Stories of Gallipoli
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A BBC documentary account of the Gallipoli campaign with reminiscences by New Zealand, Australian and British soldiers and sailors.
The programme begins with an introduction by the narrator, who gives the background to the campaign.
Colonel Griffin of the Imperial War Graves Commission describes Cape Helles and other landmarks of the peninsula. He describes the landscape, climate and the graves today.
The narrator then gives some background to the strategy and planning behind the landings.
Captain Eric Bush, Royal Navy was at the time a midshipman on the cruiser HMS Bacchante and describes the Navy's role in the landings. The band on the battleship Queen was playing 'Fall in and Follow Me' as they departed Mudros Harbour with the Australian and New Zealand troops. He was in charge of a picket boat which was to tow a launch, a cutter and a lifeboat with about two hundred soldiers in them in total. He was fifteen years old at the time. There was a crew of eight on the picket boat with his coxswain Petty Officer Main. At 11.30pm they all got dressed and had cocoa and biscuits. It was a very dark night. There were twelve picket boats with their tows in total, travelling in pitch darkness, the spearhead of the invasion.
Australian Private Bostock of the 9th Battalion AIF, was one of the first ashore. He describes the landing, with each boat being in charge of a coxswain and a 'pink-cheeked middy in his teens'. He gives a graphic and dramatic description of rushing ashore under fire. He says Lieutenant Chapman was the first Australian ashore and he was just behind him.
Further south at Helles, the British 29th Division was attacking over five beaches. The First Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers landed at W Beach, which came to be known as 'Lancashire Landing'.
Fusilier Johns, who is now a Chelsea Pensioner, recalls coming under heavy shell fire as they approached shore. He got ashore but many of his mates did not. They were ordered to take the Turkish trenches at the top of the cliffs by bayonet charge. He was wounded as soon as he got there, about an hour after landing. That morning the First Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers won six Victoria Crosses before breakfast.
The narrator describes the Turkish and German commanders on the peninsula and the strategy to cut their supply route by sending submarines up the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmora to stop their ships.
Captain Stoker of the Royal Navy describes the problems facing the submarines. The Dardanelles Strait is thirty-five miles long with a strong current, which made it too far for the battery- powered submarines It was also mined which made it almost impossible, but it was decided the prize was so big, it was worthwhile having a shot.
The narrator describes how the third vessel to make the attempt to get up the Dardanelles, an Australian submarine called AE2, with an Australian and English crew under Captain Stoker, was sent in a few hours before the landings at Anzac Cove began.
Captain Stoker describes the journey above water until they came under Turkish fire, so they dived beneath the minefield. He describes the 'slightly uncomfortable' sound of the wires holding the mines scraping along the sides of the submarine and one mine bumping quietly against it for some distance.
Finally AE2 was tracked down and sunk by the Turks and Captain Stoker was taken prisoner. He managed to get a wireless message back describing his successful passage and other submarines also made the journey.
Mr R.J. Wait of the NZEF describes the shortage of water back on the peninsula. He explains how they would punch holes in an empty kerosene tin and bury it in damp earth in a gulley and stand guard until enough water seeped in to make a brew. Royal Navy sailors would fill rum barrels with water and drop them overboard and let the tide float them into shore. The troops were very excited at first as they thought it was rum.
Sir Alan Herbert was a junior officer with the Royal Naval Division at Cape Helles. He was with the Hawke Battalion of the Naval Divsion for three months, until he went off with enteritis. He describes the sights and sounds of the peninsula, including crickets and frogs, and compares it to the battlefields of France. He remembers sitting under an olive tree singing Prime Minister Asquith's famous 'War Aims' speech, to the tune of the [Anglican] quadruple chant, and he sings a passage as an example.
The narrator describes the plan for British reinforcements to land at Suvla Bay and for the New Zealanders and Australians to sweep onto Sari Bair.
Paul Goldensets [?] describes the Australian First Infantry Brigade attack on the Turkish trenches at Lone Pine on Friday afternoon, August 6, 1915. He says the men were confident and rushed forward but were shocked to discover the Lone Pine was in fact a covered fortress and they were shot down in swathes.
Just before dark he and twenty-eight others found themselves in a trench, where they fought hand-to-hand all night. Their home-made jam tin bombs were no match for the Turkish cricket ball bombs, and many Australians were maimed trying to throw back the Turkish bombs before they exploded. They had only snatches of sleep standing on their feet. By Sunday afternoon, only five of the twenty-nine were left. He sought reinforcements from an officer in an adjoining trench. A Turkish broomstick bomb burst as they talked and nearly killed the officer, Major Morshead, who went on to fame as Lieutenant General Sir Leslie Morshead, commander of Tobruk in World War II.
The British officers were waiting at headquarters for news of the landings at Suvla. One of them, Sir Compton Mackenzie describes waiting for news in the early hours of the morning. Success would have meant the immediate defeat of Germany but the delay in exploiting the landing at Suvla Bay, meant the attack failed and the campaign was lost.
Sir Compton Mackenzie describes the encoded message which told them the landing had failed and the implications of that failure for Britain and the war.
The programme ends with a credit announcement.
Reference number 32681
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Ngā Taonga Korero Collection
Documentary radio programs
Nonfiction radio programs
Solon, Ewen, 1917-1985, Narrator
Bridges, John, 1918-2006 (b.1981, d.2006), Producer
Woodward, David, Author
Griffin, E. A., Colonel, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Bush, Eric Wheeler, 1899-1985 (b.1899, d.1985), Speaker/Kaikōrero
Bostock, James Dundee, 1896-, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Johns, Fusilier, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Stoker, Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre, 1885-1966, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Wait, R. J., Speaker/Kaikōrero
Herbert, A. P. (Alan Patrick), 1890-1971, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Goldensets, Paul, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Mackenzie, Compton, 1883-1972, Speaker/Kaikōrero
BBC Transcription Service, Broadcaster
Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkey)/Turkey
World War, 1914-1918 -- Campaigns -- Turkey -- Gallipoli Peninsula
World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans -- New Zealand
World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans -- Australia
World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans -- Great Britain