne-Smith,
Gamble and Mirling, Old Wesley boys. Had dinner and tea in their dugout,
about 1 and a half miles from here. We ran over Barwon head days and all
the good times there. Back to the trench for more sapping. Heard of J.D.
Burn’s death. Poor J.D.!
14th First mail left
Melbourne Sept 2nd. Letters from Mother Edie, Edit Miller, Hugh
Clarkson. Again spent evening reading "The Lion" with my old
15th Demonstration night.
Had to stand-to. Evening spent in writing Craig in Ginger’s dugout.
16th. March back to the
trenches just in time for a pretty little ’75 bombardment. Only lasted
an hour, but damaged our trench some. First bomb throw. Not such a bad
attempt either. Did plenty of sniping through the night.
17th A heavy bombardment
during the morning. Mr Turk blew a sap on us and we sustained one death
and several casualties.
18th Abdul is having a
religious demonstration to-day. We went to the Beach for two hours; then
back again to the trenches. Mail. Letters from Dulcie and Hugh.
19th A good rest in the
20th On duty. No 17 post
and sap. Bodies of dead Australian who fell in attack on Lone Pine are
within 5 yards of this post.
21st Sent letters to
Harry, C. Craig, Mother Edie, D.B., K.K., W. Clarkson; E.M.; Syd Smith.
22nd A few hours spell in
White’s Gully. Had supper with ginger in his dugout. Menu: Cake,
chocolate, sweets, bread and jam, water. Quite the best since leaving
23rd Brown’s dip.
24th Quiet day in the
trenches. In charge of the Posts No. 14, 15, 16 and Sap L. P. 7. Ginger
had an experience of trench life and showed his red hair to its best
25th TWO WEEKS IN
26th Malcolm sent to
hospital with Enteric fever.
27th Resting in White’s
Gully. Supper with Ginger and Smith in Shrapnel Gully.
28th Nineteen weeks since
enlisting. Sent letters to : Miss White, Mrs Mulhall, Miss Barnett,
29th Had a great chance
for a shot at a Turk one hundred yards off. "Tommy" officer in
the road. He was looking through my loop-hole and I, over his shoulder.
"There’s a Turk", I cried. "A Turk! Where?, he queried,
and then jammed his head and eyes into the hole. Needless to say Abdul
escaped. Ivor’s birthday and combined sports.
30th Relieved for
White’s Gully. Supper with Ivor. Went for a swim in the evening at
31st Divine Service and
Communion held on hill side at White’s Gully.
1st In the trenches. No 6
post. All quiet. Three weeks in Gallipoli.
2nd Turks bombarded (D)
section and damaged parapets in parts. Saw a 4.75 shell pass through the
sandbags within feet of me.
3rd Got a spell in
White’s Gully for the night. Still waiting for mail. First water for
4th A demonstration was
given at Lone pine. More firing all along the line than I have yet
heard. War ships added their noise to the already terrific din, and the
field artillery made themselves well known. Mail arrived but not yet
distributed. Sent letters to Millie and Sid Smith.
5th Twenty weeks since
entering camp, and still going strong. Turks bombarded us to make up for
the previous night. Received letters from Mother, H. Clarkson, Mrs
Miller. More to come.
6th Plenty of shooting
between 12 p.m. and 2 a.m. Turks putting up barbed wire entanglements.
In spite of heavy fire they partly succeeded.
7th Mail. Letters from
Mother, Dulcie, K.K.(2), Edith Miller (photo). Saw Ginger and Ivor and
helped to lighten a hamper they had received.
8th Received papers from
home, and a parcel containing socks and a washer from D.B. and I.B.
Supped(?) with Walter Gamble and Ivor and made indigestible pancakes.
Fatigue work all day at Brown’s Dip.
9th Lone Pine. On guard
L.P.8. Bit of an explosion between 11 p.m. and 12. Nothing serious
except being covered with earth.
10th A quiet day at Lone
Pine. Spent writing Christmas mail home.
11th Down in the Gully
12th Orderly and despatch
rider to colonel Watson, 24th Batt.
13th Despatch rider t the
Colonel. Managed to get some of his brekker (breakfast?)
11 a.m. Back to the
14th Christmas mail for
Australia closes to-day. Sent letter to:- Mother, Mrs Miller, Mr Mulhall,
Miss Barnett, Dorothy, Hugh Clarkson. PC’s to Dad, K.B., L.A. Adamson,
Sid Smith. Received letter from Harry-Flight Lieutenant.
15th KITCHENER LANDED AT
ANZAC and highly praised Australian Troops. Three weeks at Gallipoli.
Making terraces in Monash Gully. Saw Ginger in his dug-out. A deuce of a
storm-rain, lightning and thunder in plenty. Was forced owing to
inclemency of weather to stay where I was and make shift for a bed in
Ginger’s dug-out, never the less managed to have a good sleep while
the heavens poured out its fill.
16th Progress on left.
English loose heavily. Sent mail to Sidm Harry, Miss Kenny and K.K. Hill
60. A footing was gained here to-day at great cost, also ridge W taken.
17th fierce strom at
night. Trenches swamped. Wet through. Turks opened up a heavy fire, but
we replied with a heavier. Progress reported on left.
18th Big bombardment of
the Narrows. Saw Murphy B Company, late of 3rd Reinforcements, lost an
eye bya bullet wound. NEWS TO HAND THAT XMAS MAIL TO AUSTRALIA WAS SUNK.
19th White’s Gully
20th Brown’s Dip
21st Lone Pine
22nd Lone Pine
23rd A well earned rest
in the Gully.
24th In the Pimple.
Managed to make ourselves comfortable.
25th My first experience
of going on patrol. Three of us left our trenches and wormed our way
towards Turks. Found out some useful information and nearly ran into a
couple of parties of Turks. On way back a flare went up and a machine
gun turned on us. Flare went out suddenly and all escaped scatheless.
26th Cold night in the
trenches. Everything fairly quiet. Four hours on and two hours off.
Fairly stiff. We are worked right up to the hilt. Am still in the best
of health, however, which is more than a great number of the Battalion
27th Supports at
Brown’s Dip. Supports to trenches – trenches to supports with hardly
a spell seems to be our luck these days. Weather terribly cold, but
slept snugly in a cosy dugout.
28th Snow fell heavily
all last night and this morning Gallipoli is one beautiful white carpet.
The beauty of the scenery however, is lost upon us, owing to severe
cold. 25 degrees below freezing point. Slept in a snug tunnel with some
6th Battalion chaps. Fine chaps indeed, and made us welcome on their
29th Biggest bombardment
the Peninsula has ever yet seen. Lone Pine the centre of operations. The
24th Battalion lost heavily – about 240 casualties. Cold intense and
snow thick. Four men killed on my post. How I escaped passes my
understanding. Everyone praying for water that is unobtainable. Water
will be the big question here soon. Some terrible scenes here: Most
horrid shapes and shrieks and sights unholy.
30th Plenty of work to do
after bombardment. Battalion especially commended by General Birdwood
for gallantry under the most trying circumstances. Snow thick on ground
and cold intense.
1st Relieved for a few
hours and spent them in sunshine in the Gully. Water still a great
trouble. No stew for days. Half a pint of tea for breakfast and tea.
Snow still on ground.
2nd Advanced two mile on
left and took 800 prisoners. Still in Lone Pine. Water absolutely
impossible to obtain. Winter rations commenced. Half tin of milk issued
as a gift. Wrote to Mother, Harry, Dulcie. 1600 bags of mail reported to
be on beach. Expect letters and parcel. Nearly three weeks since last
3rd 24 weeks since
entering camp. A bomb duet at night with new Japanese bombs.
4th Fairly quiet day at
Lone Pine. Did plenty of bombing in the evening. George hariot and
Parker Brown promoted to 2nd Lieutenants. Elwood puts up second star.
5th Relieved from Lone
Pine for 24 hours. Went down to the Beach and had dinner with some
Indians. Fed on Johnny cakes and curry butter and fruit. First decent
meal for weeks. Made great friends with the fellows and promised to
visit them again. Had a beautiful sleep in our improved dug-out and woke
up a new man.
6th Eight weeks in
Gallipoli. Had letters from Mother two months old and one from Sid Smith
and K. Kerry. Wrote to Sid. Saw Ivor and Walter and supplied them with
dinner. Back to trenches at 1.30 p.m. to The Pimple.
7th Received mail from
home. Letters from Father, Edie, M, and Dulcie. Heard Norman had
returned home on four months furlough.
8th Porridge for
breakfast. Water bottles half filled. This is the first time they have
been wet for 25 days! Turks dropped a few big shells over to us in the
evening. Did more damage to themselves than to us. Two killed.
9th Slight bombardment in
our lines during morning.
10th Went through
Battalion orders as Lance Corporal. On joining our Battalion
reinforcement Non Coms had to give up their stripes and wait for
vacancies. At last promotion has come to me. Humble thought it is,
nevertheless it is a start.
11th Pimple Guard.
Letters from home came to light after taking nine weeks to cross from
Egypt. Parcel from Harry and letter from Edie Bombardment with 8.2
shells knocked place about a bit but made more noise than damage –
that’s the reason – their damage!
12th Rumours galore on
foot that Anzac is to be evacuated.
13th And now the rumours
and tales of yesterday seem to be of some truth. Preparation is
certainly being made for evacuation. What is all means we can only
guess, and then wildly. That Anzac is to be given up seems almost
14th Progress made prior
to evacuation. Supports withdrawn from ----- and went this evening. The
time is certainly drawing nigh when we are to go. It hurts to think that
this great venture may have to be written down as a failure. Behind it
all the Brains are working and we must trust them explicitly. What will
be the outcome of it all? There is but to wait and see:
"Our’s not to
Our’s but to do or
15th Managed to get down
to the Rest Gully after a very long spell in the trenches. Things are
being given away wholesale. Uniforms, tobacco and food of every
description. Feasted on strawberries and cream (canned), fruit salad and
stewed fruit, fish, tomatoes, jams of the choicest brands, butter and
well - , it would take a cook to mention all. I scarcely remember ever
feeding so well in my life. All stores given away, ready for evacuation.
16th To-night we are in
The Pimple in full marching order ready to move at a moment’s notice.
It is 9 o-clock. I have just come off duty, and in a cosy dugout am
writing up the stupendous events of the last few days. The candle burns
low and I must hurry. Early in the day I volunteered to be in the small
party to stay behind and fight the rear guard action- probably tomorrow
night. It will be a serious business and we will be very lucky if we
ever reach the Beach and boats, but at school I learnt this motto:
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" and I feel
composed, and , if possible, happy. One thing hurts above all others-
the graves of fallen heroes, friends and fellow schoolmates must be left
to be over run by Abdul. Perhaps the sentiment is foolish but
nevertheless it is there. It is possible this may be my last entry in
Anzac, and, in case the worst should happen and by any chance this diary
stray to the address in front, I take this opportunity of saying
farewell to all the loved ones at home and all my intimate friends.
17th Work! work! work!
From morning till night. Bombarding Abdul all night and getting plenty
back. Had several narrow escapes from results.
18th First party
19th THE GREAT DAY OF
EVACUATION. Busy all day preparing for the night. All ammunition and
bombs dumped Worked from 12 mid-day to 3 a.m. Monday without cessation.
Placed blankets in the trenches and muffled our feet. Only 32 left for
rear guard in Lone Pine which is garrisoned by 750 men. Had to work
about six posts each.
20th A few minutes after
midnight all departed except the absolutely last. Had to work like
Trojans. At 3 a.m. I fired the last shot at Lone Pine and we departed-
reaching the Beach in safety and got straight aboard. Off to Lemnos!
Landed at night and camped at West Meudros (Mudros?) after the most
trying 24 hours of my life. WOULD NOT HAVE MISSED IT FOR A MILLION.
Back at Mudros
21st Interviewed by the
Major who never expected to see us alive again. Heard that 4 hours after
we left Lone Pine was heavily bombarded and charged in force by the
Turks. BEAT THEM BY FOUR HOURS ONLY.
22nd Had a well earned
rest all day and fed well off the products of the island.
23rd Went for a route
march through the Island. Saw Carl Wood – an old Wesley friend and had
supper with him.
24th Issued with Billies
and puddings- Great! Mine contained Sardines, bloater paste, cigarettes,
tobacco, pipes, chocolates, butterscotch and lots of other good things.
Besides the best of Christmas wishes from Mrs Willshire of Adelaide, S.
25th At Mudros, and a
fine day, too. Church Parade and communion in the morning. The rest of
the day visited friends. Went round to Ivor’s and Ginger’s. Saw
McKay and Dolly Gray. Had tea and supper there and a five mile walk
home. Got there just before Sunday commenced.
26th Spent the day – a
beautiful one- with an old friend, Tom Batcher, who was wounded during
the bombardment at Lone Pine on Nov 29th. He is quite right, and we went
for a long walk over the island. Ran against Frank Mountjoy.
27th Came out in
Battalion Order as a full Corporal to date from Dec. 15th. So it appears
that promotion again came in the trenches of Lone Pine.
28th Route march to the
village of Condia and saw the old church and surroundings. These Greeks
are a century or two behind their time. Their ploughs would make a
Blackfellow laugh, and their only worry appears to be that they may
hurry a bit more than absolutely necessary.
29th Half holiday in
30th Plenty of work. Not
much of interest.
31st And now I come to
the last day of 1915. It has been a momentous year in history and a
great year for me. From an irresponsible school boy seven months have
seen me transformed into a soldier who has seen active service and all
the horrors of war. And still
Edgar’s diary finishes
here. The Australian War Memorial have a listing for his Diary but it is
not yet known if this is the original Diary or the original of the typed
version from which this was transposed.
His letters indicate he
kept a Diary for following years but the whereabouts of these is
unknown. Perhaps they sunk with other mail enroute back home.