14 Jun 2015

War Report - 14 June 2015

From New Zealand in World War I, 8:53 pm on 14 June 2015

During June 1915 New Zealanders would have one of their worst months of the early part of the war with over 400 men killed in action and more than 600 wounded; August and September would bring similar figures.

Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone commanded the Wellington Battalion at Gallipoli. In the weeks after the landing, he helped consolidate and secure vulnerable parts of the Anzac perimeter. At Quinn’s Post, where a small advance by the Turks would have threatened the entire front, Malone established an almost impregnable defensive position.

It was still remembered almost 30 years later when Admiral of the Fleet Lord Roger Keyes told an Auckland audience of his time at Gallipoli

"I watched the first landing and I was on the beach at Anzac that last evening when our troops came away. And I spent many interesting hours in those wonderful places right up against the Turkish lines. I remember one place called Quinn's Post, only about 20 yards from the Turkish lines, and I was taken by a New Zealander right under the Turkish lines, where they were going to blow a mine a little later. We could hear the Turks talking. Those friendships in war always endure, I think.".

Colonel John Hughes recalled that on the 3rd June he took over command of the regiment in place of Charlie Brown, a Brigadier-General, who was hit by a bomb and later died in France. Colonel Hughes was the 4th commanding officer since the landing. The General told him he must do something to encourage the enemy to waste ammunition. He talked with his adjutant, Captain Critchley-Salmonsen and they arranged for flares and bugles and cheering the following night. Nothing worked until the men gave a British cheer, which had an amazing result. The cheer was taken up by troops all along the peninsula, including the Australians at Lone Pine. They all cheered because they heard cheering which they thought could only mean good news. This provoked the whole Turkish Army to go mad and they blazed away for half an hour, giving away many unknown gun positions. The men at Quinn's Post were hugely delighted and were congratulated next day by several commanders and were mentioned in general orders. He concludes by saying that there was not much fun on Gallipoli and this was one of the few jokes they had.

Music extracts:

Artist: John McCormack
Song: There’s a Long Long Trail A Winding
Composer: King/Elliott
Album: Oh, It’s a Lovely War Vol 2
Label: CD41 486309             

Artist: Frederick Wheeler
Song: There We Are Again
Composer: N/S
Album: Songs of World War 1
Label: Goentertainment  557331 

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