Cyril Bassett’s Victoria Cross, Won at Gallipoli

– By Sarah Johnston, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Client Services Coordinator – Radio

As part of their extensive Anzac Day and World War I centenary coverage, Radio New Zealand has highlighted many of the historic recordings held in the collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 7. Ref: PAColl-6001-05. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 7. Ref: PAColl-6001-05. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

In particular, they are featuring a 1949 sound recording by the only New Zealander to win a Victoria Cross in the Gallipoli Campaign, Aucklander Cyril Bassett.

As a signaller, Corporal Cyril Bassett received the V.C. for his persistence in keeping vital telephone lines connected during the assault on Chunuk Bair in August 1915. He and other men went out repeatedly under fire to rejoin telephone wires which had been severed, restoring communications between the front-line men and those in command.

In 1948, he returned on a pilgrimage to Gallipoli and the following year, for Anzac Day 1949, he recorded his impressions of that trip in a 15-minute talk for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service.

You can read Radio New Zealand’s online feature “Glory in their Eyes” here and you can hear Cyril Bassett’s 1949 recording “Return to Gallipoli” in full here:

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

 

His talk has also been transcribed by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision cataloguers and can be read in our online database here.