The New Zealanders at Gallipoli
“The Agony of Anzac.”
“The Agony of Anzac.”
A periscopic view of No Man's Land was a terrible sight—littered with jam tins, meat tins, broken rifles and discarded equipment — every few yards a dead body and hosts of buzzing flies. Chloride of lime, with its hateful associations, was scattered thickly on all decaying matter, and the scent of Anzac drifted ten miles out to sea. In this fœtid atmosphere, with the miners on both sides burrowing under the posts like furtive rabbits, hand-grenade throwers carrying on their nerve-racking duels, stretcher bearers constantly carrying out the unfortunate ones, digging and improving the trenches under a scorching sun—is it any wonder that the men of Anzac were looked at almost pityingly by the reinforcements and the rare visitors from Helles and the warships? Let one of these visitors speak:—
“The soul of Anzac is something apart and distinct from any feeling one gets elsewhere. It is hard to write of its most distressing feature, which is the agony it endures. But it is quite necessary, in justice to the men, that this should be said. There is an undercurrent of agony in the whole place. The trace of it is on every face—the agony of page 172 danger, of having seen good men and great friends die or suffer, of being away from home, of seeing nothing ahead, of sweating and working under hot suns or under stars that mock. Let there be a distinct understanding that the agony is not misery. The strong man bears his agony without misery; and those at Anzac are strong. What the men endure should be known at home.”
It is true that the Australians and New Zealanders did not altogether realize how badly off they were. The Turk had said a landing was impossible—yet a landing had been forced. The Turk had boasted he would drive the infidel into the sea—the perspiring daredevils refused to be driven. Lack of water, lack of ammunition, monotony of food, rebellious stomachs, the loss of brothers and friends—all these things the men of Anzac triumphed over. The two young nations had found their manhood on these barren Turkish hillsides. Whatever our enemies and the benevolent neutrals thought, the Australian and New Zealand Army was confident in itself, confident in its leaders, confident in the wisdom of the High Command that deemed it necessary to prosecute the enterprise.