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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

Making the Beach Road

Making the Beach Road.

Night after night the troops who were “resting” crept with their picks and shovels along the beach, to make the necessary road. This after-dark activity is most trying—each man working as silently as possible with his rifle at his elbow. Any noise is a magnet certain to attract machine-gun fire. Even in daylight it takes careful management to collect working parties and the necessary transport at the right spot, but in the darkness and in a region where enemy scouts and snipers roamed as soon as daylight failed, the difficulties were increased a hundredfold.

Sand makes a poor road. To get a reasonable result it was necessary to collect the big stones of the seashore and carry them to the shore edge of the beach and place them as a foundation; on the top of this, clay was deposite—carted from the hillside near by in the mule carts of the Indian transport service; the whole was top-dressed by the sand of the beach, and finally, the hard-worked soldiers carried petrol tins of water from the sea and poured it over the surface to make the material set. So, harassed by the splutter of machine guns night after night, and weakened by the heat of the day, the faithful souls of the working parties steadily carried the road from Anzac Cove along North Beach towards the Suvla Flats.

page 193
Black and white photograph.

[Photo by the Author
The “Big Sap” Near Fishermen's Hut.
This view is looking back towards Walker's Ridge and was taken before the sap was widened to 5 feet.