10th Battalion patch. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial
10th battalion diary – April 1915
Went on board “IONIAN’ @8.A.M. on Monday 1st March – the 9th Battn under Lt Col Lee also embarked on IONIAN – also Col EG Sinclair MACLAGAN & his Staff – I was apptd OC Troops on board. We left ALEXANDRIA on 2nd March & reached LEMNOS Thursday 4th March – We expect to leave for DARDANELLES on FRIDAY 23rd April (sgd) S Price Weir. Col. 22/4/15
24 April 1915
ANZAC COVE, GALLIPOLI PENINSULA
Leaving the afternoon Saturday of 24th April B+C Coys under Major Oldham + Capt Jacob respectively together with Battn H Quarters Staff and all Battn Scouts under Lt TALBOT SMITH transferred from the transport “IONIAN” to HMS “PRINCE OF WALES” A+D Coys under Major BEEVOR + Capt HERBERT respectively transf to torpedo destroyer also Machine Gun Sect under Sgt Mjr SAWYER 24/4/15
25 April 1915
At 3 AM on Sunday 25th April B+D Coy + H Q = Bttn Staff Signallers+ Scouts left the PRINCE OF WALES to the cutters life boats to being towed to within about 50 yd of shore by steam boats – Absolute silence was maintained by all in our boats + discreetly the boats were cast off by the steamers we quietly rowed towards the shore dawn was just breaking 4 15 + no sound was heard except the splash of the oars, we thought that our landing was to be effected quite unopposed, but when our boats were within about 30 yd of the beach a rifle was fired from the hill in front of us above the beach, right in front of where we were heading for, almost immediately heavy rifle and machine gun fire was opened upon us, we had to row for another 15 yards or so before we reached water shallow enough to get out of boats, this was at about 4.15 AM – we got out of boats into about 3 ft of water and landed on a stony bottom the stones were round + slimy +many Officers +men slipped on them + fell into the water. But all bravely and silently made all haste to reach the beach, under a perfect hail of bullets many men fixed their bayonets before reaching the shore. I ordered men to lay down, fix bayonets – + remove packs this was done in a couple of minutes the men of 9th 10 + 11 Bttn were all mixed up on the Beach, but there was no time to reorganize so I ordered all to advance, the men sprang to their feet at once + with a cheer charged up the hill held by the Turks. Following up their success by firing on the quickly retreating foe – Shortly after this the two companies A + B of the torpedo destroyer reached the beach, they were subjected to heavy shrapnel + machine gun fire, these Coys pushed on quickly +soon joined us in a general advance.
By about 8:30 we were about a mile inland + were holding by hill + ridge in front of it, we then pushed on to SHRAPNEL HILL & I reported to the Brigades Col Maclagan He was anxious for us to push on to the north ridge but as the enemy just then developed a strong counter attack he decided that we should “dig in” on the forward slope of SHRAPNEL RIDGE.
The Battn HQ did our best to reorganise the Coys in the following order D Coy on left C next facing same direction + portions of A + B further around to south + in advance of section of the land held by 1st Brigade – the line held at this time was the forward edge of Plateau wheat field now known as the PIMPLE-
A section of defence from about 100 yds W of head of Shrapnel Gully to 50 yds E, defence about 100yds S.E. was reorganised + order issued to “dig in” for all you are worth At this time – Men of all Battn in Brigade being mixed up – D Coy was on the left – C Coy centre A + B on right – our machine gun section was in the firing line in a position which enfiladed the gully – two officers and about 10 menof 11th Battn one officer + about 15 men of Canterbury Rifle NZ were in our lines – the position taken up was consolidated and strengthened as much as possible + was held by us until released by Marine Division on Wednesday night 28th April – In order to give confidence and support to Marines I remained in support just in rear of SHRAPNEL RIDGE at the head of SHRAPNEL GULLY + only withdrew @ 8:30 AM on Thursday 29th April –
On Sunday afternoon 25th April we repelled two counter attacks made by the enemy one of these attacks was made at about 4 and the second at about 5, both attacks were made in considerable force, minor attacks were made during Sunday night + on Monday morning following a heavy bombardment by enemy’s Artillery –
On Tuesday morning 29th April an attack was made by a force of dismantled cavalry; on our right front – the cavalry came forward + dismounted, then without any covering fire charged dismounted – this attack was carried forward to within 500 yds of our trenches, when our fire was opened upon then, after a number of casualties on their side they retreat at the double
At 7:30 pm on Tuesday an attack was again made, but the attacking force appeared to lose direction
when the attackers got within 200 yds of our position they moved obliquely across our front under our heavy fire, they suffered considerable losses + retired in great disorder
during the whole of these 4 anxious days the Head Quarters of the Battn was in close touch with all the Ompanies + kept them well supported with ammunition, food + water in this connection the HQ signallers did excellent work – Battn Hd Quarters was dug in – in centre of our section of defence at Head of shrapnel gully
Our men were thoroughly exhausted their nerves shattered after 96 hours continuous fighting in the trenches with little or no sleep, the dreadful anxiety of not knowing how the battle was progressing, especially on our left, every night just before dark the enemy shelled our trenches + fired heavy bursts of rifle fire at our trenches which gave us the impression that they intended to rush our position, at no time during the 96 hours did their firing cease, although raised in volumes at times the fusillade was simply deafening but fortunately it did little damage for our men by this time were all dug in. the enemy on several occasions threatened to make a bayonet charge but our rifle and machine fire evidently prevented them from doing so. Our men behaved themselves splendidly.