On 25th April, 1915, my great-grandfather Bill Phillips landed at Gallipoli. Through his time in the war, he kept a diary. Today I’m sharing an excerpt, written only a few days after that horrific landing.
“Somewhere on Gallipoli. This is the first quiet moment we have had since leaving the ship on Sunday last. We have had a terrible four days and still at it. Landed at 6am Sunday morning. Naval Petty Officer and 4 others were knocked in our boat, two shells landed right into a boat on our right with C Company chaps in. Not many could have escaped. We waded ashore, water up to our shoulders. Just as we stepped on the beach a shell landed right at our feet but buried in the sand and never exploded. The roar of the guns beggared description. We left our packs on the beach with our rations and charged up the hill and across a big valley with bullets and shells bursting everywhere. Capt. McGuire went early Sunday morning, Lieut. May just after him, Sergt. Singleton next. Tom Haurakans had his head blown right off. My God but it was a terrible time, we haven’t many of our platoon left, at least not here abouts.
I am at present dug in with Sergt. Pinkstone of the 3rd Battalion, Perc Davies and Karl Amos, we have subsisted on one tin of Bully Beef and one tin of jam since Sunday. We have had lots of charges but only got to close quarters on Monday. A man undoubtedly loses all reason then. I remember getting two Turks, the first was nearly too good for me. I don’t want any more bayonet charges. The Turks have been attacking night and day, so far we are keeping them back but if we don’t soon get a sleep I don’t know what will happen. We have wounded chaps all around crying for stretcher bearers and water. We drew lots to see who would go for water, it fell to Karl, he was shot dead within 20 years of our trench on his return. In him we lost a good pal, we shall avenge him. We have had no chance to make communication trenches yet. The Turks charge crying Allah. We have a lot of spies among us giving all sorts of wrong orders. Our losses are terrible heavy, dead bodies of Turks but more of our chaps lying all around us.”
It paints such a vivid picture, doesn’t it? So much tragedy and horror. Bill Phillips survived the war and came home to marry and raise a family. Yet, he was changed forever. I think of all those who never came home, who gave their life for our country. Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.