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The Nek


The Battle of the Nek was a small World War I battle fought as part of the Gallipoli campaign. "The Nek" was a narrow stretch of ridge in the Anzac battlefield on the Gallipoli peninsula. The name derives from the Afrikaans word for a "mountain pass" but the terrain itself was a perfect bottleneck and easy to defend, as had been proven during a Turkish attack in May. It connected the Anzac trenches on the ridge known as "Russell's Top" to the knoll called "Baby 700" on which the Turkish defenders were entrenched. In total area, the Nek is about the size of three tennis courts.


On 7 August 1915 two regiments of the Australian Light Horse Brigade mounted a tragic and futile attack on the Turkish trenches on Baby 700. For the three months since the 25 April landings, the Anzac beachhead had been a stalemate. In August an offensive (which later became known as the Battle of Sari Bair) was intended to break the deadlock by capturing the high ground of the Sari Bair range, and linking the Anzac front with a new landing to the north at Suvla. In addition to the main advance north out of the Anzac perimeter, a number of supporting attacks were planned from the existing trench positions.


The attack at the Nek was meant to coincide with an attack by New Zealand troops from Chunuk Bair, which was to be captured during the night. The light horsemen were to attack across the Nek to Baby 700 while the New Zealanders descended from the rear onto Battleship Hill, the next knoll above Baby 700.


The 3rd Light Horse Brigade, commanded by Colonel F.G. Hughes, comprised the 8th (Victorian), 9th (Victorian & South Australian) and 10th (Western Australian) Light Horse Regiments. Like the other Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles regiments, they had been dispatched to Gallipoli in May as infantry reinforcements, leaving their horses in Egypt.



The attack was scheduled to commence at 5:30 a.m. on 7 August. It was to be preceded by a naval bombardment. The 8th and 10th Light Horse regiments were to advance on a front 80 metres wide in a total of four waves of 150 men each, two waves per regiment. Each wave would advance two minutes apart. The distance they would have to travel to reach the Turkish line was a mere 27 metres. Coloured marker flags were carried, to be shown from the captured trenches to indicate success.


On the morning of the 7th it was clear that the prerequisites for the attack had not been met. In particular, there would be no simultaneous attack from the rear of Baby 700. The New Zealand advance was held up and they were not to reach Chunuk Bair until the morning of 8 August, a day late. Also an attack from Steele's Post against German Officers' Trench by the 6th Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Australian 1st Division, had failed. The Turkish machine guns sited there enfiladed the ground in front of Quinn's Post and the Nek. Not even a single casualty for the gunners. Nonetheless, Major General Sir Alexander Godley, commander of the New Zealand and Australian Division of which the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was then a part, declared that the attack was to proceed.


Due to a failure to synchronise watches, the naval bombardment finished 7 minutes early, giving the Turkish defenders ample time to return to their trenches and prepare for the assault that they now knew was coming. The first wave of 150 men from the 8th Light Horse Regiment, led by their commander, Lieutenant Colonel A.H. White, went over the top at the planned time and ran into a hail of machine gun and rifle fire. A few men reached the Turkish trenches, and marker flags were reportedly seen flying, but they were quickly overwhelmed.


The second wave of 150 followed the first without question and met the same fate. This was the ultimate tragedy of the Nek, that the attack was not halted after the first wave when it was clear that it was futile. A simultaneous attack by the 2nd Light Horse Regiment (1st Light Horse Brigade) at Quinn's Post against the Turkish trench system known as "The Chessboard" was abandoned after 49 out of the 50 men in the first wave became casualties. In this case, the regiment's commander had not gone in the first wave and so was able to make the decision to cancel.


Lieutenant Colonel N.M. Brazier, commander of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, attempted to have the third wave canceled, claiming that "the whole thing was nothing but bloody murder". He was unable to find Colonel Hughes and unable to persuade the brigade major, Colonel J.M. Antill, who believed the reports that marker flags had been sighted. So the third wave attacked and was wiped out. Finally Hughes called off the attack, but confusion in the fire trench led to some of the fourth wave going over.


A further consequence of the failure to call off the attack at the Nek was that a supporting attack by two companies of the Royal Welch Fusiliers was launched from the head of Monash Valley, between Russell's Top and Pope's Hill, against the "Chessboard" trenches. 65 casualties were incurred before the attack was aborted.


The Australian casualties from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade numbered 372; 234 from the 8th Light Horse Regiment, of which 154 were killed, and 138 from the 10th, of which 80 were killed. The Turkish losses were negligible on this occasion. When Commonwealth burial parties returned to the peninsula in 1919, the bones of the dead light horsemen were still lying thickly on the small piece of ground. The Nek Cemetery now covers most of no-man's land of the tiny battlefield, and contains the remains of 316 people of whom only five could be identified.


Trooper Harold Rush of the 10th Light Horse Regiment died in the third wave. His body was one of the few identified and he is buried in Walker's Ridge Cemetery. His epitaph famously reads:


HIS LAST WORDS

'GOODBYE COBBER

GOD BLESS YOU'



Memorial and mass grave at The Nek



John Hamilton is the Author of the book on The Nek "God Bless You Cobber"



The Nek in 1919 Bones still on open ground






Skull and bones litter the Nek 1919



1923 The Cemetery under construction




1919 The Nek from Baby 700







Viewed from the Nek


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The Light Horsemen killed at the Nek on 7 August 1915


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678 Private Frank Leigh A'BECKETT, 8th LH

755 Private James Valentine AIREY, 8th LH

682 Private Rollo Charles Stacpole ALBAN, 8th LH

756 Private Robert Osborne ALEXANDER, 8th LH

607 Private Patrick Joseph AMOR, 8th LH

801 Private Arthur Andrew ANDERSON, 8th LH

544 Private George John Stewart ANDERSON, 8th LH

778 Private James ANDERSON, 10th LH

235 Lance Corporal James Alfred ANDERSON, 8th LH

Lieutenant Leo William Hall ANDERSON, 8th LH

101 Private William Fleming ANDERSON, 10th LH

608 Private William Stawell ANDERSON, 8th LH

876 Private Stephen ARBUTHNOT, 8th LH

364 Sergeant Duncan Farquhar Grant BAIN, 10th LH

208 Private John Henry BAKER, 8th LH

103 Private Harold BARRACLOUGH, 10th LH

881 Private Walter Ernest BARTON, 8th LH

806 Private Percy Hamlin BECKETT, 8th LH

527 Private Robert BEILBY, 8th LH

878 Private James Alexander BELL, 8th LH

601 Private Charles BENSON, 8th LH

223 Private Albert Alfred BENT, 8th LH

234 Corporal Alexander Douglas BETHUNE, 8th LH

372 Private William BLAKE, 10th LH

338 Private Victor Eric BLAKENEY, 8th LH

805 Private Douglas BODDY, 8th LH

46 Sergeant Henry Otto BOHLSEN, 8th LH

Lieutenant Keith BORTHWICK, 8th LH

209 Lance Corporal John BOSWELL, 8th LH

934 Private Horace BOWER, 10th LH

880 Private Richard BOWERING, 8th LH

233 Corporal Alwynne Stanley BOWKER, 8th LH

709 Private Edgar Vernon BRADY, 10th LH

69 Private Hubert Howden BROCKMAN, 10th LH

244 Private Thomas BUCKINGHAM, 10th LH

379 Private Frederick John BUNCE, 10th LH

165 Lance Corporal Thomas Francis BURGES, 10th LH

342 Driver William BURKE, 8th LH

712 Private Albert James BUTLER, 10th LH

311 Private Morton Alfred CAKEBREAD, 8th LH

937 Private James Percival CAMERON, 10th LH

605 Private James Pullar CAMERON, 8th LH

300 Sergeant Major Colin Henry CAMERON, 8th LH

853 Private James CARNEY, 8th LH

59 Private Alfred Ernest CARPENTER, 8th LH

Lieutenant Charles CARTHEW, 8th LHR

129 Lance Corporal Alfred CAVANAGH, 8th LH

860 Private Henry Thomas CHIPPER, 10th LH

97 Lance Corporal Lindsay Lewis Sterling CHIPPER, 10th LH

68 Private Ross Richard Vivian CHIPPER, 10th LH

281 Private Henry Norman CLAYTON, 8th LH

776 Private Thomas George COATES, 8th LH

142 Private Albert George COBB, 10th LH

156 Private Dyson Frederick COLE, 8th LH

155 Private Lionel William COLE, 8th LH

787 Private Herbert Alfred COLLINS, 10th LH

93 Private Tom COMBLEY, 10th LH

689 Private Walter COMBS, 8th LH

115 Sergeant John Leslie CONNOR, 8th LH

151 Private John CONSIDINE, 8th LH

240 Private James CONWAY, 8th LH

70 Corporal Henry COWELL, 8th LH

534 Private Colin Heardon CRAMOND, 8th LH

105 Sergeant John James CRUITE, 10th LH

58 Driver Alexander George CUMMING, 8th LH

139 Private Richard Edward CUMMING, 10th LH

884 Corporal Herbert Roulston Clifford CURRIE, 8th LH

Lieutenant Charles Coning DALE, 8th LH

718 Private Rowland [Ronald] Dudley DAVIS, 10th LH

791 Private George Ernest DE MOLE, 10th LH

539 Private Reginald Garry DEMPSTER, 10th LH

694 Private Percy George DEWHURST, 8th LH

89 Private Oliver Ernest DONALDSON, 8th LH

166 Private Amos Leonard DOUST, 10th LH

781 Private William DOW, 8th LH

542 Private Frank Napier DREW, 9th LH

690 Private Alfred DRISCOLL, 8th LH

394 Corporal Denis DU VAL, 10th LH

693 Private Thomas Alfred DUDDERIDGE, 8th LH

662 Private James DUFFY, 8th LH

692 Private Thomas Leo DWYER, 8th LH

84 Private Norman Charles DYER, 10th LH

817 Private Stanley EDMISTON, 8th LH

618 Private Wallace ESSAY, 8th LH

1804 Private William Williamson EUSTACE, 10th LH

368 Private Albert Lacey EVANS, 8th LH

369 Private Alexander George EVANS, 8th LH

889 Private Herbert Ernest EYERS, 8th LH

153 Private John Charles EYRE, 10th LH

109 Sergeant Basil Middleton FENWICK, 10th LH

212 Private Lawrence Gerald FINN, 8th LH

521 Private Jack FLUX, 10th LH

821 Private Benjamin FORBES, 8th LH

403 Corporal Richard Andrew FORBES, 10th LH

265 Sergeant Thomas Charles FORDE, 8th LH

158 Private Arthur William FYFFE, 8th LH

245 Private William Henry GALE, 8th LH

526 Private Alexander GANNAWAY, 10th LH

824 Private Edward GIBBS, 8th LH

160 Private Frederick Gilbert GIPPS, 8th LH

893 Corporal Hugh Garfield GORDON, 8th LH

286 Private Ernest Samuel GOULDEN, 8th LH

287 Private John George Letcher GOYNE, 8th LH

768 Private Hugh GRACE, 8th LH

894 Private Gerald Lawrence GRAHAM, 8th LH

929 Private Geoffrey Treacher GRANT, 8th LH

Lieutenant George Muir GRANT, 8th LH

559 Private Charles GREAVES, 8th LH

381 Sergeant Clifton Riversdale GRENFELL, 8th LH

698 Private Louis Gerald GRIFFIN, 8th LHR

167 Private Alfred Henry GRIFFITHS, 8th LH

621 Private Mansell David GRIFFITHS, 8th LH

728 Private William HAHN, 10th LH

760 Private Frederick George HALL, 8th LH

828 Private Arthur HANCOCK, 10th LH

114 Private Wilfred Lukin HARPER, 10th LH

113 Private Gresley HARPER, 10th LH

250 Private Reginald Desmond HARRIS, 8th LH

361 Squadron Sergeant Major William Edward HARVEY, 9th LH

112 Private Oscar Donald Humfray HASSELL, 10th LH

896 Private James HASTINGS, 8th LH

168 Private John HAY, 8th LH

Lieutenant Thomas James HELLER, 10th LH

541 Private Edward Percival HENDY, 8th LH

Lieutenant Edward Ellis HENTY, 8th LH

247 Private Bertie HILL, 8th LH

283 Private Henry George HILL, 10th LH

292 Private Henry HILL, 10th LH

213 Private William Arthur HIND, 8th LH

200 Corporal Russell George HINDHAUGH, 8th LH

314 Private Carl HOLMBERG, 8th LH

623 Private George Reuben HOPE, 8th LH

897 Private Harry HOSKINS, 8th LH

Lieutenant Thomas Spencer HOWARD, 8th LH

96 Private Geoffrey Castell HOWELL, 10th LH

803 Private Raymond HOWELL, 10th LH

201 Lance Corporal George Thomas HUGHES, 8th LH

Lieutenant David Alexander JACKSON, 10th LH

742 Private Samuel JAMES, 8th LH

229 Private Douglas JAMIESON, 8th LH

217 Private Donald Mathieson McGregor JOHNSON, 8th LH

316 Lance Corporal John Joshua JOLLY, 8th LH

828 Private Arthur JONES, 8th LH

394 Private Thomas JONES, 8th LH

130 Private Charles KELLY, 8th LH

547 Private Frank Winterburn KEMP, 8th LH

400 Private Robert KERR, 8th LH

703 Private Edward Richard KILPATRICK, 8th LH

831 Private Martin Frederick KING, 8th LH

83 Private Allan Bruce KINNAIRD, 8th LH

141 Private Frederick William KIRSCH, 10th LH

150 Private Louis Alfred KLOPPER, 10th LH

251 Private Archibald Roland KNIGHT, 8th LH

33 Private William Henry LAILEY, 10th LH

898 Private William LANG, 8th LH

762 Private Michael Edward LARKIN, 8th LH

834 Private Ralph Vivian Worthington LEES, 8th LH

133 Private Hugh LENNON, 8th LH

120 Private John Percival LEWIS, 10th LH

132 Private Thomas LONGMORE, 8th LH

116 Private Dudley LUKIN, 10th LH

906 Private Charles Russell MacNALLY, 8th LH

Second Lieutenant Cyril Godfrey MARSH, 8th LH

255 Private Robert MARTIN, 8th LH

307 Private William Henry MASON, 10th LH

903 Private Oscar John MATTHIES, 8th LH

170 Sergeant Ernest McALIECE, 10th LH

744 Private Herbert McCARTHY, 8th LH

450 Lance Corporal Alfred John McCLUSKY, 10th LH

263 Private Samuel Jeremiah McCOLL, 8th LH

177 Private William McELHINNEY, 8th LH

123 Private John Blacklock McJANNET, 10th LH

813 Private William Cuthbert McKENZIE, 10th LH

962 Private Donald Shapley McLEAN, 10th LH

Captain Robert Thompson McMASTER, 10th LH

735 Private Henry George McNEILL, 10th LH

125 Private Gordon McRAE, 10th LH

Lieutenant Colonel Albert MIELL, 9th LH

254 Private Robert Reid MITCHELL, 8th LH

414 Private William MITCHELL, 8th LH

138 Sergeant Reginald Johnstone MOORE, 10th LH

542 Private Archibald Hubert MORETON, 8th LH

663 Private Patrick MORRISSEY, 8th LH

138 Private James Edgar MOYSEY, 8th LH

766 Private Thomas Richard MURRAY, 8th LH

142 Private Walter Edwards NEWTON, 8th LH

325 Private Archibald NICOLSON, 8th LH

80 Private William Reginald Eustace NORTHEY, 10th LH

554 Private Bernard Lindsay O'MULLANE, 8th LH

432 Sergeant Sydney John O'NEILL, 8th LH

264 Private George Booth ORMEROD, 8th LH

41 Sergeant Ebden Harcourt Roger PALMER, 8th LH

702 Private John PALMER, 8th LH

910 Private Raymond Walter PATTERSON, 8th LH

741 Private Leonard Parker PAYNE, 10th LH

327 Private Frederick PAYNE, 8th LH

325 Private Arthur Albert PEARSON, 10th LH

966 Private Ernest PENNY, 10th LH

232 Sergeant James Burnett PICKETT, 8th LH

Captain Vernon Frederick PIESSE, 10th LH

327 Private Arthur Thomas PITTS, 10th LH

631 Private Herbert POPE, 10th LH

746 Private Allan PREECE, 8th LH

482 Lance Corporal Godfrey Liddle PURVES, 8th LH

331 Private Alexander RAE, 10th LH

231 Sergeant Frank Albert RAWLINGS, 10th LH

198 Sergeant Victor Norman RAYMOND, 8th LH

Major Thomas Harold REDFORD, 8th LH

82 Private George Wallace RICHARDSON, 10th LH

42 Sergeant Henry George ROBERTS, 8th LH

333 Private Charles Archibald ROBINSON, 10th LH

715 Private Frederick RODERICK, 8th LH

Second Lieutenant Leopold James Cecil ROSKAMS, 10th LH

130 Private William Allardyce ROSS, 10th LH

Captain Andrew Percival ROWAN, 10th LH

152 Private Harold RUSH, 10th LH

891 Private George Frederick Henry SANDY, 10th LH

226 Sergeant John Andrew SCOTT, 10th LH

62 Lance Corporal George Southwell SEAGER, 9th LH

182 Lance Corporal John Alexander SHAW, 8th LH

913 Private Ernest Lloyd SHEARSMITH, 8th LH

453 Private Herbert Steven SHELDON, 8th LH

157 Corporal Clarence SHEPHERD, 10th LH

746 Private Frederick Joseph SMITH, 9th LH

147 Private William John SNUDDEN, 10th LH

722 Private Reuben Edward SOMERVILLE, 8th LH

212 Squadron Sergeant Major John SPRINGALL, 10th LH

750 Private Abraham Joseph STANFORD, 8th LH

857 Private Herbert Edward STANLEY, 8th LH

919 Private George STENZEL, 8th LH

643 Private James Alexander STEWART, 8th LH

296 Private Charles Tyler SUTHERLAND, 8th LH

898 Private Clarence Edward SUTTON, 10th LH

451 Private Patrick Joseph SWEENEY, 8th LH

858 Private Nicholas TACKABERRY, 8th LH

75 Private Stanley TAYLOR, 8th LH

304 Lance Corporal Arthur Norman TETLEY, 8th LH

184 Private James Gordon Ford THOMPSON, 8th LH

821 Corporal Thomas THOMPSON, 10th LH

902 Private Owen Stanley TIMMS, 10th LH

923 Private William TOLEMAN, 8th LH

551 Private William TOSH, 8th LH

752 Private Angus Duncan TREWIN, 8th LH

Second Lieutenant Alexander Phipps TURNBULL, 10th LH

748 Private Leyshon VILLIS, 10th LH

850 Private Reginald WALLACE, 8th LH

22 Private Claude Hallastone WALSH, 8th LH

150 Private Victor Kenneth WALTON, 8th LH

298 Lance Corporal John Fortescue WEATHERHEAD, 8th LH

784 Private William Bradley WELCH, 8th LH

357 Private Frederick Harold WESTON, 10th LH

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Henry WHITE, 8th LH

143 Private Edwin James WHITE, 10th LH

Second Lieutenant Henry Eric WHITEHEAD, 8th LH

71 Private James Thomas WILKERSON, 10th LH

532 Private Roy WILLAN, 8th LH

261 Private Alfred Spedding WILLIAMS, 8th LH

475 Driver Richard WILLIAMSON, 8th LH

Lieutenant Eliot Gratton WILSON, 8th LH

29 Lance Corporal James Joseph Reginald WILSON, 8th LH

225 Private Charles Melbourne WINGROVE, 8th LH

333 Private John Wylie WINNETT, 8th LH

Lieutenant Cecil Talbot WOODS, 8th LH






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Postscript:


Oddly the Battle of the Nek fought between the Australian Light Horse and the Turks is the most remembered of the battles on this small piece of land at the peak of Russell's Top. Possibly because it was such a reckless assault and a massacre.


Prior to the Australians taking up position at the Nek, the position had been assaulted and taken by the New Zealand troops. In late May the Turks launched human wave attacks on the trenches and the Turks were cut down in their 100s on this narrow spit of land. The Nek is a bloody place in more ways than one. All along the line that day the Turks suffered 10,000 casualties. if they had succeeded in pushing back the New Zealanders, even 100 feet, nearly all of the Anzac beach position would have been exposed from Russell's Top.


How did they expect to succeed with a frontal attack in August across the same ground when the previous Turkish mass attacks had been defeated by a handful of barely dug in men! Truly amazing.


Extract from the New Zealanders at Gallipoli


The highest part of Walker's Ridge became known as Russell's Top, because, close at hand, practically in the firing line, the commander of the N.Z. Mounted Rifles Brigade established his headquarters. Hereabouts No Man's Land was very narrow. Away to the right ran the deep gully, which, passing behind the back of Pope's Hill, became Monash Gully. So far, Pope's and Russell's Top were unconnected, the Turks holding the head of this gully, which made their sniping of Monash Gully so effective. It was from here, on May 15, that a Turkish sniper mortally wounded General Bridges, as he was proceeding up Shrapnel Gully. At that time no place in the Anzac area could be considered safe.


To the left was another gully running down and losing itself in the ramifications of the outlying spurs of Walker's Ridge. The little flat watershed separating these two gullies ran like an isthmus across No Man's Land, and connected Russell's Top with that part of the main Turkish position known as ”Baby 700“ and ”The Chessboard.“ This connecting link was known as ”The Nek.“ Only a few yards behind our main fire trench were precipitous cliffs, which, running round to the right, culminated in a remarkable knife-edged cliff eventually known as the ”Sphinx“; while to the extreme left flank these cliffs, scored with the torrential winter rains, eventually resolved themselves into broken under-features of Walker's Ridge, sprawling out and forming one side of the Sazli Beit Dere. Near the bottom of this dry watercourse was the little Fishermen's Hut, so often used as a landmark. Just south of these huts was No. 1 Post, and a few hundred yards past the valley and on the coast was the little knoll eventually to become famous as No. 2 Post.


This No. 2 Post was the northern extremity of our line. Measured on the map, it was a distance of 3600 yards—just two miles—from Chatham's Post on the extreme right. As Quinn's Post was about 1000 yards from the sea, a rough calculation will show that the area of Anzac was approximately 750 acres. Seven hundred and fifty acres of prickly scrub and yellow clay, stony water-courses, sandy cliffs and rocky hill tops, land that would not support one family in comfort, yet for eight long months, men of divers races lived a Spartan life there, studding the hillsides so thickly with their rude dugouts that a Turkish shell seldom failed to find a victim.


No time was lost after taking over this No. 4 Sector. The engineers had made a track for guns and mules up to Russell's Top. This road was regraded and improved in parts; trenches were deepened and made more habitable: saps were pushed out wherever the field of fire required improvement. The line from ”the Top“ to No. 2 Outpost was very broken, with many rough gullies intervening; secret saps were dug, and machine guns placed to cover this ”dead“ ground, up and down which the scouts of both sides roamed as soon as it was dark.


The panorama from Walker's Ridge was magnificent. Looking across the yellow clay hills, decorated in patches with green scrub oak and prickly undergrowth, red poppies and purple rock roses, one saw the beautiful beach sweeping up towards the Suvla Flats; the Ægean Sea was generally as calm as a mill pond, dotted all over with leisurely trawlers, barges, and restless destroyers; the white hospital ships, with their green bands and red crosses, lay a few miles out to sea; over in the distance the storied isles of Imbros and Samothrace stood out in all the glory of their everchanging tints. The men of the Wellington regiments recognized a strong resemblance to the view from the Paekakariki Hill, looking out towards Kapiti and the long white stretch of the Otaki beach.


Later in the month the Otago Mounted Rifles were stationed down at No. 2 Post. Between the post and the sea was a delightful little strip of level ground, ablaze with poppies and other wild flowers, but under the eye, and within the range of the enemy. Near this outpost was discovered an old Turkish well. Elsewhere men searched for water, and sometimes found it, but when pumps were applied the flow

ceased after a day or so. This, on the contrary, was a most reliable well, a godsend to the thirsty men and mules, and a most welcome addition to the scanty supply procured from the barges. Soldiers came from far and near to draw the precious water.


Owing to its visibility to the snipers on the Turkish right flank, the beach between Ari Burnu and Fishermen's Hut could not be used during the day. Almost under the shadow of the Sphinx a group of boats and barges lay stranded on the beach. Late one night a party of mounteds went down and buried the remains of forty Australian infantrymen who had been killed at the April landing.


About the middle of May, the Turks decided that one determined effort would drive the men of Anzac into the sea. These people perched on the hillside annoyed him enormously. Never did he make an attack in the southern zone but these Colonials threatened to advance towards Maidos. News was gleaned of the withdrawal of troops from Helles and the arrival of reinforcements from Constantinople.


On May 17, the ”Lord Nelson“ delighted all beholders by turning her big guns on to the village of Kuchuk Anafarta. All along the coast line the ships joined in, until every village behind the line, and every road running towards Helles and Anzac, was swathed in dust and flame. The Turk retaliated with guns ranging from 11in. down to .77. Their shooting was good—one Australian 18-pr. was put out of action by a direct hit. The enemy reinforcements were delayed, but with the darkness, on they came again.


Next day was fairly quiet, but the sentries were warned to prepare for an attack, and during the night the reliefs slumbered behind the line with their clothes on, their rifles loaded, and their bayonets fixed. Sure enough, just after midnight, firing commenced from Chatham's Post along to No. 2 Post. Thousands of cricket-ball hand-grenades were hurled into Quinn's and other critical places. The big guns on both sides renewed their efforts. The bursts of shells in

mid-air momentarily lit up the scene, intensifying the blackness of the night. But this was only the enemy's preliminary bombardment, for about 3 a.m., the watchful sentries detected forms moving cautiously in No Man's Land. Soon the attack was made in earnest at the junction of No. 2 and No. 3 Defence Sections. Then it burst in its fury on Quinn's and Russell's Top.


The machine guns sprayed the front with a shower of lead, and for an interval the attack seemed held up, but in the grey dawn the mass advanced again. Crying on their God—”Allah! Allah! Allah!“—they surged forward in tremendous strength. From their trenches opposite Russell's Top and Turk's Point on Walker's Ridge they sallied forth in thousands. This was the first real test of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. The Turks flung themselves against the trenches held by the Auckland Mounted Regiment; but with rifle and machine-gun fire the troopers beat them off, hardly a Turk reaching the trench.


This was a field day for the machine guns posted in No. 4 Section. Carefully trained by some of the greatest experts in the world, who were not slow to recognize their golden opportunities, these excellently placed weapons carried disaster into the enemy's attacks, enfilading them time and again. To the intense delight of the gunners, the Turks advanced in lines that presented ideal machine-gun targets. As the enemy had treated the Royal Naval Battalions on Dead Man's Ridge, so the Turk was now treated in return.


Again and again the foe came on—by their French-grey overcoats they were identified as new picked troops from Asia. Again and again they advanced, but, caught by the loosely-strewn barb wire, they dropped like flies and were beaten to the earth by the machine guns. The din was indescribable. Above the rattle of the musketry combat and between the boom of the guns could be heard the Turk, crying on his Maker as he advanced, yelling and squealing as he retired to the Colonial shouts of ”Imshi Yallah!“ and the glorious battle chorus of ”Ake, Ake, Kia Kaha!“


Down the gullies on the left flank the enemy came in the dark. A determined attack about the Fishermen's Hut would cut off No. 2 Post and let the Turkish hordes surge along the flat beach and low ground into the heart of Anzac. The anxious garrisons detected sounds of men scrambling down the gully. Around the posts alert ears heard the undertone of voices. It was some time before the listeners could determine the mutterings as undoubtedly Turkish. Into the mysteries of the scrub volley after volley was poured. The attackers, feeling that they were ”in the air,“ squealed and disappeared in the direction of the Suvla Flats. When the sun was well up, from No. 2 Post Turkish reinforcements were discernible in the trenches opposite Walker's Ridge. A machine gun of the Canterbury Regiment was posted to enfilade them. The rifles of the 10th Nelson Squadron, assisted by the machine gun, brought a devastating fire to bear on a grey-coated battalion of the enemy lying in the trenches and in the depressions, evidently preparing for an advance. For a few minutes a stream of lead played up and down their ranks, causing awful havoc. The mass heaved and swayed convulsively, then broke and stampeded to the rear, assisted in their flight by the ever-watchful guns of the torpedo-boat destroyers, while the machine guns from Steel's, Courtney's, Quinn's, Pope's and Walker's, emptied belt after belt into the enemy reserves. Now was the opportunity of the field gunners. From Howitzer Gully, from Plugge's Plateau, from Walker's Ridge, the New Zealand Field Artillery shells were pumped in streams. The No. 2 Battery, N.Z.F.A., though only able to get two guns to bear, fired 598 rounds almost without intermission. The ships were having a day out, perfect targets presenting themselves all along the line.


Right along the two and a third miles of front the attacks melted away—nowhere was the Anzac line penetrated. The great attempt to drive the infidel into the sea had miserably failed. Everywhere along the line Turks lay dead in heaps. The mounted men—Australians and New Zealanders alike—had demonstrated that southern-bred soldiers were as dogged in defence as they were brilliant in attack.


The night was fairly quiet, but on the 20th the attack was resumed, when the machine gunners had it all their own way. Perhaps the enemy remembered the tragedy of the preceding day, for when the machine guns spluttered, the attackers broke and fled.


In the afternoon a dramatic episode occurred. At different points in the Turkish trenches small white flags appeared. Linguists in the enemy's ranks made known their desire for a truce to bury their dead. At many parts in the line, particularly opposite the Auckland Mounted trenches on Walker's Ridge, some conversation was carried on in German. But observers noticed men crowding in the front line and the communication trenches. It seemed that the white flag incident was a ruse to launch a surprise attack. The white flag parties were given two minutes to get down out of sight. Down they scurried, and once more the musketry battle resumed its violence. As night came the searchlight from the warships played around the Turkish trenches and brilliantly illuminated the gullies on the flanks. Some desultory firing took place, but the Turk had no stomach for more infidel driving.