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Category: Digger's Diaries

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Diary of

Corporal Edgar Sydney Worrall.

A Company, 24th Battalion

6th Infantry Brigade

Australian Imperial Force.

June 1915 to Dec 1915

One of the last men out of Gallipoli

Killed in Action in France 1917

Click for Debt of Honour

June 1915

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 Street Barracks.

18th Arrived at Seymour Military Camp. Made Acting Corporal.

Tent mates: Sergt. Edwards, Boyle, Corp Stack, Stillman

19th Fatigue Work

20th Regimental Orderly Corporal.


8th Left Seymour for final leave. Appointed Provisional Corp.

9th Home again and a soft bed last night. Saw Scotch v Grammar.

Grammar won.

10th Went to Dulcie’s for supper.

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 Cameron.

13th Left Seymour and took up new quarters at Broadmeadows.

15th Home

20th Home

21st Sid and Hugh came out to Camp.

22nd Said goodbye to K.K.

24th Busy issuing equipment.

25th Home for the last time. Saw Mrs Miller.

Departs Melbourne

26th Dulcie’s birthday and date of the embarkation for front via Egypt per "H.M.A.Transport AUCHISES" A.68

27th Just a little sick !!!

31st Very bad weather in the "Bight"


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. Rescued.

Departs Australia

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.

Arrives Egypt

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. ‘Nough said!


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., H.C., K.K.

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 trip.

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 settle"

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 Gallipoli

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 school mates.

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. Stations.

19th A good rest in the support trenches.

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 Egypt.

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 advantage.


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, Harry.

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 Anzac Cove.

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 72 hours

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 resting.

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 trenches.

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 are.

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 poor fare.

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 mail.

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 certain.

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 reason why.

Our’s but to do or die."

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. Good-night!

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 evacuated.

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. Australia.

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 camp.

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.


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