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The Maoris in the Great War

Official Correspondent's Narrative

Official Correspondent's Narrative.

The following message from the New Zealand official correspondent, Captain Malcolm Ross, was received in the Dominion on August 26th, 1915:—

“The Hour—and the Men.”

“….The Australians and New Zealanders braced themselves for a desperate night attack. They had long been waiting for this hour, marking the end of monotonous days of page 55 sitting in the trenches. They were confident they would carry the enemy's works on their immediate front. Strict orders were issued that not a shot was to be fired; they were to rely on the bayonet alone.

“Exactly at 10 o'clock on the night of August 7th the brigade of New Zealanders clambered out of their trenches and charged furiously on the Turkish lines with loud cheers, bayoneting all who came in their way.

“The Turks were apparently taken unawares and fired wildly, being quite unable to check the New Zealanders' advance. In a few minutes all the enemy's positions nearest the sea were in our hands, and the way was thus cleared for the main advance.

“The New Zealanders only stopped for a ‘breather’; then they pursued their victorious career, and rushed successively the old No. 3 Outpost, Bauchop's Hill and other Turkish positions.

“The Maoris entered upon the charge with great dash, making the darkness hideous with their wild war cries, and striking terror into the Turks. With the awful vigour of their onslaught, using bayonets and rifle butts with equal effect, the Maoris forged another link in the chain of the Empire.

“The darkness of the night, the broken nature of the ground, and the skill with which the enemy had smothered every available bit of dead ground with deadly snipers, delayed the main advance. After these preliminary positions had been rushed successfully, every hill and spur had to be picketed to keep down the fire of marksmen remaining in the rear of our advancing columns.

“Fighting was continuous throughout the night. In the gloomy ravines the Turks were resisting courageously but despairingly, and many bloody encounters, the details of which will never be known, filled the dark hours preceding the more eventful dawn.

“Throughout the 8th the struggle continued without intermission. The New Zealanders gained some ground, but were finally held up by its enemy's machine-guns and rifle-fire.

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“Our men began a renewed advance on the 9th, up the steep slopes. The Turks then gallantly charged from both ends. Many Turks fell, but the survivors closed with the intrepid colonials, bayonets and rifle butts being used. This was just the form of fighting the colonials liked, and their magnificent physique proved its value. Although numerically few they closed with the Turks, and, furiously using their rifles as clubs, they swung them round their heads, laying out several Turks at each sweep. The Turks could not stand this rough treatment, and all those not killed or wounded fled.

“The New Zealanders then began hastily to dig themselves in.

“So far this was the finest feat of fighting and the highest point any troops had yet gained on the Peninsula. The Turks fought with the utmost bravery, but their efforts were in vain. Soon not a single Turk remained.

“Our artillery, assisted by the cruisers and monitors offshore, checked Turkish counter-attacks, inflicting losses.

“Upon the left of the New Zealand advance the Australians, assisted by Indian units, fought splendidly and achieved splendid successes.

“The New Zealand advance resulted in the capture of a Nordenfeldt and two machine-guns, with many trenchmortars, and 600 prisoners were taken.”