Blog 13 – Anzac Day
Today in Australia and NZ is celebrated as Anzac Day The campaign is often considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness; 25 April, the anniversary of the landings, is known as ANZAC Day, the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in the two countries, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day)
On April 25, 1915, the Allies launched their invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Despite suffering heavy casualties, they managed to establish two beachheads: at Helles on the peninsula’s southern tip, and at Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast. (The latter site was later dubbed Anzac Cove, in honour of the Australian and New Zealand troops who fought so valiantly.
At 04:00 on the morning of 25 April the first wave of troops from the 3rd Brigade began moving towards the shore on lighters and the ships’ boats. The covering force landed approximately 1.2 miles (2 km) too far north, in a bay just south of Ari Burnu, due to undetected currents or a navigational error. The landing was more difficult, over ground which rose steeply from the beaches, unlike the objective to the south, which was more open.
The cove is 600 metres (2,000 ft) long with 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) to the Frontline, in places the width of No Man’s land was no more than 15 metres or 20 metres.
Anzac Beach, Gallipoli. 1915-05. The beach packed with Australian soldiers and supplies with more arriving in small boats. Australian War Memorial H03574
Soldiers landed at what is now called Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula. For the vast majority of the 16,000 Australians and New Zealanders who landed on that first day, this was their first experience of combat. By that evening, 2000 of them had been killed or wounded.
Fast forward 4 months in August of 1915 and the battle of the NEK takes place The Nek was a narrow track leading from Russell’s top to Baby 700 which was reached and passed by the 12th Australian Battalion early on 25 April, but not held. It was attacked by the New Zealand and Australian Division on 2 May, and by the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade on the morning of 7 August, but was never retaken in an attempt to capture the Sari Bari Range and connect with New Zealanders attacking Chunuk Bair.
Now we come to the connection to Gallipoli which I found in the National Archives of Australia:
Darcy Logan Wheelock Born in 1888 in Carnarvon Western Australia answered the call of enlistment on the 21 October 1914,
He was given the service number 645 and after basic training he was shipped to Egypt to complete his training at the Maadi Camp in Egypt.
He join the 10th Light Horse Infantry and was shipped to Egypt in April 1915 to finish his training and later that summer was sent to Gallipoli as part of the 14 companies that reinforced the Australian forces on the beaches and participated in the Battle with C Squadron on the 15 August 1915.
In Hugh Gillam’s diary on 13 May 1915 in Egypt, just prior to embarkation for Gallipoli. He stated that the 1st Reinforcements were all posted on strength to C Squadron.
He was wounded on the 30th of January 1917 and subsequently discharged and returned to Australia on the 8th of March 1917 having survived the war. He finished as Sergeant in the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion.
War Diary of Hugh Gillam
State Library of Queensland : Maadi Photo: The photograph is inscribed by Major William Glasgow “A. Squadron 2nd L H. lines at Maadi Camp”
Australia War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/gallipoli
National Archives of Australia https://www.naa.gov.au/