Saturday, 27 December 2014

Australian Navy HMAS Australia WW1



Click to see more details of the book.
In 1914, William Warner joined the Australian Navy with the rank of Boy 2nd Class. Back then a boy of 14 years old could join the navy but they would at first be sent to the training ship HMAS Tingara. After completion of training, he was promoted to Boy 1st Class and was transferred to HMAS Australia. This book is the extraordinary story of his life on the Australia. Mostly employed on the lower decks. He has recorded rare in-depth details of conditions prevailing on a capital warship in WW1. This book is valuable reading for anyone researching the life and times of a sailor serving during WW1 on an Australian warship.

HMAS Australia

The Australia Government ordered HMAS Australia from the British in 1909. Being launched in 1911, she became the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy. A Indefatigable Class Battlecruiser she was the pride of the Navy and honoured by a Nation.
Prior to WW1 she visited many Australian ports, a large imposing ship of 22000 tons with eight 12 inch guns. The likes of which had never been seen before in the Australian Navy. At the start of World War I, HMAS Australia sailed with the Australian and New Zealand  Forces to attack German interests in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. The Australia was especially required to find and destroy the German East Asia Naval Squadron. After the successful completion of her Pacific duties the Australia journeyed to Great Britain to help block German ships from entering the North Sea and undertake convoy duties. In 1924, as a requirement of the disarmament Washington Naval Treaty the Australia was scuttled off of Sydney Heads.
William Warner c 1924

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Australian 24th Battalion History Book

24th Battalion
 Australian 24th Battalion History Book  

RED AND WHITE DIAMOND Authorised History of the Twenty-fourth Battalion AIF' by Sgt. W J Harvey MM. 

Prior to WW1, Sgt Walter Harvey was a journalist with the Echuca based Riverine Herald. No doubt, a profession which enabled him to write such precise and detailed narrative for this history. He continued to write articles back to the Riverine Herald while he was on the frontline - some are shown in margins.
 

24th Battalion HistoryHarvey joined the AIF on the 15/4/1915, he was allotted the 24 Battalion enlistment number 2465. Soon after enlisting he come down with meningitis. Thus he did not embark for overseas service with the Battalion until the 5th reinforcements. He was with the Battalion at Pozieres where on the 15th August 1916 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He was a Stretcher Bearer who continually entered no man's land under heavy fire to recover wounded - it was said that he was the last 24th Stretcher Bearer to leave the Pozieres Battlefield.
 

Harvey has written a full History of the 24th Battalion which received its 'baptism of fire' upon reaching Gallipoli on the 5th September 1915. On the 10th September 1915, the Battalion entered the Lone Pine Trenches. It remained at Lone Pine for 16 weeks, due to the dangerous position Battalions were rotated every day. After the Gallipoli evacuation, the 24th Battalion transferred to the Western Front where the main battles fought were at Pozières in July 1916 and Mouquet Farm in August 1916, the costly 2nd Battle of Bullecourt and the offensive at Broodseinde Ridge during 1917.
 

During the latter 1918 Offensive, the Battalion suffered casualties which were not being replaced, it has become a distinction of the Battalion that it fought in the last Australian Battle of WW1 at Montbrehain on the 5th October 1918.
 

They did not know it at the time, but this would be the last WW1 Battle that any Australian would take part. This was the final stage of the war, the Battalions had been fighting for the past two days and the troops were expecting to be relieved.
This attack order came as some surprise, it was said, that the troops regarded it as the “bombshell, which did not come from the enemy”.

On the eve of the Battle, nine Officers of the 24th Battalion joined an impromptu parody singsong in the trenches.
’D’ Company, Captain John Fletcher and ‘A’ Company, Captain John Mahony MC sang I’m Courting Bonnie Lizzie Lindsay Noo and Fletcher alone sang The Bells Of St Mary’s. Fletcher and Mahoney were life long friends from Bendigo where Fletcher was a School Teacher. They had both fought at Gallipoli and endured the worst battles on the Western Front. At Mouquet Farm in 1916, Mahoney was distinguished with the awarding of the Military Cross.

Another 24th Officer in the trenches that night was Lieut. John Gear MC who was also a Victorian Teacher from Ballarat. During the war, Gear had continued his teaching showing how to kill a man by sniping.

The next day, the 5th of October was a tragic day for the 24th Battalion Officers, Fletcher and Gear both of ‘D’ Company were killed in the same attack. Mahoney was mortally wounded and died several days later on the 9th of October 1918.


"Mates to the Last" joined together 1915, survived Gallipoli, Mouguet Farm,Western Front until 5th October 1918, knocked on the same day... Fletcher (center) and Mahoney (right).
Above details sourced from the The Red and White Diamond Official History available from Books On War Australia

Saturday, 26 July 2014

When Did Australia declare war in WW1 World War One ?

Australia declared war in WW1 on Germany and Belligerents (Central Powers ) on the 5th August 1914.

Historical Dates from an Australian Perspective.
28th June 1914 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife, heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire.
28th July 1914 - Is accepted as the Start of World War One when Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.
31st July 1914 Friday -Prior to this date a Federal Election had been called in Australia. Thus the Prime Minister Joseph Cook and the Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher were electioneering when WW1 commenced. Two historic speeches were given on consecutive nights by the then Federal Opposition leader, Andrew Fisher (in Colac on Friday night the 31st July 1914),and followed the next night by Prime Minister Joseph Cook (in Horsham on the 1st August 1914). The two speeches declared Australia`s commitment to follow Britain into World War One, with Opposition Leader Fisher declaring "Australia will stand by the mother country to our last man and our last shilling" and Cook`s opposing speech on the Saturday night in Horsham with "If the old country is at war, so are we."
3rd August 1914 Monday - Germany declares war on France
3rd August 1914 Monday - Following Canada and New Zealand, PM Cook announces that Australia offers a 20000 man force to the Motherland.  
4th August 1914 Tuesday - Germany enters Belgium, Britain responds by declaring war on Germany.
5th August 1914 Wednesday - The then Governor General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, received the cable that Britain had declared war on Germany at midday local time on 5 August. Prime Minister Cook then advised the people that Australia was at war with Germany. Australia did not have to 'declare war' as back then it had no constitutional right. Suffice to say, if 'Britain was at war', that meant Australia was at war.
The first hostile shot of the war (British and Dominions) occurred in Australia when the Victorian Fort Nepeanfire fired at the German merchant ship Pfalz trying to leave Port Phillip Bay.
10th August 1914 - AIF recruitment commences.
19th August 1914 - Australian Forces depart to capture German interests in New Guinea and Islands.
1st November 1914 - Convoy first AIF Leaves.

So It Begins, at the start of Great War Australia pledged 20000 men by the end of WW1, on the 11th November 1918, 330000 odd Australians had been sent to the front.
information sourced from Australian War Books

Monday, 14 July 2014

9th Battalion & 10th Battalion AIF WW1 Commander Honoured in new book


Australian 10th Battalion CO

A Magnificent Anzac The Untold Story Of Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan CMG, DSO and Bar, DCM, Croix De Guerre MID 5 times

In 1980, the author, Peter Holmes worked in the Research Section at the Australian War Memorial. While at the AWM he assisted Mr Clarrie Wrench in researching his 9th Battalion History book, ‘Campaigning With The Fighting 9th Battalion AIF’. Clarrie Wrench had been a Lieutenant in the Australian 9th Battalion during WW1. In the latter part of 1918, during the Allied Offensive, he was awarded the MC medal for gallantry while leading his 9th Battalion platoon against a German machine gun post. After the war, he became a leading advocate for the 9th Battalion Association. It was said that he, ‘lived for the Battalion’.

During the many hours of discussion between Peter Holmes and Clarrie Wrench it become obvious that Clarrie had a deep affection for the 9th Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan. Peter Holmes become fascinated with the stories, life and mystery of this highly decorated Australian WW1 Commander. He has just released a new Australian Military Book about Wilder Neligan.

Australia's Official Historian and WW1 Commanders bestowed many tributes on Wilder Neligan not least,
'a restless adventurous spirit’
'the most brilliant raid that Australians undertook’
'an impetuous dare devil officer'
'clever soldier and inevitably a leader'
'The best show ever done by a battalion in France'
'never a greater organiser'
'a dashing leader'
Click to read more of this Magnificent Anzac Book 10th Battalion commander

Monday, 7 July 2014

Pompey Elliott Famous Australian WW1 leader

Pompey Elliott WW1 Hero



Harold 'Pompey' Elliott
'POMPEY' ELLIOTT was a famous Australian leader of WW1. In civilian life, he was a respected Melbourne solicitor and Federal Senator from Ballarat Victoria. Before World War One he fought in the Boer War where he was awarded the DCM medal for ‘particular daring’ gallantry.

During the Boer war he was promoted with a Officer’s commission. Upon his return to Australia he continued with law study and the militia.  At the start of the Great War, due to his Boer War and Militia service he immediately joined the AIF and was made the CO of the 7th Battalion.
 

 He was an outstandingly successful military leader who was able to ‘train men to become soldiers’. Amongst his men he was known as 'the bravest of the brave' and was given the nickname 'Pompey' or just 'Pomp' 'Brig', he was renowned for never sending anyone anywhere he was not prepared to go himself.

Elliott was wounded in the ankle while landing at Gallipoli with the battalion. The boot he wore is now part of the Australian War Memorial collection. He returned to Gallipoli in June 1915 and was present at the Battle of Lone Pine when men from his Battalion were awarded 4 Victoria Cross Medals. After Gallipoli in 1916, he was given command of the 15th Brigade shortly before the disastrous Battle of Fromelles. He was present at the Battle of Fromelles when his Brigade was decimated; he was never able to forget this loss. He went on to lead at the Battles at Polygon Wood, Villers-Brettoneux, Peronne and the Hindenburg Line. During the war Pompey Elliott was MID eight times, made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917, Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1918, and his other decorations included a  Distinguished Service Order. Besides his Commonwealth decorations, he was awarded the Order of St Anne, 3rd Class and the Croix de guerre.

After WW1, in 1919 was elected to the Australian Senate. He was plagued with the bad memory of the war years. He made an attempt to suicide by gassing himself at his home. The next day on the 23rd March 1931, while in hospital for this problem he did commit suicide – he was 52 years old. Pompey Elliot was buried on 25th March 1931 at Burwood Cemetery, the inscription on his grave reads, 'This was a Man'. 

The former PM, Stanley Bruce, attended the funeral and later wrote to Elliott's wife Kate:

'I have just returned for his funeral and I have never seen a greater tribute paid to a man ... it must be some comfort to you to see the universal regard, esteem and even affection in which he was held.' 

Recently, his memory was preserved in Ballarat when a magnificent statue was dedicated to him in the main Street of Ballarat.

Above information sourced from Australian Boer War Books

Sunday, 1 June 2014

What was the Desert Mounted Corps in WW1?

What was the Desert Mounted Corps in WW1?

 The Desert Mounted Corps was a major Allied Cavalry Force of the Middle East campaign during World War One. In June 1917, Sir Edmund ‘Bull' Allenby took command of the Allied Forces (Egyptian Expeditionary Force) in the Middle East. He set about reorganising this Force. The Desert Mounted Corps was to be commanded by the Australian Sir H.G. Chauvel. Leading up to the formation of the Corps, Chauvel had been successful at the Battles of Gaza, Romani and Rafa while commanding the Anzac Mounted
Desert Mounted Corps HQ Staff - Harry Chauvell
 first row 2nd left
Division. In 1916, the Anzac Mounted Division had became part of the newly formed Desert Column under command of Major-General Sir Philip Chetwode, In August 1917, Chauvel learned that Allenby was to rename the Desert Column, he requested it be called the Desert Mounted Corps. At that time, Chauvel received a major promotion when he was given command of the Desert Mounted Corps. The Desert Mounted Corps consisted of the Anzac Mounted Division, the Australian Mounted Division (both of which comprised in part of various Australian Light Horse Regiments), the newly formed Yeomanry Mounted Division and the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade (French Cavalry being added in the final stages of the war)
The Corps took a major roll in pushing the Ottoman (Turkish) forces from the Suez Canal area, and then into the Sinai Desert and further into Palestine. Under Chauvel’s leadership the Corps took part in many famous Battles which included the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917, Allenby’s Battle of Megiddo in 1918 and the subsequent capture of Damascus.  
Above information from Australian Light Horse History Books

Saturday, 17 May 2014

When "A" Badge stood for an Anzac


What does the brass letter "A" stand for or mean worn on the shoulder of the uniform or over a WW1 Australian Soldier's arm battalion colour patch?

In 1916 at the first Anzac Day Parade in France, Monash noted that as a special privilege, ‘every soldier who had served on Gallipoli could wear a blue ribbon on the right breast and also that those who had actually landed on 25th April 1915 could also wear a red ribbon.’

Birdwood also liked the idea of some distinction to be worn by Anzac veterans. In August 1916 he told all five divisions that a brass “A” could be worn on the colour shoulder patch. Formal adoption was made in AIF Order No 937 (November 1917) and later orders made the wearing of the “A” compulsory and laid down the strict eligibility rules.



Initially, there was some resentment especially from soldiers who had taken part in the hell of Pozieres or other Western Front battles. They felt that their suffering was far greater when compared to the Gallipoli campaign but were not being acknowledged. The brass “A” was also respected as it showed a long serving member of the AIF. The “A” identified or represented an experienced combatant, someone who could be relied upon by new soldiers to the front. As the war dragged on into 1918 the numbers of Anzac veterans in the field reduced due to casualty/illness attrition.

Fellow soldiers also felt sorrow when an “A” man was ‘knocked’ after all the years of front-line service.

 
Condensed from Australian War Books

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What is Australia's Oldest WW1 Memorial?

 Remembering Our WW1 Memorial Heritage

They have been with us all our lives. Like a sentinel of our community, those stone faced men, arms reversed, which have forever stood on top of a variety of obelisks. The dead of our early conflicts never did come home to Australia. So the people wanted somewhere to mourn the loss of love ones. Due to Australia’s higher involvement in WW1, during the 1920’s most towns made one. Lists of names adorn most of the memorials. They were made as a physical symbol to the emotional response to the war.
Our war monuments have a major historical significant no matter where they are located from our largest city to the smallest town.

What is Oldest Australia's Oldest WW1 Memorial? 

Interesting, the oldest WW1 Memorial in Australia was made in the small Australian village of Tambar Springs NSW. Notice the youthful appearance of the soldier. The principal benefactor of the memorial lost his son who was only 17 years old – thus it is believed to be in his likeness.
THEIR NAME LIVETH

http://www.warmemorialsregister.nsw.gov.au/content/tambar-springs-war-memorial
http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww1


Thursday, 6 March 2014

55th Australian Battalion WW1 History Snowy to the Somme

History 55th Battalion AIF WW1 Snowy to the Somme 1916-18


After near 100 years the 55th Battalion is finally remembered with this valuable addition to Australian military history, Snowy to the Somme A Muddy and Bloody Campaign, 1916-1918 by Tim Cook.
55th Battalion Australian Military History Book
Click to buy / see the book on website
At 397 pages in length this Battalion History book is an impressive record. Genealogists / Family History researchers will be happy that included are Nominal, Honour, Honours and Awards, and extensive end notes are shown with a great index. The Author has researched most available collections for personal recollections / memoirs - 35 personal veteran files being used from the Australian War Memorial. Therefore, when reading the book the high detail included in the narrative gives an impression that the writer must have been present in the trenches. Importantly, the history is value for money. 

Short History of The 55th Battalion 
During the Gallipoli Campaign, there was a large increase in Australians recruiting for service in World War One. 
After the return of the AIF from Gallipoli in December 1915, the amount of new reinforcements that arrived from Australia meant that the AIF could be doubled.

One of the new units was the 55th Battalion 5th Division.  The Battalion was made by taking half the Gallipoli veterans of the 3rd Battalion and making up the another half from fresh recruits. These recruits had arrived from New South Wales and thus like the 3rd Battalion was mostly composed of men from New South Wales.
After training in Egypt, the 55th Battalion was transferred to the Western Front, arriving into France on the 30th June 1916. Within two weeks the 55th Bn entered the frontlines at Fromelles. Eventually taking part in the Battle of Fromelles on the 19th July 1916. Fromelles was the worst disaster in Australian history when in a 24 hour period, 1917 men were killed in action with some 5000 casualties.
In 1917, they took part in the defence of the Hindenburg Lines at 2nd Battle of Bullecourt. The 55th Battalion had a major role during the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917. During the German Offensives, the Battalion valiantly defended to the north of Villers-Bretonneux and held these even after the German capture of the village.
On the 2nd September 1918 the Battalion fought to capture Péronne. The Battalion’s last major battle of WW1 was at St Quentin Canal. The Battalion was Honoured when Private John Ryan was awarded the Victoria Cross.
My advice buy it before it goes out of print!
To see further details click here 55th Battalion Book

Friday, 28 February 2014

First Ashore at Gallipoli the Anzac Landing



‘You have been selected by our Divisional Commander as a covering force, a high honour which we must do our best to justify. You have a chance of making history for Australia and a name for the Brigade – for such the Third will live in History….
extract from the orders issued by Colonel Sinclair-Maclagan to the 3rd Brigade before the Gallipoli Landing.

The Australian 3rd Brigade made up the Covering Force (the name given to the initial amphibious attack force) at the Anzac landing. This Covering Force consisted of the 9th Battalion (Queensland), the 10th
Period Postcard Showing Ari Burnu Gallipoli
'Landed here'
Battalion (South Australia), the 11th Battalion (Western Australia), and the 12th Battalion (South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania). The Headquarters and two companies of the 12th Battalion were Tasmanians, the remaining two companies being from South Australia and Western Australia, respectively. South and Western Australia therefore each had five companies in the Covering Force, four companies were from Queensland and two from Tasmania.
The Australians were to be the first troops to land on the Gallipoli Peninsular the British landings were undertaken later in the morning. The British bombardment further south at Helles commenced at 5.00am.

At the time of the landing, a Battalion at full strength numbered around 1000 men and a Company numbered 250 men. Thus there were 4 Companies to a Battalion. The 4 Companies within each of the Battalions of the 1st AIF were alpha coded A,B,C, and D*. The covering force was to be landed in two waves. In the 1st wave, 1500 men were to be landed and 2500 men in the 2nd wave. The 2nd wave landed some 20 minutes after the 1st wave so for this discussion about the first men ashore at Anzac our concern is only with the men in the 1st wave.

What were the Australian Battalions of Men who First Landed at Gallipoli?

The 1st wave consisted of men from the following Companies/Battalions :
A & C Companies 11th Battalion on-board Battleship HMS London
B & C Companies 10th Battalion on-board Battleship HMS Prince of Wales
A & B Companies   9th Battalion on-board Battleship HMS Queen

* Note- When the AIF first left Australia there were 8 Companies (125 men to each rifle Company) allotted to each Battalion but this was changed in Egypt to align to the British Army. On the 1st January 1915 the Australian Battalions up to then consisting of eight companies were reorganised on a four-company basis. The way that Companies were merged was different in each Battalion.
 

For the 11th Battalion, the original “A” and “B” amalgamated into the new “A” Company and “C” and “E” becoming the new “C” Company.

For the 10th Battalion, the original “A” and “F” amalgamated into the new “A” Company and “C” and “E” becoming the new “B” Company. The original “B” and “H” amalgamated into the new “C” Company and the original “D” and “G” amalgamated into the new “D” Company

For the 9th Battalion, the original “A” and “C” amalgamated into the new “A” Company, - “B” and “D” becoming the new “B” Company. - “E” and “G” the new “C” Company and “F”& “H” the new “D” company.

 Every Australian AIF Battalion stationed in Egypt changed from the 8 to the 4 Companies basis on that date. Unfortunately, the method of merging was left to each Battalion HQ, so there is no consistency.
Each of the Companies were subdivided into four platoons. At the time there were Platoon Rolls but none of these have survived. 

How to Find if a Soldier was in the First Wave Landing at Gallipoli?
People who are wanting to know in what boats their forebears were at the landing need only know the company that they were in at embarkation from Australia (available at the AWM website) then use the above explanation to convert to the new merged Company. If the soldier was in the 1st wave companies (shown above) then it is reasonable to assume that he took part in the 1st wave landing. But (a big 'But') you would need to check the soldier's service record for any unit transfer, sickness/hospital transfer dates, to ascertain that the soldier was actually "On Strength" at the time of the landing. The soldier’s service records are available at the Australian Archives site. On the soldier's record look for any mention of the Company that the soldier was in when 'taken on strength' (abbreviated on records as 'TOS') ascertain the date then compare if before the 1/1/1915 he was in the 'old' company and after this date he was in the 'new' merged company. A confirmation that the soldier was part of the 3rd Brigade MEF, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (the Force from which the 1st Wave were selected) is to look on the Casualty form for the entry, "Emb to join M.E.F. Alexandra 2/3/15". This entry was made when the 3rd Brigade embarked on the 2nd March 1915 for the island of Lemnos, the harbour of which was known as Mudros. Further confirmation can be seen on the Casualty form if there is an entry for being wounded, missing, killed in action on the 25th April 1915. If in the case of becoming missing or being killed also check the Red Cross records at the AWMAnother source of confirmation, especially for family history genealogy researchers is to check family stories about these soldiers. Contact the oldest person in your family and ask them if they remember any stories about the soldier. Check Trove for newspaper entries. The Australian Battalion History Books are also full of information about happenings and soldiers within the Battalion. Try to ascertain the Company/Platoon commander's name as many times this individual will be mentioned in histories but the entry will refer to the overall group he commanded. This is especially the case with the Bean Official Histories. 

 
The Battalion Scouts
Each of the Battalions had a contingent of Scouts.
The Scouts were obviously a group of soldiers from the Battalion selected for superior qualities. They were committed to important tasks upon landing eg locate and destroy the Turkish artillery.  It would seem from scant evidence that the Scouts were sitting in the bow of the first boats to afford them the best possible advantage to be first ashore. The 9th Battalion Scouts were divided so that the first rowboats on the Starboard side and the first rowboats on the Port side had Scouts on board. Thus it is possible that some of the scouts were selected from other Companies of the Battalion than the ones that took part in the 1st wave landing. It is documented in the 10th Battalion History that the first boat being boarded from the Prince Of Wales Battleship was in part reserved for the Battalion Scouts. Thus it is not surprising that several of the claims of being first ashore come from members of the Scouts of the various Battalions.


Battalion HQ and Medical Contingent
Many members of the Battalion’s HQ were to land in the Battleship tows. General
Birdwood and his staff were on board the Queen and General Bridges and staff were on the Prince of Wales - of course these men did not land till later. However, Brigade HQ Staff landed with the 2nd wave. For example, Brigade Commander, Brigadier General E.G. Sinclair-Maclagan was giving commands on the Beach within 20 minutes of the initial Landings. He had landed in the 2nd wave with "D" Company 9th Battalion and had first noticed gun fire when his boat was 30 yards from shore.
Some of the tows of the 1st
Wave included a Battalion medical contingent (eg 9th Battalion Medical Officer Captain Graham Butler lead men of the 1st Wave up the steep hill leading to Plugge's Plateau).
The 3rd Field Ambulance (the famous Pte J Simpson KIA 19th May 1915 was part of the
3rd Field Ambulance) landed later with 12th Battalion as part of the 2nd wave. They landed at 5.00am at North Beach directly in front of the Sphinx.



What were the Row Boats being used during the Gallipoli Landing?
The rowboats and steam boats used by the covering force were supplied from all the Battleships allotted to the landing. The rowboats assembled to land the men were not all the same size but consisted of Life boats and Cutters (normal carrying capacity around 30 men), Pinnace (60 men) and a Launch (98 men). Each tow was to be made up of three rowboats comprising (could vary), 1x Lifeboat 1x Cutter and 1x either a larger Pinnace or Launch. These boats were made of either timber or metal. Each of the line of three rowboats was to towed to the beach by a Steamboat/Steam Picket. There were twelve tows, of total 36 rowboats in the initial landing. The men of the first wave covering force were to be loaded into the rowboats from the three battleships as shown above. Two of the rowboats that were used on the 25th April 1915 (but not the 1st Wave) are part of the Australian War Memorial Collection.


What were First Anzacs Trying to Capture on the 25th April 1915?
from 25 April 1915 D. Winter
The Covering Force objective on the day was to capture the Sari Bair range from Gaba Tepe, on the right, to Chunuk Bair a high hill about two-thirds of the way up the ridge towards the summit of the range. To accomplish this it would have to seize three ridges, which branched off the main range just below Chunuk Bair (the south western slope of Chunuk Bair was named Baby 700). The three ridges were known on the day of the landing as First, Second and Third Ridges. The Third Ridge was about 1.6 km from the proposed landing place (about a 2kms north of Gaba Tepe). This part of the Third Ridge would become known as Gun Ridge, from the fact that most of the Turkish artillery batteries were posted behind it. It was intended that the 9th Battalion should land on the right of the covering force and seize Gaba Tepe and a rise on Gun Ridge which would become known as Anderson Knoll. The 10th Battalion, which was to land in the centre, was to seize another rise on Gun Ridge about 3kms north of Anderson's Knoll, known as Scrubby Knoll, while the 11th Battalion landing on the left, was to occupy the rest of the range as far north as Chunuk Bair.
The 12th Battalion was the reserve of the
covering force.
These objectives proved to be ambitious.




What was the Time of the Anzac Landing at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915?
Historically much has been written and debated about the incorrect location of the landing. Suffice to say for this discussion we are only interested in the times of the actual landing.
Important times 25th April 1915 timeline to landing.
12.00 Midnight men were awoken on the three battleships.
1.30 am The loading of the rowboat tows began.
2.35 am Loading of men into all tows completed.
2.35 am The Battleships moved off towards the Turkish Coast. The tows with steam boat follow.
3.00 am the moon sets
3.30 am The three Battleships stopped approximately 2.5 kms from the coast
3.40 am  The order “ Go ahead and land” was given by Admiral Thursby for the tows to be cast off. The journey to the beach was expected to take 50 minutes. The 12 steamboats with tows then made for the beach - 3 row boats per tow thus 36 rows in total.
Two search lights beam out ahead of the boats from the direction of the Dardanelles fortunately the lights were too low and distant to reach the boats.
4.10 am The destroyers carrying the 2nd wave were ordered to follow.
4.2? am Shallow water was reached by some steamboats necessitating that the lifeboat tows be cast off and rowing towards the beach commenced. At around this time from the funnel of one of the northern steam boats (11th Battalion) flames and sparks some reports say an escape of cinders from the steam picket flared to a height of one metre. Just after at…
4.29 am there appeared a yellow light or flare flash occurred for 30 seconds on a southern knoll just to the right of rowboats (1km to the right thought to have come from Queensland Point/Hell Spit/Little Ari Burnu).
4.30 am There was an appearance of a figure/man on Ari Burnu, a yell then the first rifle shot. (Charles Bean Official Historian used this first rifle shot as a basis to ascertain where the different Australians were when the first shot rang out. )
On 25 April 1915 the moon rose at 2.11 am and set at 2.58 am sunrise was at 5.11 am at Gallipoli.

The first boats ashore grounded near the point of Ari Burnu (see map postcard above) and were from the 9th and 10th Battalion as 'most' of the 11th Battalion boats on the left missed the point. As Ari Burnu fell away to North Beach, this meant that the 11th Battalion men had a further 180 metres to row to the beach under fire. The above times are mainly taken from the Official Histories.
Charles Bean would have procrastinated for many months over much inconsistent information to ascertain 'forever more' the true time of landing. An example of
"inconsistent information" is the story of Major Beevor commanding the 10th Battalion "A" Company. Major Beevor although part of the 2nd wave was privately rowed ashore in a Naval Commanders dinghy. They experienced enemy fire on the way and due to anticipation, Beevor jumped from the dinghy too early. He was swamped under water but successfully made the beach. Later he found both of his watches had stopped at 4.22 am. Around '8 minutes' before the 1st wave landed - a good example of the inconsistency of 1915 timing. Must be remembered that we are talking about 1915 and watches being worn onto Gallipoli need not have been precisely centrally set nor in many cases capable of tracking time to today's standards. 

A Turkish Account of the First Landing
Pte Adil Sahin
2nd  Platoon, 4 Co, 2nd Battalion 27 Regiment, Ottoman 5th Army.

Sahin was located in trenches on Ari Burnu directly above the Australian Anzac Landing. The duty sentry awakened them urgently, ' he shook us and pointed down the slope to the water below'. Sahin said, 'He said he thought he could see shapes out there on the water. We looked out and strained to see in the half light and then we heard noises and saw shapes of boats with soldiers coming ashore. We were ordered to start firing. Some fell on the beach and I wasn't sure whether we'd hit them or they were taking shelter. They made for the base of the rise and then began climbing. We were outnumbered so we began to withdraw.  It was very confusing...We didn't know anything of the invasion. We were very scared and retreated to the second ridge, firing as we went. I was very frightened."
Sahin was a 16 year old shephard boy from Buyuk Anafarta village north of Hill 971. He was interviewed in 1985 and 1987 for ABC TV documentaries. The above entry come from the book 'Gallipoli The Turkish Story ' by Fewster, Basarm and Basarm. If you wish to research more about the Turkish Gallipoli Story please see this 2015 book, " Defending Gallipoli The Turkish Story " by Harvey Broadbent or a 1920's account 'CAMPAIGN IN GALLIPOLI ' by Hans Kannengiesser .


The First Australian to Land Onto Gallipoli 25th April 1915
The identification of the first Australian to land onto the beach at Gallipoli has always been a contentious issue. Historically the Landing is one of, if not the most defining event in Australia's history.
Due to the prestige and honour of being the first ashore newspapers/media, the soldiers, public have shown much interest in acknowledging the first individual man to step ashore. As you see from above maps etc. the first boats landed on a knoll called Ari Burnu some of the rowboats landed on the right-hand side of the point and some on the left. But the rowboats that struck the point were the first to reach land. Thus from the outset men could have been stepping onto the shore seeing that they were the first to do so but not knowing around the corner another boat had landed. Add to this that the landing was undertaken at the crack of dawn in virtual darkness - quite a quandary.

The Official War Correspondent and Sydney Morning Herald journalist Charles Bean for years researched and tried to ascertain the name of the first man ashore.
Claims of being the first man ashore mainly came from members of the 9th Battalion and 10th Battalion. The majority of 11th Battalion rowboats landed to the left, missing the point and had further to row before landing on North Beach. Additionally, as there was a strong northerly sea current the 11th Battalion boats were bound to drift further north. Another consideration was the size of the boat, the smaller rowboats were able to get closer to shore before they grounded. The larger "launches" and "pinnaces" grounded in deeper water. It was generally from these boats that men were fully immersed with some drowning.

At the time there were many that claimed themselves as being first ashore. Due to the confusion and dark conditions, legitimately, many thought they were the first to land. Luckily, there was a event that everyone could recall, that was the sound of that first rifle shot. Bean concentrated on where the soldiers were located when they heard that first rifle shot. He looked for accounts where the soldiers had claimed they had landed before the first shot rang out. There were very few.

Charles Bean’s 1921 Account
In the first edition (Published in 1921) of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 1918 Volume 1 The Story of Anzac written by Charles Bean. He states that, "Three boats near the point had become so locked that only those on the outside could use their oars. One of these, containing men of the 9th Battalion and Captain Graham Butler, their medical officer, and a boat of the 10th Battalion, with Lieutenant Talbot Smith and the scouts of that Battalion, were among the first on the point."
But in a preface to the 2nd and later editions Charles Bean names the first man ashore as Lieutenant Chapman and cites evidence from 1010 9th Battalion Scout Sergeant Coe (at times used an alias of Mr F C Kemp see below for more details) whose statement writes, "we touched shore and Lieutenant Chapman was the first ashore. 616 Private AK Wilson of the scouts was taking my pack off when the first shot rang out: a pause: then seven more"



Charles Bean’s 1955 Account
In 1955, Bean wrote a Chapter in an AWM book titled ‘Australia At Arms’. The chapter that Bean wrote was called ‘First Hours At Gallipoli’. Below are some interesting excerpts from that account.
”It will never be known with certainty who was the first Australian to land on the Gallipoli Peninsula on that famous morning of the 25th April 1915… When the moon sank...it was intensely dark…during most of the journey (to the beach) none of the soldiers crowded in the boats could even see the tow next to them…a protruding knob of the land (Ari Burnu) seemed almost on top of them when from the funnel of one of the tugging, chugging steamboats there streamed for 20 seconds a full three feet of flame. The crews had tried to prevent this happening but it was not easily avoided. Almost immediately on the summit of another rather lower knoll (Queensland Point [also known Hell Spit]), about a thousand yards to the south there began to flicker a smaller bonfire. On the skyline high above the boats appeared a man. On top of the nearer knoll (Ari Burnu) a rifle flashed then came a group of four or five shots, and with a run the firing quickened into a continuous irregular fusillade.
Most of the boats packed with troops were at that moment 50 to 100 yards from the land. The small towing boats had thrown off or were throwing off (rowboats) and the soldiers were paddling them quickly to the land. Some shots were going home both in the boats and among the troops who scrambled out, when the boats grounded, and waded ashore. There the fire struck sparks out of the shingly beach as the Australians rushed across it to shelter under the bank that fringes nearly all the beaches and to line up for immediate attack. The troops could dimly see one another and from nearly all the boatloads in this first batch there came afterwards the same account.
But from that day there was always a tradition that part of the 9th Battalion (Queensland) battalion was first ashore; a Scout-Sergeant of that battalion (a Queensland farmer, Mr. F. Kemp [alias used by Coe]) stated some years after the war that his boatload had scrambled ashore and was taking off its packs when the first shot rang out. Of that boatload the first man to jump out and reach land, said Mr. Kemp, was the officer who had been standing in the bows, Lieutenant Duncan Chapman, formerly a paymaster of Brisbane.
In July 1915, Chapman wrote to his brother: “I happened to be in the first boat to reach shore, and, being in the bow at the time, was the first man to get ashore", and the evidence is that this statement was right. Charles Bean continues,” the men who landed with Chapman and in the next ten minutes had little time to wonder whether they were first or foremost.      


Duncan Chapman 9th Battalion
Lieutenant Duncan Chapman, was a 26 year old Paymaster enlisting from Whytecliffe, Albion, Brisbane but originally born and bred in Maryborough Queensland..
He enlisted with the AIF on 21 August 1914 and was allotted to the 9th Battalion, C Company (the original C Company was amalgamated to become part of A Company at the Landing). They embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board Transport A5 Omrah on 24 September 1914. When the Battalion was divided into two in 1916 he transferred to the newly formed 49th Battalion as a Captain, and was promoted to Major and transferred to the 45th Battalion.
He was killed by a shell burst early on August 6, 1916 at Pozieres, on a ridge described as more soaked in Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.
Charles Bean supported the Chapman claim and mentioned Frank Kemp (after the war he used Kemp as a alias not sure why, his real  surname was Coe), a scout sergeant with the 9th Battalion, as witness.
A Letter (see below) that Chapman had written to his Brother while on Gallpoli was also considered .

In the letter titled "In the Trenches, Gallipoli, July 8, 1915" Lieutenant Chapman says:
Dear Fred,
It certainly seems strange to be writing to you after so many years silence & also under such conditions but after receiving a letter from you it is with pleasure that I take this early opportunity of replying to you.
I am at present seated in my Headquarters which in reality is a cubical cave dug into the ground about 8' deep with some strips of galvanized iron & earth on top as a protection against bombs, shrapnel & stray bullets but I am beginning to doubt the stability of it as occasionally at night I hear suspicious little noises as of bullets striking the opposite wall.
Well we have been here now about 11 weeks & have pushed well on into enemy territory.
Strict censorship forbids me explaining to you in detail the plans or positions of troops but probably you would get splendid ideas from our own papers.
The landing of our troops you no doubt have read, as full accounts have appeared in all the papers. I happened to be in the first boat that reached the shore & being in the bow at the time I was the first man to get ashore.
I was one of the covering party who had been chosen to go ahead & as our boats sneaked on in the early morning light many of us wondered who would be the first to go. It is a peculiar experience & one of extreme suspense to be crouched down in a small boat making towards a hostile shore not knowing the size of the force opposed to you neither being able to use your rifles (owing to the danger of shooting your own men) & then to suddenly come under heavy machine gun & rifle fire.
Many poor chaps were killed in the boat & the deeds that were done in rescue work were beyond mention. Also the heroic advance of our fellows & the meeting with & subsequent counter attack by their main body & the stolid resistance of our 3rd Bde are now matters of history.
I was promoted Captain on April 26th & am now in command of a Company of about 250. I am sorry we are limited to two pages Fred but you can see what it means. I have to censor all my Company letters 3 times a week & they in their turn are censored by the Adjutant. Write again as soon as you can & address it to Capt D K Chapman 9th Bn, 3rd Bde, Intermediate Base, Cairo, Egypt & let me know the news of Australia.

Farewell for the present,
Your loving brother… Duncan.
Thank the little girl for her prayer & tell her I appreciate it, also kind remembrances to your wife.. DKC.


At the centennial 2015, Anzac Day Ceremonies in Maryborough Queensland a statue was unveiled to commemorate Duncan Chapman's landing at Gallipoli. His landing is also remembered in great detail at the  - 9th Battalions War Memorial Museum Collection Milne Bay Memorial Library & Research Centre   Chermside Historical Precinct, 61 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside.
-Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum
106 Wharf Street. Maryborough -
photographs below shown. Obviously, one of the most highly regarded of Australian Service medals.


Page 40 of From ANZAC to the Hindenburg Line Book
In 1940, Norman Harvey published 'From Anzac to the Hindenburg Line The History Of the 9th Battalion AIF'. On page 40 of this book it states that to Lieutenant Duncan Chapman belongs the honour of having been the 1st Australian soldier to set foot on Anzac. It also lists, among others in his boat were:


Lieutenant Duncan CHAPMAN, A Company
1109 Private James D. BOSTOCK, A Company
1010 Lance Corporal Frederick Charles COE, A Company
315 Private Eli COLES, A Company
362 Private William A. FISHER, A Company
70 Private Harold R. HANSEN, A Company
328 Lance Corporal Thomas A. HELLMUTH, A Company
296 Lance Corporal James C. HENDERSON, A Company
295 Private Cecil HOLDWAY, A Company
311 Private William JARRETT, A Company
386 Private David KENDRICK, A Company
319 Private Benjamin H. KENDRICK, A Company
404 Private Walter E. LATIMER, A Company
289 Private Robert Mc. C. McKENZIE, A Company
292 Private Samuel A. McKENZIE, A Company
316 Private William A. POLLOCK, A Company
317 Private William J. RIDER, A Company
388 Private Frederick THOMAS A Company

1109 James Dundee Bostock
In 1950, James 'Jim' Bostock was interviewed by a newspaper reporter, at the time 54-year-old James Bostock was a Brisbane manager of the Melbourne Manufacturing and Importing Company. He had enlisted for World War I service when he was 18 years of age and had also served in World War II.
He was asked where did he enlist?
"I was living in a little town called Dulacoa out in Western Queensland, at the time. I was at a prickly pear experiment Station where we were trying to find out how to control the growth of the pest."
He was on leave in Brisbane when war was declared, and was one of the first to enlist at the Town Hall. "One of my grandfathers had been a Major General in the British Army, my mother and father were dead, had no ties, so I just joined up." By 1914, James Bostock was in camp Enoggera Brisbane.
The 1st Australian contingent had sailed, and James became one of the first reinforcements for the 9th Battalion. After less than 2 months training, he joined the Battalion at Mena Camp just outside of Cairo Egypt. When it was found that James had experience in signaling, he was posted to No 3 Platoon Sigs. From Mena, James went to Lemnos, and then to Anzac Cove. And on the date we all know so well, 25th of April 1915, James Bostock became the second man to land on Gallipoli. He was just behind Lieutenant Chapman, who is officially credited with having been the first man to land. Bostock suffered shrapnel wound in the legs just outside Lone Pine early in August 1915, and after treatment at Malta and England was sent back to Australia permanently disabled. He was discharged in 1916. But Bostock was not finished with the Army. He discarded his crutches for sticks then discarded the sticks and got into the home services to be stationed at Victoria Barracks. While there, he and another mate were made Sergeants it was an important promotion for both of them. It was important because to use James's own words: " we were able to tear the guts out of our medical sheets and get back in the AIF as medically 'A One' fit". Soon after this Bostock was on the seas again, but not before he had married a Brisbane girl. However, there was to be no more action for him.
He arrived in England on November 11, 1918 - the day the war ended.


 
Today (1950) Mr Bostock has 3 children and grandchild. His eldest son, Robert, served in New Guinea in World War II. His one fear in life is that he should ever become a flag waver - waving the boys off, and waving them home again. He proved that in the last war when he quickly joined the full-time Volunteer Defence Corps to become a commissioned officer at Rockhampton Qld.
Mr Bostock said that when he received his wound it was like someone giving him a thump with a big board. He stated that the worst feature of Gallipoli was the lice he said," Gallipoli was lousy, and we had to eat, sleep, and fight in the same close conditions our hygiene facilities were frightful. During the 3 months I was at Gallipoli we just pigged it, and the only way to get out was to be carried out."
 
In 1954, Jim Bostock once again found himself on the front page of the Courier Mail. This time the column again related to his service on Gallipoli and his meeting with Fred Fox an old veteran of the 9th Battalion. The article comments about the meeting saying that Fred Fox  "hit the beach" behind him. Thus by association it would seem that 389 Private Frederick Y. FOX, A Company was also in the 1st boat to land on Gallipoli.
Later on the 8 February 1954, Norman Harvey author of  'From Anzac to the Hindenburg Line The History Of the 9th Battalion AIF'. Sent a letter to the editor regarding the Courier Mail "Day by Day" claim which can be seen below right.
Mr Harvey disputed the claim reinstating that it was his belief and that of Charles Bean that Duncan Chapman is the first ashore on 25 April 1915. He also stated that the 9th Battalion Medical Officer late Colonel A. Graham Butler should be added to the list of those already mentioned on page 40 of the 9th Battalion history. He also noted in the last line of his letter that Mr Fred Fox should be included.

The above newspaper article was probably a misquote, as obviously Jim Bostock knew that he was not the first man ashore. Jim Bostock suffered from his old war injuries all his life. At times receiving the disability pension.  He was an active participant in many aspects of the RSL and a committee member of the 9th Battalion AIF Association. He died on the 15 August 1982.
The Group Photograph below was taken at Percy (Dad) Townshend 100th Birthday party which was attended by some 9th Battalion Association AIF Committee/members including Jim Bostock - 5th from left behind Dad Townshend.
Clarrie Wrench author Campaigning with The Fighting Ninth third from left. Dad Townsend was 100 years old in 1955 he had an incredible life story. I have put together a story about this man on a post. According to newspaper records he was a Zulu war veteran, he was also a Boer war veteran, he was born in 1855. Joined up with the AIF understating his age saying that he is 42 years old when he was actually 60 years old.
 

Landed at Gallipoli on the 1st day, was in the trenches at Pozieres. Awarded the military medal for gallantry in the field, probably he died without ever knowing he was a Military Medal recipient.


L-R AG Brown, Alan Puttick, Clarrie Wrench, Percy (Dad) Townshend, Jim Bostock,Ernie Richards, Hugh Sanderson,
Harry ( Darkie ) Richards

1010 Lance Corporal Frederick Charles COE Alias Kemp
Initially, Coe enlisted with the Light Horse but transferred to the 9th Battalion on 21 August 1914 aged 29.  He Landed on Gallipoli as a Battalion Scout Sergeant and was there for 10 days before reporting sick with dysentery. He was wounded on 2 June 1916 with a bullet wound to his left arm. After recovery it was deemed he had a partial permanent disability but returned to the front. He was discharged on 19 March 1918 and returned to farming bananas in the Redlands area near Brisbane. He married in 1925 his wife's name was Florence Helen Keeble but by 1940 they were living apart.

 In a letter dated 22 September 1940, when he was making application for a pension, Coe said that his only occupation was as part of the shovel gang and as he had a fracture of his arm (war related) this had put him out of this type of labour. He said this was the only labour offering to a broke farmer.
He had also stated in the letter, that:
'I held and saved the left flank on Sunday at Anzac, Capt Bean knows that to be true because of the proof I gave him, and he accepts nothing that's not proven. Surely that was worth a burnt out pension.'
In 1929 he was a volunteer wharf labourer but had his chest crushed by a fall of cases. Directly after WW1, he went onto a farm 'struggled along' but could not make a go of it and quit in 1934 - after 1934 he was a labourer.
He used an alias surname of Kemp and from time to time used Frederick Charles or Francis Charles as his Christian names. There is no suggestion as to why he done this.
Obviously, Charles Bean accepted his story regarding The Landing. In Coe's statement to Charles Bean he refers to, " 616 Private AK Wilson of the scouts was taking my pack off when the first shot rang out: a pause: then seven more". Thus by association 616 Private AK Wilson could be included as being one of the men in the first boat.


 In 1915, Coe wrote a letter to a newspaper stating the facts about the battle fought on the left flank on Sunday, 25 April 1915. It was subsequently published in Australian newspapers.

Scout Sergeant Coe ( after the war also known as Kemp) writes from Hospital.
How Major B Robertson and Lieut. Rigby Died on Baby 700 later in the morning 25th April 1915. Some of the English newspapers recently published the following: -'In the Deaconess Hospital, in Alexandria, recovering from his wound, is Major Dawson, .of the New Zealanders. For two days Major Dawson with only 150 men -Australian and New Zealanders-held the corner of the second ridge at a Sari Bahr against tremendous odds. 'This was at a very critical moment, when the Turks had come sweeping on in great force and there seemed every probability of the British being driven back to the beach, where, of course, nothing could have saved them. Throughout the night Dawson’s men kept up a continual battle, every man shouting orders of some sort or other, and the Turks were led to believe that they were confronted by a considerable force. At any moment the Turks could have swept the small force from its position, but British bluff and a courageous spirit saved the day. Referring to this incident Sergt. Coe, of the 9th Battalion Scouts (who remarks that he was the second man to land at Gallipoli), writes from the First Australian General Hospital: -'"In justice to the late Major Beresford Robertson, Lieut. Rigby, and the men who fell with them, and who consequently cannot speak for themselves, and as one of the very few of the survivors, I will attempt to give their friends an idea of what they did. 'Not that Major Dawson and the men with him did not do a grand thing, but the part done before was even grander, for it was accomplished with about only 70 men. We cleared the second ridge by 10 o'clock, and it was at 2 o'clock we got it heavy. We were on the extreme left flank, and. at 2.30 the Turks put six battalions on to us. We, on the left, got a goodly share of them, as it was the key of the position, for if they beat us back they could have enfiladed the centre and right, so there was no retiring where we were. Major Robertson was doing his utmost to get reinforcements up to us, but the shrapnel was so thick that a certain regiment was unable to come up to our aid. Major Robertson told me to hold a trench with 32 men (it was a Turkish trench on the extreme left second ridge), and went away to get reinforcements for us. He was bowled over by a burst of shrapnel, and died as a brave gentleman. Lieut. Rigby got a bullet soon afterwards, and shrapnel completed his short career as a soldier- a very short one, but he died another good example to all, in the very first line of fire, where he had been all the day. At half-past 5, out of the 33 we had in the trench on the left, only two were left, and we were forced to retire, expecting death at any moment. Then down below we heard the glorious cry ring out, 'Come on, the Otago Regiment!' Shall I ever forget it? Up they came, and we dug in on the first ridge, and with Major Dawson's men held the enemy. Of our original 70, under Major Robertson, I think only six are left."
Clear up some possible confusion there were two Major Robertson in the 9th Battalion on the day of landing, they were related. Major J C Robertson was with the HQ ( received a bullet wound to chest on landing) his boat of the 1st wave landed on the southern side of Ari Burnu and Major S B Robertson later killed on Baby 700 was Commander of B Company. Coe refers to Major S B Robertson above (went by his second name Beresford). Major S B Robertson’s brother, Gordon also served as the Chaplin attached to the 9th Battalion.




316 Pollock William Alexander  KIA 25 April 1915
William Alexander Pollock was 37 years of age when he enlisted in the 9th Battalion A Company on the 22nd August 1914.  He had only been in Australia for two years. He was an Irishmen. He lived at 1 Hope Street South Brisbane where he was employed as a general labourer.
Upon joining William would have been looked upon favorably as he had 12 years previous military experience with
the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. On the 25th April 1915 Pollock was witnessed as being in the first boat ashore and thus one of the first men ashore at Ari Burnu Gallipoli.  On the 30th April 1915 at the beach roll call he was noted as being missing. On the 8th June 1915, a Field Service Enquiry concluded he was Killed in Action on the 25th April 1915. His mother and sister were living in a Scotland at the time.

389 Private Frederick Y. FOX



Other Soldiers Claimed to be First Ashore

1179 Joseph Stratford Account 9th Battalion First Ashore
Newspaper reports initially attributed the honour of being the first man ashore to 1179 Lance Sergeant Joseph Stratford from Lismore member of the 9th Battalion. However, Charles Bean never gave any credence to this story - not that can be seen in the official histories.The War Memorial says, "however the claim was later questioned by the official historian Charles Bean". 
1179 Joseph Stratford



1179 Joseph Stratford was a 32 year old grocer from Richmond River near Lismore New South Wales. However, he had been working as a cane cutter in North Queensland before enlisting at Innisfail. He embarked 22nd December 1914 on the HMAT Themistocles A32 with the 1st reinforcements of the 9th Battalion. On arrival in Egypt he was assigned to B Company as Lance Sergeant on 9th February 1915. He was a member of “B” Company 9th Battalion commanded by Major S B Robertson. As a member of “B” Company he would have been in the boats of the 1st wave. There was an eyewitness to Stratford being the first to go ashore from his boat. This witness was 1200 Studley A.Gahan a member of the “B” Company 9th Battalion. In a news report, which was reported in many newspapers throughout Australia, Gahan said that Stratford was the 1st ashore at Gallipoli followed by Lieutenant Jones (Lieutenant Lancelot Alban Jones “B” Company) and then himself. Stratford was killed in action on that first day and his body was never recovered. His records show that initially he was stated as wounded. His family continued to look for him the rest of the war. He was stated as missing for several years. May be possible, that he was taken on board a hospital ship but later dying and was buried at sea without formal identification. On that first day it was a hectic time for the wounded and more so for the people who looked after them. 
Report of Joe Stratford first ashore by 836 Norman Parker C Company 9th Bn
The Sydney Mail wrote an article about Stratford being the first Australian soldier ashore on Gallipoli and went further to say that he was to be awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry. On the landing, he threw himself onto an Ottoman machine gun. Although his 9th Battalion mates ( mostly men of the 1st Reinforcements) had seen the article no one interviewed did actually witness the act of gallantry.
It was somewhat a mystery where the report of the awarding of the VC had originated.
As a recognition of Stratford’s sacrifice, a
tiny north Queensland school near Innisfail was named Stratvell combining the names of Stratford and Edith Cavell, a British nurse executed by the Germans in 1915.  
In 2005, the Sun Herald reported the family of Joseph Stratford found further evidence in old records. Old wartime letters from Stratford’s mates testified their friendship to this great soldier.
Private Gahan wrote: "There was not a man amongst us who did not love and look up to him. He was fair and straight. I felt when he did not answer the roll call that I had lost an elder brother."
Corporal Williams, from Killarney, wrote: "He was a true and loyal friend, a gallant soldier and a gentleman."
Private E. Turner wrote: "Many a man has lost a true friend in losing him."

Other witnesses said Stratford jumped off the boat and went straight underwater, the weight of his pack and weapons dragging him down. Many died this way, but Stratford managed to shrug off his heavy pack and struggle up to the beach. Stratford had only a bayonet attached to his wet rifle but he stormed up the beach at the Turkish guns.
During the war, Charles Bean would have known of the Stratford claim. However, Charles Bean seemed not to take the Stratford claim seriously. It is interesting in a newspaper report of the Landing (see above).
The writer, Mr N. Parker (C Company 9th Bn) witnessed Stratford being the first ashore but then wrote that they had left from the HMS Beagle into the rowboats. That would mean that Stratford would have been in the second wave that landed 20 minutes later away to the south of the initial landings. If true, this may have been the reason why Bean had disregarded the claims of Stratford. Further evidence suggests this may be true in that the Red Cross Missing reports regarding Stratford are given in the majority by members of D Company 9th Battalion.

C Company 9th Battalion as part of the 2nd wave left from HMS Beagle and  D Company left from the HMS Colne.





Account of the Landing by
185 Private Edmund Joseph Gandy, of the 9th Battalion 3rd Brigade,
To assist in rapidly landing force, the troops were spread over the warships so that almost every boat was employed simultaneously.  On Saturday morning, April 24th, two companies of the 9th (A and B) were taken aboard H.M.S. Queen. The attack was to take place at daybreak on Sunday morning.  We had a splendid time on the battleship, and the sailors did everything possible to make us welcome.  We had three hot meals on the ship and milk in the tea - a change for us as we had been living on bully beef.  About 1:00 in the morning we reached our destination, were mustered on deck, and got into the boats.  The boat I was in held about 50 - our platoon of 30 men, together with scouts and a few ambulance men.  We were tied to a steam pinnace, to other small boats being tied on behind us.  We hung on about for the moon to set, and the other ships to drop their troops.  At last we started.  In the distance we could just distinguish of the strings of boats, all making for the same direction, the warships accompanying as part of the way.  When we reached Shallow water the pinnace cast us off and we got the oars out.  We thought we were going to land unopposed. Suddenly a single shot rang out, then dead silence for while, and the Turks opened up on us.  They were entrenched at the top of the cliffs, right in front of us. Every detail of the landing had been carefully planned out beforehand, my section, with No.1, having the place of honour.  We were to land, form up on the beach, drop our packs, fixed bayonets, load magazines, deploy and change direction to the right, attacking the trenches about daybreak.  It is always the unexpected which happens, and we carried the last phase first. We jumped out of the boats up to our waists in water, waded ashore, and took what cover we could at the base of the cliffs.  There was no room for me at the foot of the cliffs, so I had to lie out on the open beach.  I fixed my bayonet, but the movement caught the attention of a sniper away on my right, who opened out on me. When he had finished, I commenced loading my magazine. I had got a clip in, and was just getting another, when my particular Turk saw me move again, and I spent the most uncomfortable time of my life.

1st Field Company Engineers - William Cridland Account Revelle 1930
This account verifies that men of the 1st Field Company Engineers were included in the 9th Battalion boats. In 1930, Cridland who was a member of Section 1 1st Field Company Engineers wrote an account of his experiences of landing with the Covering Force. He wrote, "A and B Company (sic correct only for the 9th) of the 9th 10th and 11th Battalion were chosen as a covering party, and 20 sappers, non-commissioned officers and an officer each from Nos 1, 2 and 3 sections of the 1st Field Company Engineers. Engineers were chosen to go in as a demolition party with the covering party. I had the honour of being one of the chosen of No 1 section, and we had to go in with A and B Company of the 9th Battalion. My section and the 9th Battalion were very fortunate in that we went from Lemnos to the hopping off place on the HMS Queen.....In the early hours of the morning came the clear but low order to fall in . All lights were out, and the night was pitch black. Each man's load was evened up as well as could be, so I'll mention what I had - the usual full marching order, not forgetting rifle and bayonet, 250 rounds (the dinkum stuff  too), emergency rations, pick, shovel, wire cutters, one dozen sand bags, and a case of gun cotton.....At last all barges were ready, and we were taken in tow by steam pinnaces.... our thoughts were suddenly checked by the report of a solitary rifle shot away up in the hills. Every man realised that the supreme moment had arrived, and presently, Hell was let loose, but so far there was only one side having a go....Lieutenant Mather, realising that the barges afforded no protection from the murderous rain of lead from rifles, machine guns, and artillery, told us to go overboard and make for the beach.....This, as near as I can remember, was in the vicinity of 4.20 am. after a short breather Colonel Lee reminded us of the job on hand. Now was our turn, and with fixed bayonets we started off up the hill.....
The above map was found in the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum it has an excellent representation of where boats landed.

By Trevor S Jones
Information contained researched from Books about Anzac