QUOTE (marina @ Apr 24 2005, 09:25 AM)
16th – As I expected, they are giving us rats; it’s a good thing we dug well in. Left for Gaba tepe after dinner, and slept on board all night; landed 7 a.m.; pitched camp in one of the gullies, and they are giving us plenty of shrapnel.
'Giving us rats' - does that refer to shelling, or to his feeling that the Aussies get the nasty tasks?
I'd say it refers to the shelling.
I bet you Fred would never have guessed that people would still be reading his words all these years later - and appreciating the time he took to write them down - so here's some more especially for you & Kim:
[note: there wasn't an entry for the 17th]
18th – Had a fair night’s rest. Very heavy shell fire, and had some close calls. Enemy attacked our trenches last night, in the early morning, and at daylight, but were repulsed with heavy losses. We have to sleep in fighting order.
19th – Went out on fatigues at 4.30 a.m., but could not do much, as the shrapnel was so heavy; one or two got hit. Got back at 10 a.m.; hope to get a rest, as we had no sleep last night. They are giving our men a rough time on the beach; a lot of wounded taken down this morning. Went to support trenches for the night as picket coy, but they did not attack; must have had enough in the three attacks we repulsed this morning.
20th – Got back to camp at daybreak after a cool night behind trenches. We can hear heavy firing from the Cape; must be an attack there. Weather fine; will be glad of a good sleep if we can get it. Nearly all our officers are out of action or killed; we want re-organising badly. I hear that the Turks were heavily reinforced before the attack, and they advanced in thousands, in some places ten deep. The machine guns shot them down in thousands. There must be a tremendous number dead in front of our trenches; don’t know how we will get on if they are not buried soon. Our fellows are very cool; some even sit on the parapet to get good aim, and a great number got outside the trench altogether and laid down in front of the parapet – it made a terribly strong fire. There is more talk that the Turkish officers are mutinying. Saw F. Yorath this morning. Hope Windsor and others are alright. Heard the other day that Fred and Rolun Adams, of Mildura, whom I know well, were killed and missing respectively since the first Sunday, so looks like both dead. Terribly hard for their parents, as they are the only two boys in the family. I feel set up over it, as they were such decent chaps. The enemy is very strong; they far exceed us in numbers. Our men are looking fagged out. I feel quite ill sometimes.
21st – Spent last night in the gully in anticipation of an attack, but we did not do much except dodge shrapnel. It was cool out, and I had no coat; got to our new dug-outs, which we occupied yesterday, about daybreak. I hear that a division of troops has arrived to relieve us; we expect to go away to re-organise. I hope it’s true; we all need a rest badly. Yesterday they had an armistice to bury the dead, which needed burying; we could smell them down in the gullies – it must have been vile in the trenches. Hope we have a quiet day.
22nd – Inlying picket last night; went to support trenches, but nothing doing. Am bad with dysentery; makes me feel fagged and weak; we all have it more or less, and the rations are very rotten; they are feeding us badly. Raining this morning, but weather cleared this afternoon, and there are prospects of a sleep to-night.
23rd – There is talk of us going to Lemnos to spell, but I expect it will blow over like the other. All the Light Horse arrived from Egypt. Hope for a quiet day. Our officers are getting short in number, and they are making a lot of new ones. Had voluntary church parade this morning at the 6th Battalion camp; Captain Dexter held the service, and most of us went. Spent the afternoon out of my clothes to give them an airing. We are not allowed water for washing, only enough for drinking purposes. Went out trench digging all night.
24th – Got back early this morning, and on fatigues, etc, and digging communication trenches. Had an armistice for burying the dead. Heard that W. Rochester was wounded at the Cape while we were there – shot in the chest, stomach and thigh, I believe. Hope he gets through alright. The two Parkers are alright – they were hit the first day; one pretty badly in the shoulder. Hope not called out to-night. Inlying picket.
25th – Called out at 3 a.m., but nothing doing. Rifle inspection at 10 a.m. Raining, and things got a bit wet. I heard a great explosion last night, and it turned out to be the Triumph, which was torpedoed. A couple of enemy submarines about. She was sunk in deep water off our coast, and will be a great loss to us. It seems as though luck is not with us.
26th – On wood fatigue this morning. Things are quiet. Went into trenches this afternoon for three nights and days on Brown’s Hill, which commands the gully behind Quinn’s Post, where the line is broken and where the enemy frequently make night attacks, to their cost. General Walker arrived a few days ago to take over the work of General Bridges, who died recently. Heard this evening that the Majestic has also been sunk by a torpedo at Cape Helles.