[Gallipoli memories : unidentified veteran].
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Unidentified veteran: We moved up a gully, I don't know which one it is, although I have a map. Pretty hard to know just where we were. And the first impression of war I got the next morning with several others, with the sheiks all round the gully, and I saw a man's head come rolling down the hill, completely chopped off. And ah, nothing you could do about that of course but feel sorry for the poor blighter that lost it.
There was little activity. We were there six weeks and there wasn't much doing really, we were only holding a line. The weather must have been reasonably good because we slept out quite a lot until we made bivvies. We just had a bit of a stick we got and put the waterproof sheet to turn the water, and we were sleeping in there.
It was alright until I remember one day, George Stark and I were sent to get down to get some ammunition and there was one place, a sprint of about thirty or forty yards. You got out of these old creeks which were dry at the time and George and I went down this creek, used it as a trench, but when we were coming back there had been the heaviest downfall of rain and it was flooded, so we had to take to the open.
And of course we went like blazes, and there was a Turkish sniper trying himself out on us. Unfortunately the cord broke halfway through and that necessitated a stop. We grabbed her up and ran as fast as we could go under our burden and we managed to get back.
The worst thing I remember most about Gallipoli I think, was that snowstorm that came on the 26th of November. And, ah, I've never felt as cold in my life as I did then. I can well remember being on guard out in the trenches and you had to keep marking time the whole time, at least I had, to keep my feet warm, you just couldn't stop. And that was the time when a big lot - well I did read in the paper once that fifty thousand went off with frostbite, but that could be right. I know some of our fellows, one chap lost a leg and another fellow had both legs taken off at the knee. Well he was only, his bivvy was only twelve yards from where we were, so how more of us didn't get frostbite, I don't know.
Unidentified male interviewer: It was warm in the day then and extremely cold at night?
Unidentified veteran: Oh it was cold in the daytime when the snowstorm was on, but it only last three or four days really. That was when they decided that they simply couldn't hold Gallipoli through the winter. We had all decided that they couldn't, of course. And, uh, we were there, I came off the last night, same night as George, and was very pleased to let the Turks have it and I suppose they were equally pleased to see us go.
And talking about food and water, I never noticed the water problem much. When I hear people talking about scarcity of water in New Zealand, some of you chaps remember, you used to get tobacco tins, two ounce Capstan? I had a two ounce Capstan tin and I used to fill that in the morning with water. Clean my teeth, then shave, put the shaving brush in and shave and then finally wash myself, with two ounces. Made you feel pretty good.
And as far as rations were concerned, I heard some of them today say they never got porridge, but we did. It was generally topped off with a greasy bit of bacon.
But the last week, it was the climax of all good things on Gallipoli. I remember one day a chap had been down at the pier and he came home with a sandbag full of goody-goods. He had strawberry jam and cream and God knows what else. And of course next day we all went down to the pier. You could get everything you wanted the last week there, cause they didn't want to destroy it, eat as much as you like.
So we got away, and I'll let these fellows tell you all about the evacuation, all I remember was that we had our Christmas dinner in 1915 on board a British battleship and I can still remember the plum pudding and the brandy sauce, and it was brandy sauce, no doubt about it."
Transcript by Sound Archives/Ngā Taonga Kōrero
Reference number 256045
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Ngā Taonga Korero Collection
Interviews (Sound recordings)
Unidentified (male), Interviewer
Unidentified (male), Interviewee
Radio New Zealand. National Programme (estab. 1964, closed 1986), Broadcaster
Stark, George Singleton
Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkey)/Turkey
World War, 1914-1918 -- Campaigns -- Turkey -- Gallipoli Peninsula -- Personal narratives, New Zealand