Three Australian officers at Gallipoli, identified from left to right: Lieutenant Roy Kernot of the 1st Division Engineers; Lieutenant Edward Stanley Whitehead of the 3rd Field Company Engineers and Lieutenant Louis Willyama Avery (later MM) of the 1st Division Engineers. The three friends were all associated with the Silverton Tramway Company in Broken Hill and survived the war.
Avery, Louis Willyama – August 1915
Returned safely from last nights affair greatly fatigued, very badly shaken & nerves completely gone at 10 a.m. All hell seemed to be let loose… Our losses were heavy. 30 killed & 70 wounded. The Turks counter attacked twice & were repulsed. As the mines went up Cpl. Chandler & myself rushed out, carrying a box of ammunition between us & our pockets filled with gun cotton. We had not gone more than 50 yards when there was a loud explosion. The box of ammunition being in my right hand, Chandler having let go. I found him lying face down, rolled him over & knew he was already dead. A bomb hit him full in the stomach. I decided to crawl. Dragging the box of ammunition. After going a short distance, became thoroughly tangled in barbed wire. My efforts to get free delayed my progress & probably saved my life. As I stood up to make a dash forward I noticed at least 20 rifles firing from close in front & bombs falling too close to disregard… I learned that the attack had gone too far to the right, but that they had taken the trench. Collected a squad of men & started reversing the trench defences in the opposite direction to meet the expected counter attack at dawn. Each end of the trench also had to be barricaded. It was hard work, the perspiration just running off us. We could not stop to dodge shells or bombs as time was most important. When relieved, it was an effort to walk back to our dugouts.
Still very tired. Dozens of barb wire cuts healing nicely…
Feel more myself today. Tested 4 sets of electric exploders for a stunt tonight. The idea is to push out a charge of 8 lbs of guncotton towards Abduls trench. This is to make him think an attack is coming & thus use up some of his badly required ammunition. The C.O. came with Sapper Thomas & myself… As the C.O. ascended the ladder with the guncotton we attempted to persuade our C.O. not to take risks. Allow us to do the job. This brought back an angry retort. Avery you B. fool, do you think that I am afraid to do what I ask my sappers to do. You take the risks without question & why shouldn’t I? Yes sir, but you have many sappers, we only have one C.O. Thanks Avery but you can B well get another C.O…
The fleet came out today & presented a marvellous sight. Later transports arrived with reinforcements, about 10,000 men. Looks like something big coming off soon…
Informed today that I had been promoted to 2nd Corporal. If promotion is as rapid as this, expect to be a Super Field Marshal within a month or “Pushing up daisies.”
CO (Major Clogstorm) wounded in the neck by a sniper’s bullet. That will teach the English blighter to keep his damned head down in future… At 4 p.m. Australians, N. Zeds, Tommies & Ghurkas attacked Hill 971, the highest ridge at Anzac. Earlier in the morning 40,000 men made a fresh landing at Suvla Bay, just North of Anzac.
Hill 971 captured & lost again. Support for our left flank from Suvla Bay failed to get through. Something wrong at Suvla Bay. At time of landing there were not many Turks in the vicinity to oppose them, yet they did not show any determination to advance inland…
It is quite evident now that some bombarding fool has blundered very badly. A golden opportunity has been thrown away. The Turks quickly rushed fresh troops to meet the new attack & appear to be holding our men down.
The Commander of the 2nd Battalion (Colonel A.J. Barnett) advised my C.O. that he had a Commission for me in his Battalion… After careful consideration for & against I declined the offer, though it was a great temptation… it was very attractive, but money cannot buy everything. The main reasons for declining were these:- 1. Trained as an Engineer I was more valuable where I was, than an untrained Infantry officer. 2. Promotion already started in the Engineers. 3. I dreaded the thought of leaving so many friends in the Company, to join a crowd where I only knew the Colonel. 4. My desire to win my own spurs without influence. I realised that the Colonel only made the offer because he was a friend of my Father… If my health keeps good, as it is at present, I have every reason to believe that it will not be long before I receive my Commission in the Engineers. That is my one ambition.
Have come to the conclusion that a chap is not safe in his own home in this locality. While asleep during the morning a spent shrapnel bullet hit me in the leg sufficiently hard to wake me up. What I called the Jacko who sent that one over is not suitable for publication.