Sunday, April 14, 2013

Countdown To ANZAC 14 April 1915

The fleet at Lemnos (AWM)
Jack Reilly's diary entry for the day: Still anchored in harbour of Ladros. Great fleet of troopships, man of wars, submarines, etc in port awaiting orders. Went ashore at Lemnos today in ships boat & marched through Greek village. Very picturesque & clean, a contrast to arab villages we been accustomed to see. Saw a number of humped cattle. Had lunch ashore & then returned to Minnewaska. Met Tom Whiteley from Bega & Colin Hall from Attunga aboard.
The War Diary entry for this day is brief: Same routine for the men. I return to ship at 4pm (from HMS Queen and the tour of the Gallipoli coast.

Hill 971
Charles Bean's account follows from where we left off yesterday....."The tangle of distant hills, covered with dark scrub, floating past mile after mile, gave way to the Suvla Plain with the white houses and minarets of the two Anafarta villages.  All eyes were turned on the dark scrub-covered mass of hill which rose to the south of these villages - Hill 971. Its many folded, crumpled valleys and white landslides presently subsided into the lower and smoother flank which ended in the cliffs and jutting promontory of Gaba Tepe.  Just north of Gaba Tepe was to be the place of landing.  Behind it the land lay low, and gave an apparently easy passage across the peninsular.  Those on board knew that a large camp of turkish troops was in the neighbourhood, but there was no sign of it from the sea.  Not a figure of a man moved.  The white ruins of the Gaba Tepe guardhouse stood deserted in the sun.  There was no sign of fresh trenches.  Only across the dark almost perpendicular sides of the Kilid Bahr Plateau, frowning over the southern end of
Colonel MacLagan
(Aust. Dictionary of Biography)
the lowland, there ran new seams of white. Colonel MacLagan, who commanded the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade, which was to make the first landing and then deal with Gaba Tepe, kept his glasses upon that low, grim promontory on his prospective right flank.  The barbed wire entanglement on the beach was plainly visible.  
'If that place is strongly held with guns,' he thought, 'it will be almost impregnable for my fellows.'

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