Listen to Private Harvey’s Story
Gallipoli has been a hard slog. We’ve been fighting the Turkish for months now, and try as we might to push them out of their trenches, we haven’t got much further than a couple of thousand metres inland from the beaches. The British and the French troops who landed at the bottom of the peninsula at a place called Cape Helles are facing the same problem. The old Turks are proving to be very tough soldiers.
It was hard going from day one. The first Anzac boats landed at around 4.30 in the morning on the 25th of April. My 10th Battalion, with our purple and blue colour patch, was in that first group of 4,000 men. It was as dark as when we climbed down the ship’s rope nets into the boats to get towed into shore. I reckon the Turks might have heard the towing boats’ engines or caught a glimmer, cause as soon as got near the beach they let loose.
The big problem was not just them shooting and shelling. We landed a lot further north than we planned and the beach was surrounded by steep hills. It was hard going just getting up the hills to get off the beach – although luckily they did provide lots of good cover from Johnny Turk’s bullets! For the next few days we tried to push into the middle of the peninsula. A few blokes made a good show of it but in the end the Turks pushed back and we ended up digging in near the beach we called Anzac Cove. Since then we’ve made a few gains out to the sides but not too much inland. The Turks have a lot of good spots to shoot down on us so it’s a good idea to keep your head down when you’re walking about.
Our generals had an idea for a big attack in August that would knock old Johnny Turk out of his trenches, but it didn’t work out and in the end the Turks still had most of the high ground.
After the August Offensive (that’s what they called it) things settled down again but it is pretty clear that we may as well leave Gallipoli. Unless someone wants to send us thousands more good soldiers, there is no way we’ll push these Turks out.
Our diggers finally called it quits in December 1915. The evacuation of Gallipoli was done quietly over a couple of weeks so the Turks wouldn’t know they were leaving. The last men silently left before sunrise on 20 December. The evacuation was one of the most successful operations of the entire campaign, with hardly a bloke scratched.