Diary of William Henry Winter WWI 1915
This transcription of William Henry Winter's diary from January to August 1915 covers his war experiences in the Dardanelles. He was killed in action at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915. It was donated by Lynn Sayer and Trevor Duar of Levin to Te Takere and a hard-copy can be found in the Heritage Room.
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Diary of William Henry Winter
10/524 Sergeant Major (W01)
17 Ruahine Coy.
Wellington Infantry Battalion
Killed in Action
8 August 1915
Copies of letters sent to his wife Marion Winter whilst overseas serving with the Wellington Infantry Battalion
Tuesday 26th January 1915
Finished packing up and left Zeitoun camp at about 8:45am for Palaio De Koubeh Station with baggage to en-train there with Otago Regiment for Suez Canal at a station called Cubri.
Train left at 10 Clock pm & we reached our destination at 6.40am where we camped for the night in the open. No tents were brought out at all.
Wednesday January 27th
We were all awakened at about 4am this morning by hearing rifles firing at the Canal which was about 2 miles away from us, but it died away after about a quarter of an hour. We thought for a minute that the Turks had got round on to us.
Before going any further the Auckland & Canterbury Regiments are stationed on the Canal at Ismalia and the Wellington & Otago Regts at Kubri [sp.?? Cubri??] which is about 5 miles from Suez, and at present this lot are the only white troops on the Canal bar some English Territorial artillery batteries, some Engineers and Sappers, the rest being all Indian Troops of which there are a large number. Indian Troops are on our left & right & some are with us. We left the railway line at 8.30am & crossed over to the Canal which is about 2 miles away and are now in the Trenches right on the Canal. The Otago Regt being at the railway behind us as reinforcements. We are all sleeping it the Trenches or most of them are and a few others just below them. We can see Suez from where we are and all are carrying their 150 rounds of ammunition & looking for scrap. The ground out to our front is patrolled all day & outposts are out at night. There are boats as well always moving up & down the Canal and also Cruisers and armed Merchantmen. Searchlights are going off & on all night searching the ground to our front as well. The N.Z reinforcements landed at Suez today and went through by train to our camp at Zeitoun, we saw the trains go past but were not very close to them.
Thursday January 28th
There was nothing doing at all last night everything quiet, we have a fairly easy time of it here in the trenches, of course we are always making the trenches better and ourselves as comfortable as possible of course we are all sleeping out in the open air. Our Regiment extends along the Canal about 3 % miles of Trenches and there is a fort about the center of it. Today the Australian Troops passed by us in their transports and one N.Z transport with the horses etc aboard for Alexandria where they will disembark. There were about 15000 of them went through, 13 ships. We were of course only about a chain away from them as they passed. We barrack all the ships that come past (and there are a dose of them too) and most of them (i.e. the Liners) chuck tins of cigarettes overboard to us which the men swim out and get, our Coy has got about 50 or 60 tins already, which nearly keeps them going. We do not know how long we have to stop here. We are simply waiting for the Turks to attack us. There has been a few of them caught since we came here.
Friday January 29th
This morning at about 4am we had orders to concentrate at a certain point so there was a big bustle I can tell & the boys were quite delighted thinking there was a bit of scrapping to be done after we got there & waited awhile we got word to go back again & that was the finish of that.
At 10 this morning we had the pleasure of seeing one of the aeroplanes go out on a scouting expedition, my word they are all right, it was not long before it was out of
sight. It got back again late in the afternoon. The Turks are about 12 miles out that is one part of them numbering about 8000 with a lot of guns with them also section of a pontoon bridge which they would swing across the Canal to get over if they can manage it, there are supposed to 3 columns of Turks coming by different routes, the one that I am talking about is just opposite our position & we expect them along the 1st dark night now. The moon at present is at full and is very light. The boys are all anxious to get into it. None of our Mounted men etc are on the Canal at present but are still in camp. Neither are the Australians here yet.
But the railway runs all alongside the Canal & they can bring troops up whenever they like very quickly. We have all the advantage here. The Turks have with them German Officers.
Saturday January 30th
There was nothing much doing last night excepting that some snipers fired a few rounds a 'A' Company who are at the opposite end of the line to us, we have asked to send them to send them up our way for a change. Today has been a pretty quiet as well, except for the ships passing up & down. We are still improving our trenches. All letters are strictly censored here now both going out & coming in.
Sunday January 31st
Things are again very quiet all the men have been paid today & are now spending it at the canteen where they don't forget to charge for it either. My word it is getting hot here now.
Monday February 1st 1915
This morning all had to turn out again & man the Trenches at about 4am until after daybreak but nothing much occurred. We had again the pleasure of seeing 2 aeroplanes go up and do a bit of scouting, my word it is fine to see them flying about & as steady as a rock.
There has been a lot of ships passing backwards & forwards through the canal & all have the bridge sand bagged as to stop bullets interfering with the compass and steering gear. This is a great for small flies and mosquitoes sometimes they nearly drive a chap dilly & there are a half dozen or so of our lot that you can't recognise for swollen features from mosquito bites.
Tuesday February 2nd
We did not have an early rise this morning everything being very quiet through the night. Today it is blowing I like fun & you can't eat anything without its full of sand as well as in your eyes & down your back in everywhere. What between sand, wind, flies & a few other odds & ends to mix things a bit, you don't much time to do much but use foul language, which in nearly every case is more forcible than polite. The wind has gone down a bit at dusk and we are getting to bed early, as we may be called out owing to it being cloudy & it will not be too light tonight. The searchlights are playing over the ground to the front out in the desert.
Wednesday February 3rd
Today has been full of incidents. This morning just after midnight at 2.20am we had our first baptism of fire. We were awakened by hearing the Turks firing at our trenches galore. We quickly manned the trenches and I can tell you that the bullets did whistle some, there were one or two narrow squeaks but we had nobody hurt, we
don't know what damage was done to the Turks. They had all cleared back by daylight. The boys were remarkably cool & collected & behaved splendidly. A few miles up the Canal further towards Ismalia the other New Zealanders had a bit bigger scrap lasting up till 9 this morning. There was a much bigger Force of Turks and there were a lot of dead ones lying out in the desert this morning. There were 2 or 3 N.Z. wounded. We all packed up at about 8am this morning got on the ferry boat & went further up the Canal to man a couple of forts there, half of our company occupying 1 fort & there other half occupying a fort about 2 miles further on with 2 machine guns attached. My word they are grand little forts with wire entanglements out all round them with electric bells attached. We are expecting a much bigger attack tonight.
The Cruisers on the Canal fired 4 or 5 guns last night (shrapnel) we could see them burst. There are armed merchant men & cruisers all along the Canal with big guns just as we got to our fort today. One of them started firing away out into the desert, we were not more than 3 chains away from her. They do kick up a row too. I don't think the Turks have much chance of crossing the Canal. I am not stopping at the fort tonight but have come back in the ferry boat and am camped at the railway again. I will be going out to the 2 forts again in the morning with provisions for them so am getting a good bit of traveling. At time of writing can see the search lights all going strong. We took up with us this morning 24,000 rounds of ammunition besides what the men carry (150 rounds each).
Thursday February 4th 1915
The night passed off quietly for us I went up again on the ferry boat with food for the chaps at the forts. Just before we started the ship guns were firing alongside the fort where our men are at Turks out in the desert, they scattered them too. One of our patrols were driven in last night about 9.30pm. The Turks higher up the canal managed to reach the canal and launch some aluminum boats they brought with them for the purpose, they let them launch the boats & then our ships blew them up & settled that lot. Our troops had 28 casualties there were a lot of dead Turks out in the desert & about 100 Turks were captured.
Friday February 5th 1915
Last night was quiet, went up on the pilot boat with provisions all our crowd, things generally are pretty quiet today. Part of our Regt went out on a reconnaissance with 4 guns of the English Territorial battery a lot of Gurkhas & Indian lancers. They came across the Turks but had to get back again owing to being greatly out numbered. We had 1 lancer (Indian) killed. 300 Turks were captured at Isamalia.
Saturday February 6th 1915
Last night again quiet, up the canal again as usual with food and took charge of a Turkish Soldier (who had given himself up) & brought him down to the Headquarters. He said they were 2 months & 4 days getting to the canal from where they started from. Among the captured Turks were 1 or 2 German Officers.
Sunday February 7th 1915
Everything quiet, went up with food and took a priest up with us and had to wait while he gave his mob a sermon, so we went up further and went on board the Armed Cruiser Himalaya for an hour & a half. She has six 4.7 guns on board. There is a
mixed crowd on board of her, French sailors & English Naval men & Naval Reserve men besides Indians & a few other odds & ends. We got back about 3 o’clock.
Monday February 8th
Am on the bunk now with sand Colic, (been posting sentries all night) (sand colic is dysentery) am pretty crook with stomach ache.
Tuesday February 9th 1915
Am still down with sand colic. There is not much to say otherwise. Word has been received that the Turks are retreating. But whether it is good for us or not we can't say at present. Have not had such a bad day today.
Wednesday February 10th
Am feeling a bit better today. On reading over these notes I find I have not named the forts where our Company are, No 13 and 16 platoon of a 108 men are at No 4 post or what is called the Gurkha post and No 14 and 15 platoon of 105 men at No 5 post called the Chatruf post. These posts are about 2 1/2 miles apart. According to official reports our patrols have buried over 500 dead Turks to date and the hospitals are full of wounded, some have since died.
Thursday February 11th 1915
Am still down to it and so are a lot more. It is supposed to come through eat too much sand with the tucker. There is nothing to write about here at present things being very quiet. I have not been up the canal this week yet at all. Will be glad to get back again.
Friday February 12th 1915
Still in camp. Am sending field post cards this day as all letters are strictly censored now. There is nothing doing.
Saturday February 13th
Am feeling alright today but am a bit week yet and am staying in camp. There were another 100 Turks captured today below us today and there has not been many about this last day or two. Have not received no letters from anyone this 3 weeks or more.
Sunday February 14th 1915
A nice day. Went up the canal with food for men again today as usual on board pilot boat Lynsc. Took Parson up with us and waited while he took two services. The boys were having a football match when we got back. The Turks seem to have disappeared now. I do not know when I will be able to get these notes away. But will send them at first opportunity. The aeroplanes were flying about today.
Monday February 15th 1915
Up the Canal with provisions again & did not get back until about 7pm, everything being quiet & about as usual.
Tuesday February 16th
Went up the Canal again in the morning with food & then the pilot boat went on up further to the small bitten lake, it was a nice trip & did not get back again until 7pm. The weather is splendid & this is my last trip up with food for a while as our company
is shifting from the forts & are going further along the Canal towards Suez tomorrow. The whole of the regiment is shifting to different positions on the canal.
Wednesday February 17th 1915
Have shifted over to the Canal today and am fixing up things generally. Our Company came down in the barge and got to their place about 5pm so did not get tea till about 8.30pm. It was fairly late when we got settled down.
Where we are now the flies, especially small sand flies and mosquitoes are a darned nuisance. There's hundreds of them or rather millions of them here. Some of the chaps have got their eyes bunged up & nose about twice the size of normal. We are only about 4 miles from Suez and can see down on it quite easy and can see the place all lit up at night. Several ships of Indian troops have passed here lately.
Thursday February 18th 1915
Things have got back again now to normal now and there is not much doing, every now and again a Turk or a Bedouin gives himself up but that is all.
Butter we have not seen for months nor NZ cheese, we get Egyptian cheese here for an issue but they chuck it into the Canal, very few eat it (I don’t) butter costs 2/6 a lb here that is Australian and you can't get much of that, needless to say we don't get it at their price.
Although it is winter time here you don't see any rain here at all. And it is a big job to get wood here also. All the chaps have cut their pants off to their knees and made shorts out of them like the cadets, they alright too.
Friday February 19th 1915
There is not much to write about today as it is very quiet, the Turks have gone off, the only thing that keeps things moving is seeing the ships past & the aeroplanes dodging about.
Saturday February 20th
The men are doing their washing today in the fresh water canal and it is awful hot & what with this to help things along with it is not too nice sometimes.
Sunday February 21St
Had church services here this morning, it's pretty warm too & otherwise not much doing.
Monday February 22nd
Another warm day have been dodging about a bit. The boys play football in the afternoons and all that & we mostly kill mosquitoes in the tent of an evening with candles. We do not do much drill in the day, they all bathe in the canal from 11 til 12 noon & from 4 til 5 in the afternoon.
Tuesday February 23 1915
Nothing doing much just the same old formula not in the daytime mosquitoes at night.
Wednesday February 24th 1915
Still in the same place a big mail in today, got nothing. We hear we are going back to Zeiloun on Friday for a week or two before going to Europe or Turkey. Later have sent our swag over to the railway line.
Thursday February 25th
Busy to day pack our gear up and pulling down tents and shifting the stuff over to the station. We shifted over ourselves after dinner where we are sleeping out ready to entrain in the morning for Zeitoun.
Friday Feb 26th 1915
Up early and got our gear on to the train and left Kubri for Zeitoun at 9:35am reaching there at about 3:30 where they had plenty of transport waiting for us and it was no time before we were on the old spot and got our fuels up again and also felt more at home. The reinforcements are here and are soon struck up a few of them that I knew.
Saturday Feb 27th 1915
Men all in today fixing up things one way and another. Its blowing a bit today, this is the windy month here. I think pretty well everybody went into town tonight being the first time for over a month. I got my photos tonight and will be forwarding them first opportunity. They say the letters are still being censored so don't know when I will be able to send these few notes.
Sunday February 28th
Church service held here this morning and it is very windy. I have had to take back our ammunition from the Coy and count it. This has taken me all day pretty well. I forgot to mention yesterday that E. Clifton came up to see me last night. Charlies came up at tea time so I saw him all right, he looks just the same. He is at Abassia Barracks which is in between us and Cairo about three miles away. So what between one thing and another I did not get much time to write to you but have started it.
Monday March 1st 1915
Posted a letter away to day to you and just as I was finishing got Cablegrame to Re family which had been waiting here for a week. Also sent some photos with letter. The chaps have all been out drilling today, everybody is getting ready to shift from Egypt but exactly where we are going we do not know. We are getting butter again now for a change.
Tuesday March 2nd 1915
A nice day here to-day, the men are drilling around the camp and go for a bit of a route march in the afternoon. Part of the Australian force left Egypt on Sunday night but we do not quite know where they have gone to. We expect to go anytime now. The troops do divisional training tomorrow.
Wednesday March 3rd
Went out with the troops to day for divisional training, left camp at 7:45. Took lunch with us and got back again to camp at 7:30pm pretty hungry and Tired. My feet scolded a bit, it was the roughest march I have been on and dustiest, you not have
known any of them when they came back with dust and sweat. My word it was hot and there were a lot fell out. I am posting a table center which I got the other night as a birthday present. I might not have another chance here also some beads etc and head bands which were got at Columbo.
Thursday March 4th
My feet are sore today I can tell you the coys' are parading about the camp and are just coming in as I write this. I forgot to say on Tuesday evening Ernie Edmondson came up to our camp with a chap named Page I don't know whether it was Maggie’s chap or not, I forgot to ask. I did not see them for long as I was pretty busy, and there was always somebody after me, but they are not far from me, Ernie is in the engineer coy here and Page is in the mounted rf.
Friday March 5th 1915
It is pretty warm today and there is not much doing, we have to go tonight to take up a defensive position about 9 miles out. There will be about 16000 men out. We do not know as yet.
Saturday March 6th
We left camp last night at 8:40pm for the march out. We got there about 1 0 clock in the morning and then they had to set to work digging trenches and one thing and another until nearly daylight, when they were attacked. After that was finished we left for camp. We left there at 7-5am and reached camp without a spell at 9:30am which was good going. It was a bit rough on the feet (I raised a blister or two). We had breakfast at 10 0 clock and then most of them slipped into bed for a sleep. I did for one.
Sunday March 7th 1915
It is very quiet here today. About everybody has gone out. I stopped behind as my feet are not too good and I am a bit lazy, so I am writing this up for tomorrows mail. Went downtown tonight and got some silk goods so look for them.
Friday April 9th 1915
Ruahine Coy and Taranaki Coy left camp for the Tram at Palais De Koubbeh at 11:15pm to entrain for Alexandria. We left our kit bags behind and went with one blanket and what we carry valise on our backs. The other two coys of our regiment follow an hour or two later part of other regiments have already gone. That is Infantry Regiments. We don't know when the mounteds are leaving and they don't like it having to stop behind.
Saturday April 10th
We left Palais De Koubbeh Station for Alexandria about 1:30 am or 2 and reached the wharf at Alexandria about 8am and went aboard the Troop ship Itonus about 10am where we soon sorted ourselves out and got settled down. There are two companies of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment on board the same boat making a total including the machine gun section and signaling squad and a few minor details of 1152 men on board and about a dozen mules. The Itonus is a 4 masted cargo steamer and has a fine troop. She does not carry many passengers. The ships crew are mostly niggers. At about 2:30pm and after packing up a steam launch with two barges ( which we are
towing with us and which are going to be used to land the troops with) we made sail for the islands of Lemnos close to the Dardenalles where the warships and troopships are concentrating before starting operation. The sea is nice and calm and I have seen very little sea sick people as for myself have not felt any sign of it. I have taken a snapshot of the launch and barges being towed behind us. There were French troop in Alexandria when we left as well as a lot of other troop ships British and all sorts. The French troops are mostly I think from Algeria and North Africa. Today we are filling on bully beef and biscuits and of course tea. There are four of us SMs in a cabin in the second class.
Sunday April 11th 1915
Everybody has just about settled down by now, we held a church parade this morning. It was a bit funny sleeping on a soft mattress again and it would have been first rate only. I started to scratch after being in my bed for a while and could not make it out until we found it was bugs, they are all right, but I think I have fixed them now with some insect powder we had issued to us just before we left camp. At half past seven this evening just as it got dark and I might mention it has been raining all the afternoon the hawser broke with which we were towing the steam launch and barges and we are now standing by until morning to see if we can pick them up again.
Monday April 12th 1915
Well we had a bit of excitement this morning. The ship started off at day break after the launches in the opposite direction to which we were going and came up with them or at least the steam launch and one barge, (the other had broke loose and was not in sight) about 7am. The sea was up a bit and we could see there would be trouble to get them hitched up again. Any way the ship ran alongside and six or seven of the ships men got into them but the sea started to bash them against the ships side taking junks off them. And as the launch went past the stern the propeller tore two or three plates off her. They got a rope on at last and after a little while, they parted too and so they were loose again. Most of this time an hour or two we were lying still in a choppy sea and if our boat did not roll it was a caution I thought she would go right over, you could hear dishes and things rolling all over the ship, some chaps were thrown to the deck and went sliding from one side to the other three or four times before they could get up again. Well the job now was to get the men off the launch and barge on to the ship again. We started to launch a boat but had to give it up and it is a wonder some did not get smashed, at last the Launch filled with water where the propeller had struck her down she went under the sea dragging the barge with her and letting the men into the sea and that was the last we saw of the launch and barges. After a bit of excitement we managed to the men aboard with ropes and life belts but it was a wonder we did not lose some of them. Some of them got bruised a bit but they all got on board safely and then we went on again to Lemnos. The ship did not roll so much when we got moving so that was the end of an exciting morning.
Tuesday April 13th 1915
The weather is good again and we are down to normal again. We have been passing dozens of islands on the way and the weather is a lot colder about the same as NZ weather. We have bacon every morning for breakfast and use also dried vegetables for tea.
Wednesday April 14th
We got into the harbour at Lemnos about 7am this morning and it is a pretty place the hills are all green which is the first green grass we have seen for many months there is no ration of sand which is more than something too. The harbour here is full of warships and troop ships dozens of them I have taken a snap or two as we went in. There are a lot of torpedo boats and destroyers as well also submarines. There are English French and Russian war vessels here and they have torpedo nets right across the entrance of the harbour leaving a small channel in the day time to get through. The Dreadnought Queen Elizabeth which you will have read about in the papers carrying 15inch guns is in here and I have taken a photo of her. The warships are waiting for the land forces to help by land before going on with operations in the Dardenalles. All lights are screened at night here, aeroplanes dropped a few bombs here two nights ago. There will be a big army of troops here when we start. Lemnos (where we are at present) is about 30miles from the Dardenalles.
Thursday April 15th
A fine day to-day our crowd are practicing embarking and disembarking in the ships boats. Fresh arrivals of Troopships have been coming in off and on all day. There are getting a big crowd of ships here in the harbour. It is a fine harbour too for such a small island. Some of the troops are camped ashore.
Friday April 16th 1915
All the troops on our boat have gone ashore in the boats for a run round on the grass and through the villages and town of course it is only a small place. The Queen Elizabeth is not far from us and I would like to get aboard of her to have a look round. She is the biggest warship in the Navy and is the latest boat carrying 8 fifteen inch guns and she does look a beauty too. We held a concert on board tonight.
Saturday April 17th
A nice day have been practicing disembarking again today it has been washing day as well another transport has come in with Australians on board and has tied up alongside us in the harbour. Another Transport has just come in as well with troops aboard it, it was held up by a Turkish torpedo boat coming across and the crowd were given 4 minutes to get off the boat before being sunk but it did not come off somehow and it finished with the torpedo boat being captured by our cruisers.
Sunday April 18th 1915
Church services started here this morning at about 6:30am and went on till about 9:30 of course different denominations. The chaps on our boat had fresh beef and vegetables roasted also plum duff for a change. It is a grand day to day and I had the pleasure of going on board the warships Queen Elizabeth and looking over her and it was an eye opener I can tell you, its simply marvelous the way she is done up. I was in the gun turrets of the 15inch guns and they are great, the shell that she fires weighs 1920 lbs just under a ton and the distance she can fire them is about 25 miles. When they use a shrapnell shell the shell has 1838 shrapnell bullets in with a diameter of about an inch and an eighth, so you can fancy what happens when one bursts of course she is loaded by machinery and all that, her armour plates are 13 1/2 inches thick. She has anti-aircraft guns as well besides 16 six inch guns and a lot of quick fires. It would take too long to describe everything here and also take up paper so will
leave it until a better opportunity occurs but I would not miss seeing her for something.
Monday April 19th 1915
All the men have gone ashore for a route march and a look around the island. There are about 30 villages on it, of course only small ones and the population is about 20,000 all told (Greeks). They are very old fashioned in their ways and dress and mostly wear sheepskin coats and pants with the wooly side in of course, and sheep skin boots with stockings they weave and make themselves. We see two water planes go up yesterday and fly round the island. They are great.
Tuesday April 20th 1915
We are still in the harbour of Lemnos waiting to get away and are expected to go any time. Transports continue to come in and at present there are about one hundred and fifty troop ships and warships etc in here so you can imagine that things look fairly brisk here and it is a beautiful harbour here too. It is raining here at present.
Wednesday April 21st 1915
It is still raining a little here and there is not much doing. We hear that the mail has come in but we have not got any on board. Everybody is busy getting his boots oiled for when he goes ashore as weather conditions are much the same as in New Zealand so are sure to get our share of rain.
Thursday April 22nd 1915
The weather is fine today and there has not been a great deal of work done owing to the mail coming on board and being distributed I received yours to day also one from May and one from Ted. All mail is censored now so am posting you field postcards tomorrow. Was very pleased to hear from you all also received papers from you and also one from May. There were 91 bags of mail came in for the mob so that sounds healthy. Everybody is busy getting ready to go for landing we have two big pontoons behind us now for transhipping and we expect we will have to land under fire and as we will have to fight for water when we land we are fixing up biscuits tins and filling them with water to take ashore with us. There is practically no word on the land and water is scarce. We will be carrying three days rations on each man also and what with extra ammunition we will have a darned big load each.
Friday April 24th 1915
A fine day to everybody is busy again getting fixed up. Posted cards to you, May and Ted today. At 4:30pm some of the troop ships started to leave the harbour and they are still going, so I suppose it will not be long before ours goes.
Saturday April 24th
Most of the troop ships have gone now and so have all the war ships and we are to go in the morning. It is a nice day and we have got another two pontoons on the back of us for transhipping troops and stores, horses etc.
Sunday April 25th 1915
This has been a red letter day and also a red day. We left Lemnos about 7am this
morning and reached the Gallipoli Peninsula about 3 in the afternoon. We could hear
the warships bombarding the places as soon as we left and a good while before we got
there we could see the warships sending shell after shell all over the place it was a great sight. The British force landed at one place and we landed lower down about 4 miles. The Australians landed a force at daybreak just as we left Lemnos and they got shelled properly but they charged up the hill and got there all right but went a bit too far and had to retire back again. They lost a terrible lot of men doing it too. We started landing to help them in the afternoon and if we had not they would have got about wiped out. Our boat did not start to unload until evening and I did not get on shore until about 2:30 am Monday morning and while we were waiting to go off the wounded started to come aboard in boat loads. We went off on a torpedo boat destroyer called the Bull dog. The first lot of ours to go off got shelled getting to the shore and some were brought back wounded to the ship within an hour of going off.
Monday April 26th 1915
Well no sleep last night, our coy is in reserve on the hill to day and it is awful to see the continual lives of wounded going on board the ships one continual stream all day mostly Australians as they bear the brunt of it the first day. The hills are steep right down to the beach and covered in scrub, and the warships are sending shell after shell among the Turks and they are shelling us the whole time, it is Hell let loose. We have all got little dug outs in the hills to get in from shrapnel shells and where we are now, the wounded go on to the pontoons about three chain from where I am and it is rotten to see them on stretches on the pontoons and the Turks putting shrapnel shells on to them a lot have been hit there they are taken off them with a lighter. We have no blankets with us, but we have got a footing here, and talk about a roar the warships firing all the time over us it is awful.
Tuesday April 27th 1915
This morning we had our first casualty for our Coy Sgt O'Neale being shot dead and there have been numerous narrow escapes, an officer standing near us was shot through the leg. We left our present spot this morning to take up a position on the left wing in the firing line and reached there in the afternoon at least the coy did, I was hung back on the beach with provisions for the rest of the day and put three hours under shrapnel fire and had a lot of narrow escapes. Two donkeys were killed close to me and a horse had the side of his head knocked off and another / was hit on the flank before they were shifted. I don't want to repeat the dose either. Our Coy got up into the line and nearly the first thing was a bayonet charge and the Turks did bolt but our casualties started too and men were falling everywhere Lieut Wilson of Masterton Dentist was killed also Lieut Hugo of our Coy and Lieut Furby of our Coy wounded also a lot of men. It was Hellish. There were fighting all night too.
Wednesday April 28th 1915
Fighting still going on and the wounded are going past in streams again but in the afternoon it eased off and there has not been so many casualties since they got dug into the ground which they are making every day. Up to the present Our Company has lost 8 killed 34 wounded and 3 missing. We have lost in the Regt 3 Sgt Majors killed SM McDonald from Napier, SM McGlade from Taranaki and SM Bonar from Taranaki. The Auckland Regt have lost 7 Sgt Majors and there is not a Company that has not lost a dose of men. Our Company has about the least casualties of any, so you can understand what the fighting is like. The bodies are beginning to smell now too, now we bury all we can but you can't get near most of them or else you get pipped. About four thousand of the Naval Brigade came ashore to-night and went into the
trenches. The Turks fired a bayonet charge on to our trenches last night, the boys waited they got about 20 yards off and then turned loose the rifles and maxim guns and just about wiped them out, they then charged them in turn and you should have seen them bolt for live. Their snipers though are marvelous you can hardly stick your nose above a trench without you get a dozen bullets through it. There are hundreds of dead Turks lying about as well as ours. They have lost a terrible lot more men than we have and there are a diggings of a lot of Germans amongst them. They have caught a few prisoners but the boys won't take many but shoot or run the bayonet through them. They have mutilated a lot of our wounded men and it makes the men vicious. Some of them have been caught with our uniforms on etc so they were court-martialled and shot. They sometimes come right into the trenches and give orders to cease fire and retire etc but they have got cautious now and if there is any suspicion about anyone they are held until someone vouches for them.
Thursday April 29th 1915
Things have been fairly quiet today and the boys are digging themselves in all the time as we have to hold this place at all costs for a while. The warships have busted up most of their artillery but they can soon get more down as they are on the railway. There has been hardly and casualties today. The worst thing here is there is no water where we are and it has all to come off the ships.
Friday April 30th 1915
Another quiet day except a few shells have been flying about. There has been only a few casualties. Some Companies and Regiments have lost nearly half their men of course mostly wounded, especially Australians but the whole force has done splendidly.
Saturday May 1st 1915
Things are fairly quiet to-day. There has been a few casualties but not many. Our boys got one on to the Turks this afternoon though without losing a man, the Turks dug a trench in front of ours at night and occupied it but the warships shelled them out and then they started out of it and the boys put the rifle fire into them also 9 machine got going on to them too and just about cleaned them out. There are hundreds of them lying out on the ground and they appear to be getting sick of it. They won't stand up to a bayonet charge at all as soon as they see the bayonets coming they bolt for their lives. Another five transports have come in with re-enforcements for us from England I think, but we have got this of Turks well in hand now. None of the Mounted Rifles are with us.
Sunday May 2nd 1915
Fighting is still going on slowly. We have got a good few Turkish rifles and lots of ammunition of theirs which the boys use to fire at them with. The Queen Elizabeth sunk a Turkish Transport across the Peninsula at about 14 mile range, she caught her the third shot. There has been very few casualties on our side to-day. The boys will be first class navies when they leave here though.
Monday May 3rd 1915
Am in the rest trench in rear of the firing trenches at present (about fifty or sixty yards behind) with 13 platoon. The rifles of the Turks and Quick-firing guns go all night and the row gets on your nerves. All the scrub etc in front of firing line is cut off
clean (just the same as if a mower had run over it) with rifle and machine gun fire, and Turk prisoners say that the German Officers and men had to drive the Turks to fight with pistols and bayonets. I have got a Turkish rifle, bayonet and belt which I am trying to hang onto to fitch home if I can. It is rough here though and they take shifting. The Dardenalles are supposed to be impregnable but I think they will be taken all right. We are getting plenty of food here but If I get back don't show me a dog biscuit or bully Beef for the next year or two, and it is darn cold at nights without blankets too. Our boys have been in the firing line in the trenches a week now and a spell would not hurt them for a day or two, it is tiring work and very little sleep can be got, and at present there are not enough men to relieve them. If it had not been for the warships we could not have landed here at all, but they do give them what-oh. Up to present there has been eleven Sgt Majors Knocked out, some of course only wounded. There's one thing you hardly hear a growl out of any of the men and they do get into it. The chaps are getting a bit Lousy on it now having no change with them but I am clear yet.
Tuesday May 4th 1915
We are still in the tenches but expect to be relieved soon, we have not had any casualties as far as our coy is concerned lately, and we are getting grand weather but it is cold at night. We have not had our boots or clothes off for a fortnight now, let alone a wash I think I have had three. We bowled over one or two of the Turks quick-firing guns and the continual firing gets on your nerves.
Wednesday May 5th
The NZ Infantry and some Australian Infantry are shifting down to the beach today, the Naval reserve men are taking our places in the firing line so that will be all right. The name of the place we are at is Kaba Tepe and I believe we are to shift about 17 miles down the coast.
Thursday May 6th 1915
At about 8:30 last night we embarked on board Torpedo boats and set off for a place unknown which turned out to be 17 miles down the coast to where the British and French forces landed. We reached there about 3:30am this morning and it was chilly too. We shifted inland then about 2 miles in the direction from which we came, we landed at Cape Helles. There are a lot of troops here French, Indian, British and ourselves with Australians. The troops that relieved us are holding there till we come up with them. Fighting is going on here lively and the Turks are being pushed back all the time, we are spelling for a couple of days and then we are starting again on the war path, they have a terrible lot of guns here and right amongst them. The country is a lot flatter here and plenty of green feed and a lot better place for water, but the east winds here are pretty chilly.
Friday May 7th 1915
A nice to-day, we shifted this afternoon for the Firing line which is about 4 miles ahead and past through acres of Sage and Thyme, there is a lot of this stuff growing here. We are in the left flank along the beach, we halted about a mile and a half from the firing line at the bottom of a gully. The other three Coys of our Regt went on. I went to bed about 8 o'clock and at a quarter to nine had to get up and they took all except myself and another one to the top of the hill about a mile and a half and at midnight they came back again swearing at top and wet footed.
Saturday May 8th 1915
This morning after breakfast it was up packs and we marched to the rear again about a mile or so and after about 10 minutes there we had to go back to the place we left and on to the firing line and the language was worthy of the best bullocky's. We remained just behind the firing line until the afternoon about 4:30 when our Company was launched forward while an artillery duel was going on, and it was a sad for us. The boys went into it like heroes and it was not long before the wounded started to come along but they got there what was left of them and the English Officers have christened our boys the White Ghurkas. We went in with 168 men and Officers and we have lost, killed and wounded over half of them. We lost 5 Officers out of 6 all wounded. The only thing good about it is that nearly all were wounded and not many killed. They caught the Shrapnel and machine gun fire and most of them are wounded in the arms and legs. SM Domney was shot in the foot and Lieut Cowan was badly wounded in three or four places. Major Saunders was shot in the leg also Lieut Lee Kopke from Maungatainoka was wounded and also George May from same place, he got it in the backside. The rest of the N.Z's got it more or less after we had gone in but we came off worst. It is sickening to see the wounded coming in great big wounds and just about half the Main Body that left NZ cut short (that is the Infantry) has been put out of action, also the Australians and the same thing has happened to the other troops here, but they caught it whilst landing. But there is one thing about for every one of us put out there has been six Turks done in. They are lying about in hundreds. The Turks ask for an Armistice to bury dead and it was granted. The British buried 1800 Turks in the one day so you can have an idea what it is like. We are steadily advancing all the time our Re-enforcements landed here to-day and I believe the mounteds in Egypt are coming out as Infantry. A brigade of Indian troops have just come up and there are 15,000 troops on the transports waiting to come off now with more to come. The big fort to take is only a mile or two in front of us to take and if we get that it will about settle the Turks here and the warships will be able to get through the Narrows.
Sunday May 9th 1915
We have not lost any men today but they are continually bringing in the wounded, but the trouble is that there are a lot you can't get near too as the Turks fire on you or put a few more bullets into the wounded they are not particular. Our guns have been playing up with the Turks this afternoon and have been blowing them out of the
trenches. Buster Eager is still at it and is alright, he has been promoted to Sergeant. The Indian Brigade has gone to the firing line this evening and relieved some of the Tommies. The French troops here have also been playing up with the Turks, they pretended to retire and when the Turks came after them the French let loose their machine guns onto them and settled about 400 of them in one pop.
Monday May 10th 1915
A quiet day, the men are still in the trenches and we have not had any more casualties. We located a few more men to-day and there are an odd few wounded still coming in. We make tea and stew etc and get it taken to the trenches after dark by my ammunition carriers.
Tuesday May 11th 1915
Another quiet day, of course shooting is going on all the time our Coy or what is left and the rest of the Regt are coming out of the trenches to-night and going back a
bit to spell for 3 or 4 days. The casualties to date are one killed 54 wounded and 28 missing leaving us a total of 85 men to take back with us to spell.
Wednesday May 12th 1915
The boys did not come out of the trenches until daybreak this morning and they were relieved by the Manchesters, we had a hot breakfast for them after which we went back a couple of miles into dug outs for a rest. It was raining a bit and things were a bit muddy and uncomfortable. Eight of the missing men turned up today but we are afraid that the rest are all settled.
Thursday May 13th 1915
A nice day to day and very hot. We managed to get our underclothing off today and have a washing day which was sadly needed. A small mail reached us today and I got one from Fred and you with the map. We are getting stacks of tucker here. I was offered a commission as Lieut but did not think it worthwhile.
Friday May 14th 1915
A nice to day and we are still having a rest. The Turks still shell us two or three times a day but do not do much damage. We are landing a lot of heavy guns here now. The aeroplanes are up most of the day dodging round and over the Turk positions and they are all right. The Turks waste a lot of ammunition firing shells at them. The Mounted men have come over I think and are the place we took first, they have left horses behind and came as infantry.
Saturday May 15th 1915
The shells have been coming over pretty thick today and we had one man hurt in the legs and they wasted a few more shells on the air craft. We saw one of the cruisers go up the Dardanelles enhance a bit and put 32 shells in as she went along in a few minutes and then get back again. After dark all our batteries started on the Turks position and the sky was lit up with guns going off and shells bursting, my word there was a din, there are guns all round us. We had fresh meat issued today for the first time and the boys have been road making today.
Sunday May 16th 1915
A fine day, our boys are all away road making etc and it would surprise you to see the place now and when we first landed. There are plenty of shells flying about again and I counted sixty one shells fired at one of our aeroplanes this afternoon and they did not get within a mile of her. They must have fired thousands of shells at our air craft since we started and have not got any yet. According to our official news here
the Turks are estimated to have lost 55,000 men (wounded etc). There are a digging of a lot of Tortoises here all sizes, I would like to fetch Fred home one, it would amuse him. We get rum twice a week also Tobacco and occasionally lime juice I think we will be moving into the firing line shortly. We have not got our blankets yet ashore. We have not heard of any of our missing men yet, I'm afraid most of them are goners.
Monday May 17th 1915
Our Coy had to start work on the roads at 4am this morning until nine AM when they rested for the rest of day. The Turks have been pelting the airships again today and gave us a turn at tea time but did not hurt any of us although there were one or two close things. One of our boys was doing No.2 at the latrines when a shell came and landed alongside him but luckily did not burst and I will say he did not wait to do
his pants up either anyway not just there, we got the shell after. There are a lot of shells that did not burst (faulty ammunition). Its great here to see the Frenchmen fishing for Frogs with a line in the small creeks. It is pretty hot here in the daytime.
Tuesday May 18th 1915
A fine day and there are plenty of shells flying about. Otherwise we are not doing much harm. We are getting a few clothes etc for those that need them and most of them belong to the ragged brigade.
Wednesday May 19th 1915
A nice day and we got a little surprise this evening at 5pm when we got orders to pack up and head back to Kaba Tepe where we were first to re enforce the troops there who are all Australians and New Zealanders as the Turks were attacking there in force so we got ready and went on board mine sweepers on to a transport at 8pm. My word there was a crush on board about three thousand and the balance came on the mine sweepers.
Thursday 20th May 191 .5
We reached Kaba Tepe by daylight and disembarked back at the old spot. They had a big engagement last night, when the Turks brought 25,000 fresh re-enforcements. They kept going for 5 hours and they got the devil knocked out of them. Their bases are about 7000 men ours only 300. There are 500 dead Turks in a patch of eight acres let alone the rest of the line, so you can guess they got all they wanted. We have not had any Fresh casualties so far excepting one or two gone to hospital. We have got two Re-enforcement officers with us now all men are from the same and they are all a rum lot, not a patch on our original Company. I forgot to say that while we were landing a German aeroplane came over us and dropped a bomb or two but did not hurt anything except the water. One of our men on our tug got a bullet through the neck before we got ashore and died (a Canterbury man).
Friday May 21st 1915
A warm day busy making dug outs in the gully, otherwise all is fairly quiet again. Although there is shooting going on all the time and we all have to stand to arms at 3:30am every morning, its all right. We got our blankets to day and my Camera, the only thing is I am short of spools, but will have a dozen to forward to you first opportunity. Col Chaytor got hit to day in the arm with a shrapnel bullet.
Saturday May 22nd 1915
It has been a bit damp this morning and there is a little mud knocking about. One of our Coy got hit in the leg with shrapnel and has had to go off. Twenty eight bags of mail came in to day for our Regiment, it has been hanging about for this last fortnight. I got two from you dated 24/3/15 and 31/3/15 also two or three bundles of papers, I got a letter and Free Lance from May as well. You were wrong in packing me the Weekly, I was not in that group. I appear three times in the Weekly's, one in the Vaccination parade, once in a group of it C O's and also in the Weekly that has the Vaccination lot in it, you would see me at the photo of the Obelisk The Paper in Mch 11th.
Sunday May 23rd 1915
A nice day again. Received another letter from you dated 7/4/15, glad to hear kiddies and you are getting along all right. We are still lying in the gully just behind the firing line. They are making roads etc all over the place here. A Turkish Colonel came in today under a flag of truce to arrange for an armistice to bury the dead. We had a few more Re-enforcements drafted into us today.
Monday May 24th
The armistice started this morning when all operations ceased from 7:30am until 4:30pm. Both sides sent out parties who were out all day and it seemed quite funny not to be hearing rifles and guns going off all the time. Both sides mixed up and jabbered away to one another and there seemed to be nearly as many Germans as Turks here. Part of our trenches are only 30 yards away from the Turkish Trenches We found a couple of our missing men out there shot dead all right. At 4:30pm they started banging again.
Tuesday May 25th 1915
We are still banging away. One of the enemy's submarine's sank one of our cruisers at dinner time to-day. We could see the cruiser from where we are. You should have seen the Torpedo boat destroyers flying around after the submarine's (there were two of them). We were all watching them from the hill. I believe they
sank one of them but one got away. The NZ Mounteds came out of the trenches today and were relieved by the Australian Light horse. The Mounteds cannot understand how we ever took the hill at all.
Wednesday May 26th 1915
A very warm day to day and those that have shorts are wearing them again. About two thousand Australian Re-enforcements arrived here today and one or two of the slightly wounded men. I sent home a cable today stating I am quite well they are sent from Alexandria. There were a terrible lot of them sent away from here. There is not a great deal doing here just at present.
Thursday May 27th
Another fine day and things are about as usual. We are quite used to the open air treatment now. A lump of shell landed on the back of our dug out today but done no further damage. The hill at Cape Helles was given out today as being taken by our own troops but is not official as yet. There was an open air concert held here tonight and it was all night.
Friday May 28th 1915
A nice day but hot. The boys in the trenches have been slathering up the Turks a good bit last night. The Australians on the right and NZs on the left. We took two trenches between us on both flanks and in the centre the Turks have drove a tunnel to get under our Trenches to blow them up and we are doing the same. At any rate we got ours in and set it off at about the same time as the Turks did and up she went but we got wind of it and the boys cleaned out in time. The Turks then rushed forward
and then they got it hot and to follow the boys charged their trench and killed about all in it. Along the line the Turks lost between 1500 and 2000 men, our side lost 170 men so that was not bad.
Saturday May 29th 1915
Things are still popping away. Some more Re-enforcements have landed here and there is not a great deal doing. There are always a lot of men in the sea bathing in the day-time. Had a bit of a close shave today sitting in my dug out with one of the Lieutenants, a Turkish shell came over and hit the side of the hill about 150 yds in front of us and burst and a piece of the shell flew back and landed right between us about 6 inches from my face and went through the od sheet.
Sunday May 30th 1915
Not much doing today, we are still in the Gully but are going into the Trenches soon again. We have one or two new officers in the Coy again now making us still one short and about 70 men still short.
Monday May 31st 1915
Two of the Coys in our Regt have gone into the trenches to relieve the Australians on the right. The place is called Courtenays post. We go there tomorrow to relieve some more of them. The 9th Mounteds which come from Wairarapa up towards Napier way got slathered up last night a bit with the 6th Mounteds from Manawatu side losing 63 men. The Turks lost nearly 400. Dick Davis got wounded and Capt Cameron, JD Cameron's son from Manawatu was killed and a lot of others as well. We are always getting a few prisoners every now and again. This is a swine of a place for wood and water though. I see Ernie Clifton today he has been bad with Dysentry for a fortnight.
Tuesday June 1st 1915
Left Reserve Gully at 10am and shifted round to Courtenays post which we reached just after dinner time and got into Dug-outs as a reserve to Taranaki Coy. The place we are in now is a dangerous show it is always being sniped at by Turkish snipers and there are a lot of casualties each day here. The Turkish trenches are only about 50yds off ours here and you have got to keep your nut down I can tell you. We have some Japanese Trench mortars here though which the Turks don't like a little bit. They throw a 6 inch bomb and when it bursts it shakes the trenches I can tell you. It is a splendid weapon and small, it has a range of about 40 yds. We also have rifles with a periscope on so that you can fire over the trench without showing yourself.
Wednesday June 2nd 1915
A fine day, a few men were sniped over here this morning again. Our Coy went into the firing trenches today and relieved Taranaki Coy. Each Coy stops in the trenches for two days and is then relieved by another so it is two days in and two days out. A few more troops landed here today.
Thursday June 3rd 1915
The Kings birthday today. The snipers chased us out of our cookhouse this morning. One bullet went past my ear and deafened it for the rest of the day and caught a chap behind me (of Taranaki Coy) through the leg, A few minutes after Two more of the same Coy got hit with one bullet, the same going through both legs of one and through the foot of the other, both were lying down together in their dug out. A few minutes later down went another (same Coy) and another a little later. We then thought it was time to shift our cook house. Previous to these one of our Coy got shot
through both legs a little lower down on the road along the bottom of the Gully which is the place most of them get hit. Later there were two or three more got it on this road. The next casualty was one of ours from the trench, he poked his frame up to have a smack at a sniper and got one through the shoulder. A little later one of our new Lieutenants got hit through the head and he died just after he was brought down. This makes 8 officers we have lost in our Coy to date. Still we do not loose many men in the trenches itself. It is a rotten little spot where we have got this time.
Friday June 4th 1915
This is Fred's Birthday isn't it. I wish him many returns of the day and hope he had a pleasant time. Had another close one today, was sitting by the fireplace when a bullet came just over my head went through the pole we hang the tins on and into the bank. The Turkish snipers are very active today. There has been fire and six smacked out today just here. Our Coy has not had any casualties today and came out of the trenches this afternoon for two days and then go in again. The warships and field guns have been bombarding the Turks very hard at Cape Helles, we could hear them going like mad from here. Some of the men wounded here at the start came back again today and started work again also some re-enforcements.
Saturday June 5th 1915
Last night at Eleven '0' Clock our side started attacking the Turks in Three different parts of the trenches. There were rifles and guns going all night. We took the trenches and captured 29 prisoners and two machine guns and talk about a din, it lifts off your head nearly. We had three men killed and three wounded out of our Coy this morning at breakfast time. At yesterdays bombardment at Cape Helles just below us the Turks lost 16,000 killed and wounded and had 2100 men taken prisoners, our side lost 1000 casualties and took 7 lines of Trenches and got into the Turks first line of cement Trenches. The Turks are getting the devil knocked out of them in these parts. It is a devil of a place here for water here though, we are allowed 1/3 of a gallon a day now with the prospect of having that reduced in the near future.
Sunday June 6th 1915
The only way you can tell the day or date here is by keeping a diary and I'm hanged if you are too sure of it then. There is plenty of shrapnel flying around this morning and a few have been hit. The parsons held voluntary Church in different places, but it is a bit difficult when shrapnel is flying around like this morning and when you are in the middle of prayer or hymn you all have to duck and lie down to dodge it like they had to do this morning at our post. Our Company went in again to the firing trenches this afternoon for another couple of times.
Monday June 7th 1915
A very warm day nearly all the men have cut their pants off at the knees and wear the top half of course. Two men squatting at the Latrines were shot this morning, one through the hand and stomach and the other through the leg, hard lines to get shot there. Twenty one bags of mail came in bright for our Regt. I received one from you dated 20/4/15, glad to hear you are all getting along all right. Also received newspapers, one bundle of eight had only one complete paper the other seven being only the back page, the news being missing. The fourth re-enforcements landed here yesterday I think.
Tuesday June 8th 1915
Another scorcher of a day, everybody is busy reading their newspapers etc and there are a few about I can tell you. There are a good few bullets flying about again today and in this place you are all the time ducking and dodging bullets, you can't move about at all hardly, was down to the beach yesterday to have a look round.
Wednesday June 9th 1915
The Regiment shifted this morning out of Courtenay's Post and have now gone into the next one called Quinn's Post, which is the post here and the most dangerous in the firing line, but the rest Gully is a lot better than the last one as you can move about a bit. Two Companies go in at a time here for 24 hrs and then come out for 24 hrs while the other two go in. Our Trenches here are very close to the Turks trench there being only about a dozen yards separating the two sides and they are always chucking bombs into our trenches while we do the same for them. Of course somebody gets hurts now and again but not so many as you would think. We are about a mile off the beach. There are two forges here at our cook house where they do up picks and sundries. I have taken a photo of it which will be forwarded later as soon as possible.
Thursday June 10th 1915
By snakes it is getting warm here and there are a lot of dysentery cases about now, a lot of the men here wear no shirts at all in the day time just go about naked excepting pants of course. There have been a good few troops landing here this last day or so reinforcements and returned wounded men. There has not been anything out of the ordinary going on today just the usual banging away. They are advancing slowly at Cape Helles and have given the Turks another slathering up and captured a few.
Friday June 11 th
Our Coy came out of the Trenches this morning for 24 hours rest and then in again. The fourth re-enforcements join us tomorrow which will put us up to full strength again. At this post rum is issued every time they come out for it does hum a bit in them. Dead men are lying between the trenches and it is warm here.
Saturday June 12th 1915
A very warm day and as for this there are millions of them and you can bet they don't forget to make themselves a nuisance. The Coy went back into the trenches this morning again and the re-enforcements have been drafted in to all the Coys which makes ours about 7 over strength, and they are a great crowd too, some of them ought to have brought their mothers with them or a wet nurse. We get plenty of clothing here etc if required and as for sox I can't get rid of them. We have bacon or hams as a ration every day but eggs are scarce I think.
Sunday June 13th
A very warm day again one of our chaps (a re-enforcement man) was killed this morning in the trench, took half his head off. A Mail came in to day and I got a letter from you dated 28/4/15. I was sitting up in bed this morning about 3:30am to stand too when a spent bullet lobbed on to my shoulder and fell down, it did not hurt me at all.
Monday June 14th 1915
A fine day again, was down on the beach today. They are building a jetty out in the sea. The sea is a bit choppy too. Two or three men were knocked out by shrapnel while I was down there and two hospital chap killed. We have not been suffering so much from snipers lately owning to our snipers rooting them out of it.
Tuesday June 15th
A hot day. We can hear the Warships giving the Turks a taste at the other place lower down from us. The Turks have also lost some more trenches, we have a devil of a job here getting firewood.
Wednesday June 16th 1915
A bit cooler today. The Coy came out of the trenches and go back a little into another Gully for an eight days rest, which means no trench work but doing all sort Fatigue work. We go back Friday morning. A large number of Re-enforcements have landed between us and Cape Helles and there are lot more to come. So there will probably be something doing here soon again. There are a lot getting sick here now mostly getting dysentery. I think most of it is due to the hard tucker. I got three more spools of photo Films from Alexandria. We have not had a pay for over eight weeks now and don't know when we will get one, but as there is no canteen here you don't want it much and it gathers up to a fair sum when you leave it for a while. Posted a Full Post card to day.
Thursday June 17th 1915
Have not been feeling very fit to day so have stuck to the bunk. One of the bomb chuckers had his hand blown off today, we hung on too long before stringing it. A Sergt from Taranaki Coy was killed also coming out of the trenches by a bomb. Things are fairly quiet today, a few have been caught on the beach, the Turks always put a few shells down there everyday when somebody gets a smack.
Friday June 18th
Well we packed up this morning and shifted back to the rest Gully and were relieved by Canterbury Regiment. It is a very warm day too and am not feeling too Gay. We had not been long there before we started to get shrapneled again and two of
‘B’ Hawkes Bay cookhouse men were hit in the leg and our cookhouse was well splattered with bullets but only the tins caught it . I went to the Doctor to-night and he gave me some pills and the Major told me to lay up for a day or two so I have gone to the bunk for a day or two.
Saturday June 19th 1915
Stopped in the bunk all day to day there are a lot on the sick parades just now. There has not been much doing to day. One of our Coy got caught with a shrapnel bullet in his groin while in his dug out and was taken away. A N.Z mail came in to day and I received a letter from you dated 4/5/15 with photos of self and kiddie which looks all right at any rate. The kiddies notes were also enclosed talking about flies I expect you think, you have seen them thick at times but I can tell you that you don't know what it is to see a fly. You ought to see this lot in these parts.
Sunday June 20th 1915
A very warm day and all you can hear is the guns bombarding the Turks between
us and Cape Helles. We can see the ships from where we are they are only a few miles down the coast. I started this morning with the back door trot again for a change which is nice to say the least of it and you can't get much change of tucker either. The longest will soon be along now I suppose which will be your shortest. Got no papers this mail.
Monday June 21st 1915
Another warm day and am still lying low. There is not much doing here at present, we get shelled everyday nearly and our big shell from a Howitzer landed just about 10 yards in front of our dug out to day and coming towards us and if it did not nearly bury us with dirt it was a caution. The Cooks were cutting up the Boiled Beef at the time and had two trays full cut when she came and it put dirt all over it, so that they had to wash it all, that sort of thing is up to putty I think. Anyway it did not hurt anyone. Our forces are still coming along towards us slowly and giving the Turks a chopping up.
Tuesday June 22nd 1915
Am not doing anything yet but keeping quiet. There is not much change here The French at Cape Helles way captured two more rows of Turkish trenches and caught about a regiment of them retiring and just about wiped them out with big gun fire before they could scatter. The censorship is not quite so strict now as it has been, so may be able to write some sort of letter soon.
Wednesday June 23rd 1915
A very warm day again and the flies are awful. This place makes a man use foul language what with one thing and another and flies are one thing. There are a lot being sent away with Dysentery just now. Was down to the beach this afternoon for a walk and I did feel weak too. They started shelling it as soon as I got there and caught three or four, one got his arm shattered with a cap from a shell while bathing in the sea and as I came back I see them cutting his arm off at the hospital. One of the Wiltons from Bedeford of our Coys last lot of re-enforcements got hit seriously while bathing at the beach to day before yesterday. My word a good feed would go all right now, we got plenty to eat here but it is all dry and always the same and hard, I have lost 3 teeth of my plate now so that leaves just three.
Thursday June 24th 1915
This is just about the end of this book so will have to start another tomorrow. We leave here tomorrow and go back again to Quinns post for a while. Everything here is just about the same as usual. I have not been out to day at all it is pretty warm at nights now too. I took a photo of this rest Gully today I don't know how it will turn out. I was a bit far away. The shells have been flying over our heads pretty Freely today. We landed a battery of heavy Howitzers today as well as plenty of ammunition so will be able to give the Turks some more momentos shortly. We are expecting some movements shortly all along the line. Jack Domney has not returned yet.
End of First Book
Friday June 25th 1915
A very warm day today. The Company shifted back again this morning to Quinns Post, the Canterbury Regiment shifting back to where we were. Am not feeling so bad today just a bit weak on my pins. I met Millar today who was in Major OsburneLilly's Office, he is in the Engineers here. He does not appear to be so stout now as when I left Pahiatua, the pick and shovel would take that out of him a shell landed on the beach this morning killed two, wounding 16 and knocking things about a bit, one shell went through the post office but did do much damage. It is a quiet business here I can tell you but we are getting very few casualties considering the Turkish snipers are not getting such a good run here as usual this last week or so and the Turks have no chance of shifting us out of this now. I don't think they will last a great while longer here. A small mail came here yesterday but did not get anything out of it I think it was the tail end of the last one. They blew a Turkish trench up today killing about 25 of them taking one or two of them prisoners. The Torpedo boat destroyers have been doing a bit of bombarding today as an extra.
Saturday June 26th 1915
Feeling a good bit better to day but it is very hot. There has not been much doing today. They put a lot of Japanese bombs into the Turks trenches this evening which will make them sit up a bit. A chap from 'A' Coy was killed this evening just as it got dark about 20 yards higher up the boat from where we are, he was shot through the head.
T. Treen goes away to hospital in the morning sick again. The Coy goes into the trenches at Quinns again in the morning.
Sunday June 27th
A very warm day again, am not so well today so have taken to the bunk again. We have not heard of a mail being in as yet this weekend but suppose it will be along soon. Things are very quiet and everybody is getting fogged out, there are a lot of men being sent away sick from here. There are also a lot returning as well.
Monday June 28th
Went to the Doctor this morning and he told me I had better clear out for a spell
and get a change of tucker etc, so he gave me a ticket and off I cleared for the beach to get to some hospital bays where you can get something to eat different from the Bully and Biscuit. I got to the beach about 3pm, seen the Medical Officer there and with another batch of men we were sent over to the hospital ship "Sicilia" from where we will be sent to Lemnos or somewhere. The Australians on our right here attacked the Turks today as well and captured a few lines of trenches but lost a good few men and they are coming on to the hospital ship all the time. One lot came on board with us. The hospital ship "Sicilia" is a fine ship fitted up splendidly, she carries five hundred beds, has an operating theatre and x-rays plant, in fact right up to date. She carries a good dose of Doctors and Nurses and Ambulance chaps. Two or three boats of wounded have come aboard to night. Two of the wounded died before they reached the ship. Up to this evening they have about three hundred cases on board as soon as she is full she takes them away to hospitals either Malta or Alexandria and then come back for more. I feel a good bit better already.
Tuesday June 29th 1915
Are still on the Hospital ship and doing all right, the doctors and nurses are having a pretty busy time now, a lot more men came a board today wounded as well as some sick. Eight more of the wounded men on board died through the night. They were all
sewn up and weighted and then taken off by a mine sweeper, taken out to sea a bit and buried. It is nice and cool on board here and there are no flies to speak about to annoy one. We simply lie about the deck all day out of the road waiting to be taken to Lemnos by a Fleet sweeper, but she hasn't turned up yet.
Wednesday June 30th 1915
A nice day today and am feeling fairly good only a bit weak. I reckon I have lost about a stone in weight this last three weeks. More wounded and some sick men came aboard today. Six died through last night and were taken out and buried this morning. There are about 470 cases on board now and the ship expects to clear out soon now. It is a bit of a scramble for tucker here sometimes.
Thursday July 1st 1915
Raining a little through the night but it has been nice and fine all day today. All slightly wounded and sick men were taken off the hospital ship this morning and put on board the small Steamer "Prince Abbas" and taken to Lemnos which we reached about 6:30pm. There was about 200 of us.
July 1st Cont.
The harbour looks all right, it is full of warships etc and a few Transports of English soldiers on their way to the Dardanelles. We landed just at dark and went straight to the Hospital Marquees where we were given beds (iron bedsteads and spring mattresses) which we soon got into. I am feeling very well again now barring being a little weak on the pins as yet but that only wants some good tucker. The Marquee we are in has eight beds in it.
Friday July 2nd 1915
A nice day but much to my disgust the Quack here has put me on the milk diet and it is rotten, condensed milk (unsweetened) and a little bread and I am as hungry as the devil and only want plenty of tucker. I am not in bed and at night or rather these evening a few of us went round the village here for a walk. We also had a look through the Greek Church here and it is very pretty and well done up inside I can tell you, different from the churches at home. I am to go on ordinary diet tomorrow which is something to be thankful for and I can do it too. There are all sorts of nationalities here, a sprinkling of all sorts.
Saturday July 3rd 1915
A nice day again and am getting plenty to eat today. We are in the Tommies Hospital here and there are better places I think, you get everything weighed out to the grain, quite different to the Australian Hospitals or ours but they were full up worse luck — no returns here either. Have been lying about all day and went again round the village for a constitutional and then to bed again. It won't be long before I will be going back again I think its not much of a place anyway.
Sunday July 4th
Well there is not much to write about here, it is the same every day. There are a lot of men from Kitcheners Army here at present. They are going to the Dardanelles and there are a lot more coming. I have been feeling fair all day but a funny feeling came over me tonight and I am pretty crook. I think it is weakness but I hope it won't last, I felt it would not take much to make me hysterical. Its not nice where you nobody and nothing to take things off your mind. This combined with heat and flies etc and sameness of tucker is enough to give anyone the Willies.
Monday July 5th 1915
Am feeling a bit better than last night but not too good. Went to a concert here in the evening out in the open air. There are lots of boats in the harbour here, I will be taking a snapshot or two here as well if I can. Batches of chaps go away back every day either to Alexandria or the firing line mostly the latter. I would like to get to Alexandria for a day or two, so that I could forward these notes as well as a few films.
Tuesday July 6th
Am feeling a lot better today. The Troops that were here all went aboard the Torpedo boat destroyers this afternoon to go to the Dardanelles. They are clearing everybody out of here now as quickly as possible and are not taking any more in now as they are making this hospital an Enteric Fever Hospital base, they have a lot of cases here now. They sent a big batch of chaps to Alexandria today so as to get the beds and tents free. Two out of our ward went back to Gaba Tepe today supposed to be well and fit. I want to get there too in a way so that I can get my mail which they are keeping for me.
Wednesday July 7th 1915
Have been all right today but caught a touch of the runs this evening, I don't want too much of that. We were all shifted into another Tent this afternoon. Its quite a treat to watch everybody everyday off with their clothes and go stock hunting in their shirts and pants also blankets. Its marvelous how they grow too for most of them are about the size of an egg cup and when you crack them you have to look out for the splash. Theres one thing it thins them out for a bit.
Thursday July 8th
Am not too good today and the Quack has put some medicine into me which I hope fixes me up as this show would drive a man mad, I'd sooner do back to the firing line. When you get on to ordinary diet here you would never get fat on it, you get the same thing everyday some fat thick cut bacon, bread and a pint of tea for breakfast, stew with one or two spuds in for dinner (no drink) and bread, jam and cheese with another pint of Tea for Tea. Its exactly the same everyday and the stew goes down very hard indeed with everyone. You won't want to mention stew to any of us when we come back. The Doctor we have now attending us is no good either, we have christened him the Pork Butcher, I don't think he know much about his business and what with one thing and another, everybody gets away as soon as he can and most of them before they ought to. A lot more of Kitcheners army have landed here today.
Friday July 9th 1915
More troops have landed today and one boat has just come in with seven thousand men on board, she is a bigger boat than the Lusitania and has four funnels and is called I think Acquetania. The Muritania is expected in about another four days with 6 or 7000 men as well and altogether there are about six divisions coming over here for the Dardanelles which is over 100,000 men. Have been feeling a good bit better today so will be clearing out soon.
Saturday July 10th
Asked the Doctor to let me go forward tomorrow so he says all right, went before the board at dinner time and he asked me if I am all right, I says yes I would like to go back tomorrow so he says all right and that was fixed.
Sunday July 11th 1915
A pretty warm day I went into the Village this morning and got some Tinned milk, Cocoa and Arrowroot to take back with me this afternoon. Went on board the Fleet sweeper about 4pm and left Lemnos harbour just before dark and got to Gaba Tepe sometime before dark.
Monday July 12th
Landed at Gaba Tepe about 5am and got to Quinns Post about 7:30am just in time for breakfast. Since I had been away Paddy Ryan had got wounded also got a some papers from you and a letter dated 19th May, I also got some papers from May. Some more of the old wounded men have come back to the Company this last few days.
Tuesday July 13th
Am getting along all right but I have lost about a stone in weight but all the troops are lighter now than when we landed and they all look very seedy on it I think we are getting relieved shortly now which will be a blessing. Part of Kitcheners Army are coming here I believe.
I received two more letters from this evening and was glad to hear from you and that you were getting along fine. I hear we are all to be inoculated for Cholera I suppose that means more stomach ache.
Wednesday July 14th 1915
A very warm day, Sgt Maj Domney came back this morning with some more of our wounded etc. He is looking pretty fit on it too after two months doing nothing. The Turks done a bit of shelling at the next post to us and made a mess of some of the chaps too. A doctor on the beach was cut in two with a shell as well and two more were wounded. They were stripped at the time and were either just going in for a
bathe or coming out.
Thursday July 15th 1915
Another hot day. Our Coy has gone into the trenches at Quinns Post this morning. There is not a great deal doing on either side. We expect to go over to an island named Embros which is about five or six miles opposite us for a spell of 3 or 4 days next week. Some of the other Regts have already been over.
Friday July 16th 1915
A very warm day, two of our officers were wounded this morning by bombs just before coming out and one or two of the men were slightly wounded as well. This makes ten officers from our company now that have been knocked out. They are landing a lot more Howitzers and Field guns here today as well as some more troops. They are going to land two more divisions here of Kitcheners army which is about 36,000 men and the rest towards the Cape Helles. There are about 150,000 men to land on the Peninsula, so things ought to shake along soon in these parts. The sooner it is finished the better.
Saturday July 17th
There is not much change in the atmosphere today. The flies also are not getting any less which is a misfortune. There is nothing Fresh to gas about today just the same old routine and plenty of rumours. The Maoris have landed here and are doing Fatigue work at present. A few more men were caught on the beach again by shrapnel shot. There are so many down there at times bathing etc that they can't help catching a few.
Sunday July 18th 1915
Another hot day, I see by the heading that it is Sunday today otherwise you can't tell half the time what day it is or what date, especially when you let the Diary run for a few days. We have a good few officers away sick out of the Regiment at present. Water is very scarce now as well and we are down to our bare ration so we only have tea twice a day. We get bread about three times a week which is very acceptable at times.
Monday July 19th
We come out of the trenches tomorrow and go to the rest gully for a few days which is a bad name for it as we are doing fatigues all the time there for a change. We are supposed to go to Embros for about 4 days about Saturday for a change of air, all the other Regts have been, one of them being there at present and we go when they come back. I believe there is a good bit of fruit there. They have made a lot of Terraces along the sides of the hill in the rest gully since we were there last, so as to accommodate about 4000 of Kitcheners army.
Tuesday July 20th 1915
A very warm day. The Company shifted to Rest Gully this morning and a hot job it was too. The Turks are supposed to have a hundred thousand men coming as reinforcements and we have all been warmed to expect a big attack from the Turks, who are going to make a big effort to push us into the sea. We are also being re-enforced by about 40,000 men as well so they will be able to have a good go for it. We are being inoculated for Cholera tomorrow so that means more trouble.
Wednesday July 21st
It is another scorcher again today and there is not a great deal doing, except that the coy is finding a lot of men for fatigues night and day. We have all been issued with gas helmets to wear in case the Turks start to use gas to clear us out. There are persistent rumours here that we are going to England in August but could not say anything for certain, but we deserve a spell for a few weeks now having been here
without a spell now for three months. Mail came to day and received one from you with photo of Cissy and May Dated 9/6/15.
Thursday July 22nd 1915
A warm day again. Everybody is expecting a big attack from the Turks and we are all making arrangements accordingly such as strengthening the posts and keeping more men in reserve to be ready at a moments notice. From my bunk where I am present I can see the naval ships firing away etc. Just as I am writing this a shrapnel bullet struck one of our dixies which is about 6 yards off me. We had a few more casualties on the beach today.
Friday July 23rd 1915
The expected attack did not come off last night so there was no harm done. Our Coy is going to shift to Quinns Post again tomorrow as a reserve to Canterbury who are in Quinns, its nothing but shifts round here lately and it looks as if our trip to Embros is about settled, just this regiments luck.
Saturday July 24th
A pretty warm day. We shifted quarters this morning back to Quinns Post. The rest of the Regiments remaining in the rest Gully. There is nothing much doing a few are going away sick and we are not quite up to full strength just at present.
Sunday July 25 1915
It is very hot today and we are having a job to get enough water to carry on with at times. The flies are not getting any less here either. There is not much doing here, things are much as usual and the Tucker is just the same old thing. I am only eating about one meal a day and have lost about a stone and a half, but everybody is down in weight. Some sucking pig etc would go all right now.
Monday July 26th
Another hot day and things are as per usual. Two or three of Canterbury men were outed this morning and this evening a bomb proof shelter fell down and injured six of our Company so that is six more less. E.Hunt from Mangarama was hurt pretty bad.
Tuesday July 27th
Not much doing today, it is very warm and the flies still keep a chap busy stinging his arms about. A Turkish shell burst near our post tonight and buried three men. Two got out all right but they had to dig the other chap out. Another one burst near the beach and outed two more, not our coy.
Wednesday July 28th 1915
Eight of our wounded chaps came back today also nine re-inforcements. The Turks are chucking a good few bombs over today but are not doing much damage. They caught a few men today on the beach with shrapnel, one was blown to pieces. General Birdwoods Aide de Comp was killed while in his dug out with a shell. Preparations are still going for the bringing of more troops here.
Thursday July 29th
A very warm day, McFurby one of our Lieuts who was wounded here when we landed came back yesterday and at present is in charge of the Company. Major Saunders is supposed to be on his way back here as well but I don't know as he is coming back to our Coy, I hope not any way. We have got a good man now.
Friday July 30th
Once more a roaster. Early this morning The Turks blew up a mine just in front of our trenches, it shook the ground all right and threw up large lumps of earth which came over into our trenches and injured and killed six of our Coy with one or two of another Coy. Three of our Coy were killed or died afterwards which is hard luck. We had also one or two go away sick although the Wellington Infantry has a long way the smallest percentage of sick going away of any other regiment. A German aeroplane came over us today and dropped a couple of bombs close to us but did not hurt anyone and shortly after some of our rifle bullets must have hit her and she took a header for the earth with smoke flying from her, but as she landed on the Turkish side of us, we can't say.
Saturday July 31st 1915
Tobacco day to day also got an issue of rum which is much appreciated. The Turks have been putting shells pretty close to our show this last evening or two and they do make the dirt scatter at times. Today is about the first time they have left the beach alone for a long time. We have had no mail now for nearly a fort night so there ought to be one here shortly. As I am writing this I can hear an aeroplane up in the air but can't see her yet. It is another German Taube all right, one of them dropped darts yesterday but caught no one.
Sunday August 1st 1915
A pretty warm day again. Am feeling a good bit better now but am not putting much condition as yet. I forgot to say that I was inoculated for Cholera on the 29th of last month and have to be done again yet (after about 8 days). The Australians on our right attacked the Turks and took a row of their trenches, sixty dead Turks were in the trenches so they must have had a good few casualties altogether.
Monday August 211d
One of our chaps was wounded today while out sniping, he caught it in the arm. The boys had boiled rice with currants in today also boiled raisins for a change. Riddell from Maugatainoka went away sick to day. There are troops arriving here now and more to come and we are shifting from here further out on the left where we are to try and take the hill from the Turks which commands all the roads about here. There will be a lot more in it besides us of course and I suppose a lot will get hurt. They have a lot of guns here now and some of them are pretty large ones. It will be a stiff go I think and I hope it will be successful.
[Last entry in the diary.]