12 Jul 2015

War Report - 12 July 2015

From New Zealand in World War I, 8:53 pm on 12 July 2015

The Bank of New Zealand announces taking on female clerks to be able to release men for the front and decides to pay its men half-pay on top of their army pay.

Bert Cooksley MM, later an MP for Wairarapa, recalls Gallipoli:

One of the great problems was water, particularly as the weather became warmer in May and June. Most of our water came from Egypt in barges. Much of it was tainted with kerosene. Washing for the troops was a problem, and sea-bathing was resorted to. It was not uncommon to see staff officers and other ranks in the water together, frequently under fire from Turkish guns. Once when I was enjoying a dip, my neighbour was short, red-headed and obviously English. You could imagine my surprise, when he dressed afterwards, to find that he was General Birdwood. In any case, my lingering impression is that he wasn't a very good swimmer. The incident, however, typifies ANZAC. We were all in it together. The shortage of water was not helped by the fact that our main ration was bacon, which came out from England packed in salt. No other kind of bacon would have carried that distance, of course. But it certainly didn't help to make the water go further. As the warmer weather drew on, flies became a great problem. One day in June, on Pope's Hill, I went along to see one of our fellows, he was in his dugout. Outside it, he had a biscuit liberally covered with jam. This was black with flies. I said 'Fred, what are you doing with that?' 'You see, Cookie,' he replied, 'while those flies are outside on the jam, they're leaving me alone in here'. He was making the best of things. That was the way of Gallipoli. For all its grim side with hardships, privations and the heavy casualty list, it was a very human campaign.

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:  Henry Barr
Song: I Wonder Who’s Kissing her Now
Composer: Howard/Hough
Album: Songs of World War 1
Label: Goentertainment 557331

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