Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Countdown To ANZAC - 9 April 1915

The Battalion War Diary entry for this day:

9.4.15 Alexandria - Army Corps Head Quarters and Divisional Head Quarters joined us - same routine.

General Birdwood
The Battalion History records that ".....General Birdwood  came on board".

Birdwood has been described as the soul of Anzac.  His Corps HQ was located in the hills just behind Anzac Cove and was open to Turkish shelling.  Anxious members of his staff often tried to pile up bales of hay on the exposed parts of his dugout to protect him. According to Australia’s official historian, Charles Bean, “many a man lost his life within a stone’s throw of the place”.  Birdwood was often to be seen walking around the Anzac position and up along the trenches on the ridges.  On most days, he could also be observed swimming off the beach, sharing the dangers of Turkish shelling with everyone else.  Such behaviour made him, unlike many generals, very visible to his men.  Bean summed up this aspect of Birdwood, “Above all, he possessed the quality, which went to the heart of Australians, of extreme personal courage”. (Courtesy http://www.anzacsite.gov.au )

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