Our first day in Turkey started out early, we were picked up at our hotel and a travelled for four hours from Istanbul to Eceabat, stopping for breakfast enroute. Our first stop was at the RSL tours office to catch up with some people that Gadget had befriended when he travelled to Galipolli two years ago with conservation volunteers. After that we went to have a look at the Eceabat memorials.
This monument is on the shores of Eceabat and is representative of many aspects war, the two notable images that stood out to me was the image of a mother weeping, depicting that all mothers, Turkish , Anzac, British and French who suffered the loss of their sons. The Turkish soldier carrying the Australian officer depicting that even during war, compassion existed.
There is also a detailed 3D map in this memorial park that our tour guide used to explain the various battles, what the allied forces were hopping to achieve and what points they advanced to and why they were hoping to capture those sites.
This memorial depicts what the battlefield looked like, except the trenches would have been much deeper and the men on birth sides would of needed to stand on steps to peep over at the other side. It was a very interesting and a sobering sight.
Arriving at the the Galipolli historical national park, the Beach cemetery was the first we seen. The first graves were dug here on the 25th of April and the cemetery continued to be used until the allies evacuated in December. Our Tour guide explained that the men buried here would have most probably died in the near by military Hospital , from injuries sustained in battle.
Is a place of significance to us as Gadget has a family member buried in this cemetery. The following is written by gadget as he wanted to share Uncle Reg's story
Uncle Reg enlisted at 20 years of age from his family home in Temora. He soon found himself as part of the 18th Battalion training in Liverpool. The battalion which was part of the 5th Brigade left Australia in early May, 1915 trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.
The battalion had not been ashore a day when it was committed to the last operation of the August Offensive ' the attack on Hill 60 ' which lasted until 29 August and cost it 50 per cent casualties.
Uncle Reg survived the early battles and then with his mates found themselves being primarily responsible for holding Courtney's Post. We know that Uncle Reg was mortally wounded on 6 December, 1915 and we believe that this took place in the late afternoon and he may have been shot by a sniper as they were very active in this area.
Uncle Reg died 14 days before the official evacuation the remainder of his mates went on to fight in France and suffered heavy casualties.
Uncle Reg was laid to rest in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery. Examining records we know that his family wanted the following on is head stone.
"The midnight stars are gleaming on a cold and lonely grave where sleeping without dreaming lies our dear boy far away"
This request was denied by the Army due to having too many letters. Unfortunately his head stone
now only bears his name.
Uncle Reg was kept alive to us by his sister, my grandmother who died before she was born. I am the first person In my family to have visited his grave and that first visit took place in April, 2014. Uncle Reg has been remembered by his family fir 101 years and his legacy will continue to be celebrated though our children and future children.
What's next in remembering Uncle Reg? We will be lobbying the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to have an inscription similar to that wanted by his parents put onto his head stone.
This place took my breath away as I looked at the hundreds of headstones and then walked along the wall and seen the names of all the men whom are known to have died at Gallipoli but have no known grave site.
The Australian trenches, only the width of a road apart from the Turkish trenches at this point.
This monument is located at Pine Ridge , Galipolli. The monument depicts a Turkish soldier carrying an Australian officer. The sculpture is based on an incident of when a Turkish soldier, after raising a white flag, carried a wounded Australian officer to Australian lines and returned to his lines before resuming fighting. It carries the following inscription, written by Lord Richard Casey
"At that moment an incredible event occurred. A piece of white underwear was raised from one of the Turkish trenches and a well-built, unarmed soldier appeared. Everyone was stunned and we stared in amazement. The Turk walked slowly towards the wounded soldier, gently lifted him, took him in his arms and started to walk towards our trenches. He placed him down gently on the ground near us and then straight away returned to his trench … This courageous and beautiful act of the Turkish
soldier has been spoken about many times on battlefields. Our love and deepest respect to this brave and heroic soldier."
From the hill looking down to North Beach, where the ANZAC forces had there Supply base and officers quarters, around the time of the August offensive they also created a military hospital at this site. There was a pier built in this area as it was out of reach of the Turkish guns. Today this is where the Anzac memorial monument is. On the left side you can see the rocky outcrop referred to as the "Sphinx " by allied forces, it gained this name as a result of the majority of the forces being trained in Egypt and they believed it resembled the Sphinx in Egypt.
It was a very interesting day, I learned so much about what our brave soldiers endured and achieved.